A barge crew tramping through the wilderness, freezing rain, and a cold wave 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 Dec 18.
Temperatures plunge well below zero during a three day cold wave in 1884. Lansing records an all-time December low of minus 25 degrees, tying the record first set on Dec. 8, 1864.
In 1899, Barge 115, an unrigged barge, steel whaleback, bulk freighter, while carrying iron ore, broke from her tow steamer, the whaleback Colgate Hoyt, well out in Lake Superior during a gale, and went ashore five days later and broke up on Pic Island near Marathon, Ont. Other ships of her fleet searched the lake for her for days. Her crew was thought to be lost, but showed up days later after a long tramp through the wilderness. The barge was declared a total loss the following May.
In 1926, Houghton Lake observes their coldest December day with a low temperature of minus 28 degrees. Flint sees a daily record minus 7 degrees, Alpena minus 17 degrees, and Grand Rapids minus 5 degrees.
Mild weather continues for the second consecutive day with highs in the 50s and overnight lows remaining above freezing in 1939. Records for the date include Grand Rapids with a low 39 degrees, and a high of 55 degrees. Muskegon had low 48 degrees, and a high of 53 degrees. Flint saw a low of 40 degrees, and a high of 54 degrees and Detroit observes a record high of 54 degrees.
Flint had a low of minus 3 degrees on this day in 1951. This was part of a four day streak of cold weather. Dec. 16 and Dec.17 had record lows of minus 6 degrees and minus 7 degrees, and Dec 19 had a record low of minus 11 degrees.
In 1998, locally heavy lake effect snow showers impacted the Upper Peninsula. They produced up to 10 inches of snow across northern portions of Chippewa County.
Warm air and rain in 2001 rapidly decreased the snow depth at Marquette. At Weather Forecast Office in Marquette, the snow depth dwindled from 20 inches on the Dec. 1 to 1 inch on Dec. 18, Dec. 19 and Dec. 23.
Freezing rain fell across much of Upper Michigan in 2002. Many locations reported between one quarter and one third of an inch of ice accumulation. Southerly flow from a strong area of low pressure over Minnesota brought abundant moisture and warm air aloft into Upper Michigan. At the surface, early morning temperatures were still below freezing when rain began falling over the southern Upper Peninsula and then spread northward. As the rain fell, it froze on road surfaces as well as cars, trees and other objects. A quarter of an inch of ice accumulation was reported in Powers, Paulding, Cornell, Rock, Arnold, Wetmore, McMillan, Steuben and Nestoria. Watersmeet reported half an inch of ice and Iron Mountain reported a third of an inch of ice. Many schools were closed and numerous minor auto accidents were reported. The freezing rain ended about noon as temperatures warmed above freezing and the accumulated ice began melting.