State ferry service cancelled, township hall crumbled, and brutal cold 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. 31.
Cold air gripped Michigan in 1899. Marquette observed a low of minus 20 degrees. Record lows for the date include minus 28 degrees in Sault Ste. Marie, minus 18 degrees in Grand Rapids and minus 14 degrees in Lansing.
In 1912, the average temperature of 1.3 degrees was reported in Marquette for the month of January. This is the coldest month ever reported in Marquette’s history.
A snowstorm drops from six to 14 inches of snow across southern Lower Michigan in 1914. Grand Rapids receives a record setting 14.0 inches of snow and a record 1.39 inches of liquid precipitation.
In 1947, a 74 mph wind gust was reported in Menominee during the blizzard of Jan. 30 and Jan. 31, which brought the area to a standstill. Ishpeming had 12 inches of snow which closed many secondary roads down in Marquette County due to heavy drifting in this blizzard. Gales over 50 mph at the Straits of Mackinac cancelled state ferry service.
One of the coldest months on record comes to a close with yet more arctic air and lake effect snow in 1977. High temperatures are only in the teens during the last week of the month with two to four feet of snow piled up along the Lake Michigan snow belts.
In 1979, the Houghton County airport had 88.3 inches of snow which was 18.3 inches above normal for January. Many sheds and garages collapsed throughout the Keweenaw, Houghton and Ontonagon Counties during this month due to the weight of snow. In Greenland, a large part of the township hall crumbled under the weight of snow.
A snowstorm brought the thirteenth biggest snowstorm to the metro Detroit Area in 1982. The snow began late on Jan. 30 and continued throughout much of Jan 31. When it ended, nearly a foot, 11.8 inches was officially measured at Detroit Metro Airport.
From the National Weather Summary and Storm Data, in 1989, severe arctic cold began to invade the north central U.S. The temperature at Great Falls, Mont. plunged 85 degrees in 36 hours. Valentine, Neb. plummeted from a record high of 70 degrees to 0 degrees in just 9 hours. Northwest winds gusted to 86 mph at Lander, Wyo., and wind chill readings of minus 80 degrees were reported in parts of Montana. Many cities across the central U.S. reported record highs for the date as readings reached the 60s in parts of Michigan and the 80s in parts of Kansas. Michigan records for the day include Grand Rapids 57 degrees, Muskegon 48 degrees, Lansing 61 degrees, Alpena 50 degrees, Detroit 60 degrees, and Flint with 59 degrees.
In 1996, a record low temperature of minus 27 degrees occurred at Weather Forecast Office in Marquette. An Arctic air mass brought extreme cold to parts of Upper Michigan. Some low temperatures included minus 41 degrees at Amasa, minus 40 degrees at Iron River, minus 38 degrees at Champion, minus 37 degrees at Stephenson, minus 36 degrees at Kenton and minus 33 degrees at Iron Mountain and Ironwood.
Marquette measured 91.7 inches of snow for the month in 1997. This is the city’s greatest January snowfall on record. From late December 1996 to late January 1997, 122 inches of snow fell in the hills west of Marquette.
In 1999, Grand Rapids ended the month accumulating a January snowfall record of 46.8 inches. Lansing saw a record 34.6 inches for the month.