A tornado outbreak, heavy snow, and a shipwreck top the list of Michigan weather events on this day in history. From the National Weather Service archives here are the Michigan weather events that happened on April 21.
In 1868, the wood schooner, 2-mast Gertrude, while carrying corn, was bound Chicago for Buffalo, when she was cut by ice and sank in deep water four miles west of Mackinac City, in Lake Michigan. Her crew made it to shore in the yawl.
A tornado struck three miles west of Scottville in Mason County in 1923. It destroyed an unoccupied home and carried pieces of it over a mile.
In 1967, a tornado outbreak hit from Missouri to Michigan, killing 58 people. The worst of the damage was in northern Illinois, where dozens of people were killed in Belvidere and Oak Lawn. At least seven tornadoes hit Michigan, injuring more than 50 people and destroying dozens of homes. A tornado moved across the southern outskirts of Grand Rapids, doing heavy damage. Thirty-two people were injured and a total of 65 buildings were destroyed and another 60 heavily damaged. Another tornado injured eight people and killed 34 sheep as it moved from Westphalia to the south edge of Fowler in Clinton County.
In 1974, an F1 tornado touched down in the midafternoon 0.4 miles northwest of Foster City, in Dickinson County. It did 300 dollars of property damage.
In 1976, an F2 tornado moved through Shiawassee County at 3:35 p.m. This tornado was one of the most damaging tornadoes in Shiawassee County since 1950 and caused one injury and over 500,000 dollars in damage.
Record heat dominated Michigan on this day in 1985, with Grand Rapids and Lansing both reaching 84 degrees. Alpena observed a record 89 degrees, Flint 84 degrees, Marquette 80 degrees, and Sault Ste. Marie 76 degrees. Houghton Lake saw a record high of 83 degrees and a record warm low temperature of 60 degrees. Cooler air near Lake Michigan did not prevent Muskegon from setting two records. The day started with a record warm low temperature of 67 degrees and climbed to a record high of 79 degrees. Two inch hail (hen egg sized) fell out of a severe thunderstorm 0.6 miles southwest of Republic in the early morning.
In 1996, rapid snowmelt combined with rain pushed the Escanaba River above flood stage on April 20, near Cornell. Flooding occurred during this period to the Escanaba and Ford Rivers along with numerous small streams. The flooding closed up to 24 roads at the height of the flooding on April 21, and washed out several roads. The most severe washout occurred on Highway M35 near Portage Creek south of Escanaba. The flooding was confined to roads, yards and basements. Most of the damage was to washed out roads with 800,000 dollars in property damage. An ice jam at the Kimberly Road Bridge on the Presque Isle River near Marenisco caused flooding that closed Kimberly Road from April 21 through April 25. Heavy snowmelt resulted in flooding that closed several roads and minor property damage of 40,000 dollars in Ontonagon County.
A storm system lifting north from the Ohio Valley into Lower Michigan in 2009, dumped wet heavy snow over portions of west and central Upper Michigan from April 19 into the evening of April 21. Record daily snowfall of 9.9 inches fell at Weather Forecast Office in Marquette. Storm total snowfall over a two-day period included 29 inches at Alberta, 24.9 inches at Herman and 20.3 inches near Sidnaw. The heavy wet snow caused power outages, tree damage and closed schools on April 20 and April 21. Storm total snowfall included 20.8 inches at Watersmeet and 12 inches at Thousand Island Lakes. The heavy wet snow damaged trees, downed some power and telephone lines, caused numerous minor traffic accidents and closed schools throughout the area on April 21, in Gogebic and Iron Counties. Storm total snowfall included 20.5 inches at the National Weather Service in Negaunee Township, 14.0 inches seven miles south of Ishpeming and 12.3 inches at Clarksburg. The heavy wet snow caused power outages, some tree damage, and closed schools throughout Marquette County on April 21.