Large hail, fires and record heat 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 May 18.
1894 – The wooden schooner Myrtle Camp while carrying salt and empty barrels was driven ashore 500 feet from deep water in a terrific spring gale, 1.5 miles north of Ingallston, MI at Deadman’s Point near Menominee. Tugs were unable to reach her and she was abandoned. However, she was later recovered.
1906 – Quinnesec had a fire break out which spread quickly and went 64 miles along the Escanaba and Lake Superior railroad and then 30 miles beyond Channing. In Northland, the flames were beaten back three times with the fire stopped within 10 yards of homes on the outside rim of the town. 16 families lost homes in Quinnesec and a majority of the business district was destroyed. Near Foster, Felch and Sagola, numerous farmers lost their homes and farms from the wildfire. Sagola was saved by a wind shift at the last minute; otherwise it would have been destroyed by the wildfire.
1915 – Lansing records their latest measurable snow on record with 0.4 inches, and Grand Rapids does also, with 0.2 inches.
1924 – The wood, bulk freight Orinoco, while carrying pulpwood, was towing the huge barge Chieftain, when she was caught in a gale. She cut the unwieldy barge loose, then foundered 6 miles off Agawa Bay, Ontario in Lake Superior. All 5 crew members perished.
1962 – The temperature rose to 93° in Detroit, which is the record high for the day. This marked the fifth day in a row (May 14-18) that record daily highs were set in Detroit! Houghton Lake observes a record for the third day in a row with ah high of 88°. Grand Rapids sees a record high for the second day with a high of 90°.
1998 – A severe thunderstorm dropped 1.5 inch hail (ping pong ball sized) 6 miles south of Ishpeming in the early evening.
2000 – Severe thunderstorms north of a warm front produce widespread hail across southern Lower Michigan. There are numerous reports of hail one inch and larger. The largest hail report is from near Coldwater where hail the size of a lime falls. Golf ball size hail falls in Schoolcraft and hail the size of ping pong balls falls in Charlotte. Record rain accompanies the storms with Grand Rapids observing 3.31”, Lansing 3.22”, Detroit 1.5”, and Flint 2.23”. For Lansing and Flint this is the greatest daily rainfall ever recorded for the month of May. Click here for a radar loop of the storms on this day. The slideshow on the left has a few severe weather maps for the day.
2009 – Strong southwest winds ahead of an approaching cold front downed a large jack pine on top of an automobile at the Ranger Station of the Ottawa National Forest in Watersmeet. Property damage was $10,000.