Leap day records and a snowstorm 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 February 29.
It is the coldest Leap Day on record in 1884. In Lower Michigan Lansing fell to minus 15 degrees and Detroit to minus 6 degrees.
In 2000, record warmth settles into Michigan. Leap Day record highs include the 63 degrees at Muskegon, 60 degrees at Lansing, 58 degrees at Grand Rapids, 58 degrees at Flint, 57 degrees in Saginaw and 56 degrees at Houghton Lake.
A Leap Day snowstorm dropped 4 inches of snow at Grand Rapids in 2008. This brought the monthly total to 41.6 inches, for the snowiest February on record.
The Southeast Michigan climate locations observed several notable leap day records. Detroit had a record high of 63 degrees in 1976, record low of minus 6 degrees in 1884 and a record snowfall of 4.8 inches in 2008. Flint had a record high of 58 degrees in 2000, record low of minus 3 degrees in 1980 and a record snowfall of 2.3 inches in 1960. Saginaw had a record high of 57 degrees in 2000, a record low of minus 6 degrees in 1980 and a record snowfall of 2.5 inches in 1948.
On Feb. 29, 2012, snow started to fall across parts of Menominee County during the early evening hours of Feb. 28. By the early morning hours of Feb. 29, a band of very heavy snow was situated over the Iron Mountain area and central Menominee County. Several reports from this area reveal that snow was falling at more than 2 inches per hour. The band then remained almost stationary over the next couple of hours. The combination of high snowfall rates and the slow movement of this band allowed some locations to accumulate significant amounts of snow over just a few hours. By the mid-morning, the band accelerated northward to a line from Baraga to Marquette. Snow rates continued at around 2 inches per hour for many locations. However, because the line of heavy snow was moving quicker by this point, much of the northern portions of Upper Michigan were clear of the band by early afternoon. This resulted in less amounts than what locations along the Michigan and Wisconsin border received. Lighter snow continued into the early evening across much of the area as the low pressure system passed south of the area and drier air moved in from the south and west. Storm total snowfall amounts included 17 inches at Norway and 16 inches at Iron Mountain. East wind gusting near 25 mph at times also caused some blowing and drifting of snow. Most schools across the west half of Upper Michigan were closed due to the storm. Storm total snowfall across the county included 14.5 inches near Marenisco, an estimated 13 inches at Bessemer and 10 inches in 12 hours just west of Watersmeet. East wind gusting near 30 mph at times also caused considerable blowing and drifting of snow. Storm total snowfall amounts included 15 inches at Daggett, 13 inches at Carney and 9 inches at Menominee. East winds gusting near 30 mph at times also caused considerable blowing and drifting of snow. The winter storm prompted county officials to declare an unprecedented snow emergency to urge people to stay off area highways. The Menominee County Courthouse and area schools were closed. The spotter just south of Iron River measured 19 inches of storm total snowfall. Spotters in Bark River and Escanaba estimated 12 inches of snow in nine hours while Gladstone reported nine inches in six hours. East winds gusting over 30 mph also caused considerable blowing and drifting of snow. Snowfall amounts included eight inches in less than five hours at Arnold, eight to nine inches in 12 hours near Ishpeming, and seven inches in ten hours near Negaunee. East winds gusting over 25 mph at times also caused considerable blowing and drifting of snow. The spotter in Hancock measured 11.5 inches of snow in 14 hours. East winds gusting near 40 mph at times also caused considerable blowing and drifting of snow as reported by the Houghton County Sheriff.