Shipwrecks, a wildfire, record heat, tornadoes, and large hail top the list of Michigan weather events on this day in history. From the National Weather Service and Storm Prediction Center (SPC) archives here are the events that happened on August 23.
The wood schooner-barge, 2-mast Genesee Chief, while carrying shingles in 1891, was severely waterlogged in a storm and was towed in and abandoned at a dock at Cheboygan. After an examination she was declared a constructive total loss. The hulk was later towed out and scuttled in Duncan Bay in the south channel of the Straits of Mackinac in Lake Huron.
In 1896 the wood schooner Granger, while carrying cedar lumber bound to Chicago, went aground and wrecked on Seul Choix Point, MI in Lake Michigan in a sou’wester gale, and was a total loss.
The second long heat wave of the this month in 1947 comes to a close with record highs of 98 degrees at Grand Rapids and 96 degrees at Muskegon, contributing to the warmest August on record across West Michigan. Other records include 100 degrees in Alpena, 101 degrees at Flint, 96 degrees at Houghton Lake, and 92 degrees in Sault Ste. Marie. Some of these records are broken one year later.
New record highs are set in 1948, some of which surpass the readings established just one year earlier. Records include Grand Rapids 98 degrees, Lansing 97 degrees, Detroit 95 degrees, Houghton Lake 97 degrees, and Marquette 101 degrees.
In 1976, the Seney fire grew tenfold to 20,000 acres. The fire put out smoke that made it hard to drive across the Seney stretch.
A severe thunderstorm in Sault Ste. Marie with gusts to 60 mph caused several trees to be toppled across the city in the early morning hours of this day in 1998.
In 2006 thunderstorms impact West Michigan. Up to baseball-sized hail fell from a severe storm at Grand Junction in Van Buren County.
Tornadoes strike Lower Michigan in 2007, with the worst damage near Potterville in Eaton County. Five people are injured and 15 homes are destroyed by a tornado with peak winds estimated at 140 mph. A weaker tornado hit southeast of Lansing but damage was limited to trees falling on mobile homes. A tornado and severe weather outbreak hit the greater Flint and Detroit metro areas. The strongest tornado was an EF2 that was on the ground for 26 miles from northern Livingston County, through Fenton and into Holly. Additional tornadoes hit northeast of Durand (EF0), near Hadley (EF1), and near Salem (EF0). The attached slideshow has more weather maps for the day. Click here for a radar loop of the storms on this day.
In the wake of a cold front in 2011, strong west to northwest winds gusted near 60 mph over portions of the Keweenaw Peninsula in the afternoon. A 59 mph peak wind gust was measured at the Michigan Tech University Keweenaw Research Center at 1 p.m. EST. Scattered severe thunderstorms developed over Metro Detroit, with both large hail and wind damage occurring. There were over 20 reports of severe weather including golf ball sized hail in Marysville.