A heat wave, tornadoes and a shipwreck top the list of Michigan weather events on this day in history. From the National Weather Service archives here events that happened on July 13.
1893 – The wood, bulk freight Smith Moore, while carrying iron ore, was rammed in a hit-and-run by steamer James Pickands in dense fog. Dead in the water, she remained afloat for some time, until the fog lifted and the steamer M.M. Drake came to her assistance. She was taken in tow for Munising, but sank enroute east northeast of Grand Island, near Munising, MI in Lake Superior.
1912 – A tornado strikes downtown Grand Rapids at 4:10 AM. Several buildings are damaged and nine people are injured.
1936 – The Dust Bowl summer of 1936 produces the hottest day on record across the state of Michigan. Grand Rapids hits 108°, its highest temperature ever, with Mio, Michigan setting the state record of 112° degrees. At Grand Rapids, six out of the seven days from July 8th to July 14th were above 100°. The temperature soared to 111° in Saginaw, which is all time record high temperature ever recorded in either Saginaw, Detroit, or Flint! This day also marked the sixth day in a row (July 8-13) of daily record high temperatures in Saginaw! Other cities observe their all-time record highs including Flint with 108° (tied with July 8 1937), Houghton Lake with 107° (tied with July 8 1936), and Alpena with 106°. Lansing sees a daily record with 99° and Detroit with 102°. The all-time high temperature record of 104° occurred in Ironwood with 13 deaths blamed on heat in the Gogebic range. High temperatures topped out at 104° in Marquette with high humidity with the temperature above 100° for 4 hours in the late afternoon and early evening, and the temperature stayed above 100° in Munising from noon to 7 pm. A high temperature of 107° occurred at Republic. The Detroit NWS has a nice discussion that you can read here: THE “GRAND DADDY” OF SOUTHEAST MICHIGAN HEAT WAVES
1964 – Clouds, rain and a cool northeast wind hold the high temperatures in the upper 50s to mid-60s across West Michigan. The high of 59°at Grand Rapids is only the second time in over a hundred years of records that the temperature did not reach 60 degrees on a July day. Muskegon observes a record low high temperature of 60° and Lansing 65°.
1981 – This is a soggy day for West Michigan with record rain falling from some early morning thunderstorms. Grand Rapids observes 1.43” and Muskegon 1.13”.
1995 – An unconfirmed tornado reported by the public occurred at the Cut River Bridge in Mackinac County at 1240 EST. Damage was limited to 0.1 mile and was 10 yards wide. Gales with three funnel clouds sighted over Lake Superior at 1057 EST in Munising. At 0934 EST, trees down with power outages in L’anse with a severe thunderstorm. A flagpole was bent when a large potted plant blew away in Republic at 1015 EST. Trees were blown down east of Foster City at 1100 EST. Winds gusted to 58 mph at Gladstone at 1111 EST in a severe thunderstorm. Many trees down along M-38 and M-64 in Ontonagon and Houghton counties at 0915 EST. Winds blew a dock away in Ontonagon at 0850 EST and trees were blown down on cars in Ontonagon at 0855 EST. Trees down with gusts to 70 MPH in Chassell at 0900 EST. Many trees down with a funnel cloud sighted in Rockland at 0900 EST. Numerous trees down in Greenland at 0930 EST. Measured wind gust of 67 mph in Curtis at 1156 EST. Numerous trees down in and around Curtis. Numerous trees were blown down in Engadine at 1210 EST. Estimated winds of greater than 60 mph and big trees down in Epoufette at 1230 EST. Over 100 trees in Brevort Lake Campground fell over tents and campers at 1300 EST causing $50,000 in damage. A trailer tipped over on the Mackinac Bridge by the wind out of a thunderstorm caused $5000 in damage at 1320 EST. A “right turn derecho” plowed south-southeast down across East and Southeast Lower Michigan on its way toward Ohio.
2000 – A weak cold front moved across the Great Lakes region during the afternoon and evening. This front caused scattered thunderstorms to develop across the northern Great Lakes region. A couple of these storms produced large hail with golf ball sized hail (1.75 inch) falling in Brimley. 1 inch hail (quarter sized) fell in Cooks at 1235 EST.
2004 – A strong upper air disturbance and cold front passed through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula triggered showers and thunderstorms late in the day. Some of these storms became severe and bombarded Menominee, Delta, Marquette, Iron and Dickinson counties with quarter-sized hail. Wind gusts in excess of 60 mph also downed trees near Norway in Dickinson County. Trees were blown down along U.S. Highway 2 between Norway and Waucedah. One-inch diameter hail (quarter sized) was reported in Gwinn and at Spalding. Severe thunderstorms that formed during the afternoon and passed through northeast Wisconsin produced large hail and strong winds as they moved over the nearshore waters of Lake Michigan and the bay of Green Bay. A wind gust to 48 knots (55 mph) was measured at Sister Bay at 1403 CST and one-inch diameter hail (quarter sized) was reported 13 miles southwest of Escanaba Lighthouse at 1503 EST. A 60 mph wind gust was reported 8 miles east of Beaver Island at 1644 EST.