Heavy snow, record heat and freezing rain 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. 27.
Bitter cold air envelops the Upper Peninsula in 1885. A low temperature of minus 30 degrees occurred in Calumet with a high only around minus 15 degrees.
In 1967, Chicago’s greatest snowstorm on record also extends into Lower Michigan, where Battle Creek records 28.6 inches of snow. The storm total at Lansing is 23 inches and 18 inches at Grand Rapids. The eastern part of the state wasn’t left out as a blizzard hit the Saginaw Valley, Thumb and Flint areas. By the time the snow ended, 16.9 inches of snow had piled up in Saginaw, and Flint was buried under 22.7 inches of snow. This storm was biggest snowfall in Flint history, and the third largest in Saginaw history.
A snow and ice storm brings travel to a halt across Lower Michigan in 1994. Freezing rain causes widespread power outages and results in 5 million dollars in damage.
In 1996, low pressure moved across Eastern Wisconsin, Northern Lake Michigan and Eastern Upper Michigan on Jan. 27. Heavy snow developed over Central Upper Michigan around 8 p.m. on Jan. 26 and spread to West Upper Michigan during the night. Strong northeast winds brought lake-enhanced snow from Lake Superior to Central Upper Michigan. This significantly increased snowfall amounts over Marquette County where 28 inches of snow fell at Champion and Skandia, 25 inches fell at Marquette and 20 inches fell at Gwinn. Most locations across West and Central Upper Michigan had storm totals between eight and 14 inches. Wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph, created blizzard conditions during the day on Jan. 27, closing major highways, most businesses and forcing plows off the roads. Several motorists were stranded for a few hours during the late morning and early afternoon, due to blowing and drifting snow, on US41 between Marquette and Harvey. The Weather Forecast Office in Marquette had 23.7 inches of snow in a 15 hour period between Jan. 26 and Jan. 27 and a record 1.27 inches of water equivalent and 15.4 inches of snow on this day while Skandia had 28 inches of storm total snowfall. Wind gusts to 40 mph built up huge snow drifts.
In 1997, another heavy lake enhanced snow took aim at northern Upper Michigan as low pressure moved northeast across Lower Michigan and Lake Huron on Jan 25. With north winds, the maximum snowfall this time occurred at the Marquette County Airport with 20 inches. Other heavy snow totals were: Phoenix 18 inches, Herman 17 inches Munising 16 inches, Shingleton 15 inches, Ironwood 15 inches, Marquette (city) 13 inches, Paint Lake (25 miles northwest of Iron River) 13 inches. Heavy snow accumulation during this storm contributed to two roof collapses. One was at the Iron River Reporter, a weekly newspaper in Iron River, which completely destroyed the building. The other occurred at a vacant commercial building in Marquette. The snow started in the evening of Jan. 24 and continued through the early morning of Jan. 27. Damage from the buildings was 750,000 dollars.
Warm air envelopes Southeast Michigan in 2002. The daytime temperature rose to 56 degrees in Flint, setting the record high for this day. Curiously enough, the very next year on this day (Jan. 27, 2003), the temperature fell to minus 11 degrees, setting the record low for the day.
In 2003 a quick moving upper level disturbance that passed east through Ontario brought increasing clouds and a period of overrunning snow to almost all of Upper Michigan. Most places picked up an inch or two of snow as south winds gusted up to 30 to 35 mph. Lake enhanced snow showers off Lake Michigan battered Schoolcraft and Luce Counties with locally heavy snow. As much as 11 inches fell near Blaney Park and 9 inches accumulated at Germfask and near Newberry. The gusty winds and blowing snow resulted in whiteout conditions along highways US-2 and M-117 east of Manistique. Michigan State Police closed sections of highway US-2 due to near zero visibility and snow drifting over the roadway.