The derecho of 1998, tornadoes and cold air top the list of Michigan weather events on this day in history. From the National Weather Service archives here events that happened on May 31.
1907 – Marquette had an average temperature of 39.8° which was more than 9° below normal.
1910 – Cold air grips the state on the last day of May with records set for both the low temperatures and chilly highs. Record lows include Muskegon with 35°, and Detroit with 34°. Record low maximum temperatures include Grand Rapids with 41°, Muskegon 45°, Lansing 44°, and Detroit 46°.
1943 – A tornado outbreak hit southern Lower Michigan. Ten people were injured as homes were swept away by a powerful tornado that moved southeast of Morrice in Shiawassee County. A tornado killed livestock and destroyed a barn near Morley in Mecosta County. A home near Coopersville in Ottawa County was unroofed by a tornado and three people were injured. Another tornado struck near Bath in Clinton County destroying one barn.
1954 – A tornado struck north of Bangor in Van Buren County. Forty barns were damaged or destroyed and one home was unroofed. Damage totaled about half a million dollars.
1986 – The Weather Forecast Office in Marquette recorded 0.06 inch of rainfall, the driest May on record for that site.
1998 – This is the anniversary of the “The Southern Great Lakes Derecho of 1998” A squall line of severe thunderstorms moves across Lower Michigan in the early morning with wind gusts between 90 and 120 mph. Thousands of trees are knocked down and hundreds of homes and businesses suffer damage. Sections of the state are declared a major disaster area and thousands are without power, some for several days. Click this link to read more ABOUT DERECHOS. See the attached video for a radar loop of the storms marching across the region.
1999 – An F2 tornado moved through the city of Midland at 5:38PM causing destruction for 2 miles. The total amount of damage caused by this tornado was estimated to be $150,000. This tornado ties with an F2 tornado that moved through Midland County on April 14, 1974 as the strongest tornado to ever hit Midland County.
2004 – Wind gusts, measured as high as 45 mph at Kinross, combined with wet soil conditions to down trees and cause scattered power outages across Eastern Upper Michigan in Chippewa and Mackinac Counties. This continued into June 1st.
2010 – The first five months of 2010 were quite dry across Eastern Upper Michigan. In Sault Ste. Marie, total precipitation from January through May was 3.70 inches, compared to a normal of 10.43 inches. Drought conditions developed as the year progressed, and by mid-May western Mackinac County was considered to be in a severe drought. This categorization would expand into all of Eastern Upper Michigan in early June, before rainier weather eased drought concerns later in the month.
2011 – Severe thunderstorms produced damaging wind gusts over Baraga and Alger Counties in the midafternoon. Numerous 100-foot white pine trees were downed along North Shore Road near Au Train Lake 1 mile south southwest of Au Train. One tree fell over a power line, and a telephone pole was snapped in half causing $2000 in property damage. A spotter reported a 25-foot 10-inch diameter maple tree snapped 2 miles south of Baraga Carlson airport. A tree fell on power lines sparking a small fire on Imperial Heights Road just off of US-41 7 miles east southeast of Nestoria. A spotter near Pelkie measured a thunderstorm wind gust to 60 mph at 1410 EST. In southeast Michigan an EF1 tornado with maximum winds estimated to 95 mph hit central Bay County. The path width was 200 yards with a path length of 8.4 miles. The tornado started near Parish road and 11 mile road just west of the community of Beaver. The tornado then moved through Beaver, crossed Interstate 75, and finally across the south part of Linwood before moving out to Saginaw Bay. A barn was destroyed and homes were damaged near Beaver, mostly to garages and roofing material. Numerous trees were uprooted with snapped large limbs.