A shipwreck, a moderate drought, heavy rain, and a wildfire top the list of Michigan weather events on this day in history. From the National Weather Service archives here are the events that happened on August 31.
The wood schooner-barge, 2-mast Guiding Star separated from steamer Toledo during a storm in 1892. She stranded and wrecked near Big Bay Point, Mich. in Lake Superior. The crew had to build a ladder from the wreckage to get up the bluff.
This day in 1894 marked the end of the driest summer month ever recorded in Detroit. Only 0.16 inches of rain fell throughout the entire month.
In 1933, Marquette received 0.80 inches of rain for August, 30 percent of normal. Several fires broke out in Gogebic, Ontonagon and Mackinac Counties. The largest fire was near Lake Pomeroy in Marenisco Township in Gogebic County with 4,000 acres burned in three days.
August 1947 had record heat for the month. Marquette observed an average monthly temperature of 70.9 degrees.
In 1953, August ends with a late season heat wave that will continue into September. Record highs of 97 degrees are set at Grand Rapids, 96 degrees at Lansing, 91 degrees at Muskegon, 94 degrees in Alpena, and 97 degrees in Detroit and Flint.
A moderate drought continued in 1955 for Dickinson County. With half the average rainfall received since July 1, 1955 with damage to crops due to the dry weather and heat.
Heavy rains on the last day of the month in 1975 ensure that this will be the wettest August on record at Lansing and Muskegon. One to three inches of rain falls across the region, boosting the monthly total close to 10 inches.
The Seney fire grew to 40,000 acres in 1976. To help fight the fire, 29 states sent help where 1,000 firefighters were dispatched. The National Guard helped to transport and feed the firefighters.
August 1992 ended up with an average monthly temperature of 59.2 degrees which was 3.4 degrees below average. What was unusual was it was slightly warmer than July 1992 at the Weather Forecast Office in Marquette which is unusual to have August warmer than July.
In 1993 flash flooding hits Norton Shores in Muskegon County as slow moving thunderstorms dropped about an inch and a half of rain. Elsewhere, three people were struck by lightning in Otsego in Kalamazoo County. One suffered cardiac arrest but was not killed. The other two were treated for minor burns. The lightning strike occurred while two stranded motorists were huddled under an umbrella, watching the wrecker operator connect their vehicle. The lightning struck the umbrella and the motorists, and then struck the wrecker operator, jolting him to the ground.
Severe thunderstorms brought trees down from wind and lightning in Iron Mountain and Norway with gusts up to 63 mph in the early evening hours on this day in 2000. Twelve inches of water was near a shopping mall in Iron Mountain with some street flooding. A foot of water on Main Street and US-2 flooded from Norway to one half mile west. Highway U.S.-2 and Lake Antoine Road flooded in Quinnesec. Localized heavy rain of one to two inches caused urban flooding in southern Dickinson County in the evening. The worst flooding was in the Crystal Lake area of Iron Mountain. The flood waters receded within one to one and a half hours after the storm ended.
Severe drought conditions expanded eastward into Eastern Upper Michigan during August 2007. It was a dry summer in the region, especially in the Upper Peninsula. Dryness started in late May, with just 0.30 inches of rain at Sault Ste. Marie after May 16th through the end of the month. June rainfall of 1.74 inches was 1.26 inches below normal. Similarly, July rainfall at the Sault was 1.50 inches, 1.64 inches below normal. August rainfall totaled 1.03 inches, a full 2.44 inches below normal. The hay crop in Eastern Upper Michigan was 50 to 70 percent of normal. The resulting lack of feed led some farmers to cut their cattle herds. A burning ban was issued for the majority of the state in mid-August, the first such ban since 1998. Significant rains in September would eventually alleviate the drought.
August 2009 ends on a cool note with a record low of 41 degrees at Muskegon. Some other readings include 34 degrees at Big Rapids, 32 degrees at Cadillac 28 degrees at Leota, in Clare County and 36 degrees in Marquette.
Detroit and Flint closed out August 2010 with three consecutive 90 plus degree days with no rainfall. This marked the end of a very hot and dry August. When combining the two, it was the hottest and driest August combination on record for Southeast Michigan. Detroit had its sixth warmest and sixth driest August. Flint recorded its fifth warmest and driest August. In the Upper Peninsula a severe thunderstorm knocked over a large tree onto a house in Iron River late in the evening causing 15,000 dollars in property damage.