Record heat, the blizzard of 1977, and a clipper 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. 28.
In 1906, Saginaw had a record high temperature of 47 degrees. For all the record highs recorded in the month of January, this temperature was the lowest. All other record high temperatures for the month varied between 50 and 62 degrees. Muskegon also sets a record of 50 degrees on this day.
Buffalo, New York is hit with one of the worst blizzards in its history in 1977. Meanwhile, lake effect snow squalls also pummel areas in western Lower Michigan with more than a foot of fresh snow being piled into huge drifts by strong winds. Grand Rapids sets a new daily record snowfall with 6.0 inches and Muskegon 10.1 inches. The attached slideshow has the daily weather maps, before during and after the storm. Here is the handwritten note from the top of the map, “Most severe blizzard on record Ohio, western Pa, Western NY, W Va later in day woxos+bs, temp drop 25-35 degrees to near 0 degrees in 2 hr, gusts 50-60 mph. Total snowfall only 2-6in most places however.” For the non-weather geeks reading this, the code “woxos+bs” means indefinite ceiling zero, sky obscured, visibility zero, heavy snow and blowing snow. In other words, this is a really bad storm and an interesting step back in time.
Record heat invades Lower Michigan in 2002, with record highs in the 50s. Records include Grand Rapids 53 degrees, Muskegon 50 degrees, Detroit 57 degrees, and Flint 54 degrees.
In 2003, an area of low pressure moved into the Great Lakes region on Jan. 27. Lake enhanced snows off Lake Michigan produced 12 inches of snow across portions of western Mackinac County that started on the evening of Jan. 27, and ended in the mid-morning of Jan. 28.
Heavy lake effect snow showers developed during the morning hours on this day in 2004. In Chippewa County in Upper Michigan, 6 to 12 inches of new snow fell at Paradise and Point Iroquois.
In 2011, a clipper low pressure system moving down from south central Canada brought moderate to heavy snow to portions of west and south central Upper Michigan from the evening of Jan. 28, into the morning of Jan. 29. An observer west of Watersmeet measured eight inches of snow in less than six hours on the evening of Jan. 28. There was another report of six inches of snow in five hours at Ironwood during the same time. A widespread four to five inches fell across Iron County from the evening of Jan. 28, into the overnight of Jan. 29.
On this day in 2012, 10 inches of snow fell in 12 hours in L’anse during the day on Jan. 28, and a 24-hour storm total snowfall of 17 inches was measured at Herman ending on the morning of Jan. 29. The Houghton County Sheriff estimated that 11 inches of snow fell at Alston in less than 10 hours on Jan. 28. There was a 24-hour snowfall total of 11 inches from Pelkie ending on the morning of Jan. 29. Three inch per hour snowfall rates were reported at times in Pelkie. An estimated 12 inches of storm total snowfall occurred along the northern Schoolcraft and Alger County line. The spotter in Melstrand estimated 12 inches of snow in 24 hours. The observer ten miles east of Ontonagon estimated 8 inches of snow in less than 12 hours. Northwest winds gusting over 30 mph also caused significant blowing of snow with whiteout conditions on roadways. The spotter at Pine Stump Junction measured 14 inches of snow in less than 24 hours.