Massive power outages, a brutal wind chill, and three 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 Dec 26.
In 1914, the overnight temperature plummeted to minus 12 degrees in Saginaw, which is 30 degrees below the average overnight temperature. Lansing is even colder as they observed a record low of minus 15 degrees.
On this day in 1985, Muskegon sets a daily snowfall record of 14.4 inches during a long stretch of snowy weather. The monthly total for December is 57 inches.
In 1993, the Weather Forecast Office in Marquette had a record cold high temperature of minus 2 degrees and Alpena a record 2 degrees. These are records for the coldest high temperatures ever recorded in the month of December. Other daily records set across the state include Grand Rapids with a high of only 10 degrees, Muskegon 9 degrees, Lansing 8 degrees, Flint 8 degrees, and Sault Ste. Marie a record minus 9 degrees. Strong northwest wind with gusts to 54 mph continued to keep Michigan gripped in arctic air setting off another round of heavy lake effect snow for Upper Michigan that started on Dec. 25, and continued until noon on Dec. 26. The strong winds combined with lake effect snow brought near blizzard conditions to portions of eastern Upper Michigan. Wind chill values dropped to minus 65 degrees at Sault Ste. Marie during the early morning hours. Snowfall amounts ranged from three to seven inches in western Upper Michigan and around 10 inches in eastern Upper Michigan. In addition to the snowfall, snow drifts up to three feet were reported. The high winds caused considerable blowing and drifting snow resulting in the closing of many secondary roads with main highways barely passable. Numerous accidents were reported as a result of the snow covered roads during the Christmas weekend.
On this day in 1999, a strong cold front associated with an intense low pressure center over Hudson Bay swept across Upper Michigan Christmas Night into the morning of the Dec. 26, with 35 to 45 mph winds and gusts over 60 mph. The strongest winds were reported over the Keweenaw Peninsula where 90 percent of the area lost power overnight and hundreds of trees were blown down, ranging from five to six inch diameter fir trees to 12 inch birch and maple trees. Power companies worked well into the afternoon of the Dec. 26, removing downed trees and repairing damaged power lines. Property damage was reported to be 50,000 dollars.
In 2001, a foot of lake effect snow piles up at Grand Rapids. The week-long snow blitz drops about 4 feet of snow at Grand Rapids.
A large Gulf low lifted northeast along the Appalachian Mountains and clipped southeast Michigan in 2012, bringing a widespread accumulating snowfall to the area. By the following morning, 4 inches to 7 inches had accumulated across the southeast half of the area, with higher amounts of 14 inches in Lakeport and 11.1 inches in Port Huron. Detroit and Flint measured storm total accumulations of 6.2 inches and 5 inches respectively. Further northwest, Saginaw received a glancing blow and measured only 1.5 inches.