Inches of hail, a tornado, record heat, and flooding 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 Michigan weather events that happened on March 31.
March goes out like a cold lion in 1923, with record lows in the single numbers and lake effect snow showers. Grand Rapids and Muskegon both see a low of 6 degrees. Lansing sets a record low with 4 degrees. Other records for the state include Alpena minus 10 degrees, Detroit 6 degrees, Flint 0 degrees, Houghton Lake minus 10 degrees, and Sault Ste. Marie minus 6 degrees. Most of these cities go on to set records for the coldest high temperatures for the date. Grand Rapids only warms to 20 degrees, Muskegon 21 degrees, Lansing 21 degrees, Alpena 14 degrees, Detroit 21 degrees, Houghton Lake 22 degrees, and Sault Ste. Marie 10 degrees. See the attached slideshow for a weather map for this cold day.
In 1963, Ontonagon had a high temperature of 71 degrees which caused heavy runoff from melting snow. This met with a solid icepack on Lake Superior and river ice began to break apart. This began the flooding that followed the next day.
The Weather Forecast Office in Marquette had a daily record snowfall of 18.5 inches in 1985. A severe thunderstorm produced a wind gust to 73 mph, one mile southwest of Sault Ste. Marie in the mid afternoon.
At 7 p.m., on this day in 2006, a tornado hits a few miles east of Jackson, taking down hundreds of trees and causing minor structural damage in the town of Leoni. In West Michigan, hail 1 inch in diameter fell east of Battle Creek. Severe weather broke out across much of Southeast Michigan. There were over 30 severe hail and severe wind/damage reports. Some of the one 1 inch diameter hail in southern Genesee County piled up to several inches. Click this link for a radar loop of the storms on this day. See the attached slideshow for more weather images from the storm.
In 2010, the warmest, driest and least snowy March for climate records ever, occurred at National Weather Service office in Negaunee. Precipitation of 0.28 inches fell, 0.3 inches of snow and an average temperature of 34.7 degrees was 10.1 degrees above normal. March ended this day with a record high temperature of 70 degrees at Weather Forecast Office in Marquette, This was only the second time ever for a reading of 70 degrees or more in March. The other time of 70 degrees or greater was March 8, 2000 with 71 degrees. Record highs for the date across Lower Michigan include Grand Rapids 78 degrees (tied with 1986), Alpena 75 degrees, and Houghton Lake 74 degrees.