Heavy snow, brutal cold and balmy highs 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 December 31.
1875 – The year ends on a remarkably balmy note. At Lansing, the high temperature of 70° is the highest ever recorded in the month of December.
1884 – A low temperature of -40° occurred in Michigamme.
1965 – This was a warm day across much if the state with records set for the heat. A few of the record highs include Grand Rapids with 60°, Alpena 62°, Flint 61°, Houghton Lake 55°, Marquette 49°, and Sault Ste. Marie48°.
1974 – This marks the end of the snowiest December on record in Detroit. A total of 34.9″ of snowfall fell during the month, which is 23.8″ above average!
1976 – One of the coldest Decembers on record ends with a second consecutive day of record lows across Lower Michigan. The temperature falls to -15° at Muskegon, a record low for the date and for the entire month of December. Grand Rapids observes a record low of -14°, Lansing -15°, Detroit -5°, Flint -11°, and Houghton Lake -18°.
1978 – The Houghton County airport reported 119 inches of snow for the month of December, 60.1 inches above normal.
1987 – Strong winds continued to usher arctic cold into the north central U.S. The temperature at Alexandria, MN remained below zero through the day, and Jamestown, ND reported a wind chill reading of -58°. Gales lashed the Great Lakes, with wind gusts to 54 mph reported at Lansing. (The National Weather Summary) (Storm Data)
1995 – The snowiest month of all time occurred at Sault Ste. Marie with 98.8 inches for December, 62.5 inches above normal.
1996 – WFO Marquette had a record daily snowfall of 8.1 inches.
1998 – Locally heavy lake effect snows produced up to 12 inches of snow across northern portions of Chippewa County. The heavier lake effect snow showers produced whiteout conditions at times.
2001 – A storm organized in the central plains on 12/22 and headed towards Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. A cold front associated with the storm moved through the U.P. during the early morning of 12/23. From 12/24 to 12/31, a prolonged lake effect snow event occurred with heavy amounts of snowfall reported each day in areas of the Lake Superior snowbelts. Snowfall amounts were highly dependent on the prevailing wind direction which was north or northwest. Marquette set a daily snowfall record of 13.0 inches of snow on 12/24, Ironwood had 17.5 Inches of snow, Wakefield 11 inches, Marenisco 10 inches, Watersmeet 12.5 inches and Shingleton 10.2 inches. On 12/25, Ironwood picked up another 14.5 inches of snow, Bessemer had 10 inches, Wakefield 12 inches and Rockland reported 21.1 inches of snow. Alger and Luce Counties also reported heavy snow with Two Heart reporting 9 inches of snow, Grand Marais 6 inches of snow, and a location just south of Munising saw 13.7 inches of snow. On 12/26, the lake effect snow let up slightly. Atlantic Mine reported 8-10 inches of snow and Wakefield reported 8 inches of snow. On 12/27, lake effect snow continued with Two Heart reporting 15 inches, Melstrand 13 inches, and Wakefield reported 12 inches. On 12/28, more lake effect snow fell. Rockland had 10.2 inches of new snow, Wakefield had 10 inches of new snow, Au Train 24 inches, and Melstrand 9.8 inches. On 12/29, heavy lake effect snow continued in places. NWS Marquette in Negaunee had 11.5 inches. On 12/30, lake effect snow diminished, but Munising received 7.0 more inches. Wakefield reported 72 inches of snow out of the lake effect snow event from 12/23-12/30. The lake effect snow showers finally came to an end over the eastern Upper Peninsula on 12/31.