A deadly roof collapse, extreme cold, and five foot snow drifts 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 Jan. 19.
In 1907, southerly winds bring moist and mild weather with highs in the 50s followed by heavy rains as a cold front moves through. Grand Rapids sets a record high for the date of 56 degrees along with a record rainfall total of 1.84 inches.
A homeowner was killed in 1979, when his garage roof collapsed due to the weight of the snow on it. Several other homeowners suffered injuries as roofs collapsed throughout southwest Michigan. There were more than 50 reported roof collapses by the end of February, with most of the collapses occurring in the second half of January. At one point the snow pack was measured as weighing more than 25 pounds per square foot.
In 1994, temperatures remain below zero all day long. Extreme cold prevails from Jan. 14 to Jan. 21, but this is the coldest day. Grand Rapids ties the all-time record low for the month of January with minus 22 degrees, followed by a high of only minus 2 degrees. The daytime temperature rose to only minus 4 degrees in Detroit after a record low of minus 20 degrees. This is the coldest maximum temperature ever recorded in the city of Detroit. Other record lows include Amasa with a low of minus 53 degrees, Bark River minus 27 degrees, Spaulding minus 31 degrees, Caspian minus 35 degrees, Ironwood minus 31 degrees, Flint minus 21 degrees, Houghton Lake minus 22 degrees, and Marquette minus 27 degrees. Record cold highs include Ironwood minus 22 degrees, Lansing minus 2 degrees, Alpena 3 degrees, Flint minus 3 degrees, Houghton Lake 2 degrees, Marquette minus 7 degrees and Sault Ste. Marie minus 1 degree. Water and sewer pipes freeze, causing 50 million dollars in damage across Michigan.
Ironwood had 18.0 inches of snow from a snowstorm with five foot drifts in 1996. After the precipitation changed to snow during the evening of Jan. 18, the eastern area of the U.P. received 5 to 9 inches of snow with the heaviest snow at Pine Stump Junction, 15 miles north of Newberry.
In 2005, low pressure moved east across Lake Superior and far northern Lake Huron. Southwest winds ahead of the system brought snow to northern Michigan. The snow was drastically enhanced by Lake Michigan, with heavy snow near and downwind of the lake. Snowfall totals of six to ten inches were common along the Lake Michigan shoreline of eastern Upper Michigan. Strong southwest winds produced considerable blowing and drifting snow, and very low visibilities. Near blizzard conditions occurred near Lake Michigan, where winds gusted to around 40 mph. Strong southerly winds ahead of an approaching low pressure system in south central Canada brought occasionally heavy lake enhanced snow to southern Schoolcraft County on the night of the Jan. 18. Twelve-hour reports of 6 to 8 inches of snow along with near-blizzard conditions in blowing snow caused schools to be closed or delayed in the Manistique School District on Jan. 19. On the evening of Jan. 18, the automated observing station in Manistique reported wind gusts exceeding 45 mph at times with visibility reduced to one-quarter mile.