The coldest day, heavy snow, and an ice storm 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. 23.
Lower Michigan is in the midst of a three day stretch of warm weather in 1909. Lansing hits a record high of 60 degrees. Grand Rapids reaches 56 degrees and Muskegon 55 degrees, which are also records. A two day trend brought record high temperatures of 59 degrees on the 23rd and 58 degrees on Jan. 24 in the city of Saginaw.
In 1936, there was a raging blizzard and travel was brought to a halt in Iron Mountain, Escanaba, Menominee and Sault Ste. Marie as road crews pulled off roads. This blizzard was judged “the worst in years.”
Arctic high pressure and deep snow cover have Lower Michigan in the deep freeze in 1948. Record lows on this date include minus 19 degrees at Grand Rapids and minus 13 degrees below at Muskegon, minus 23 degrees at Alpena and minus 28 degrees at Houghton Lake.
In 1963, Marquette had the coldest day in recorded history. They observed a high temperature of minus 8 degrees and a low temperature of minus 21 degrees.
Strong winds ushered bitterly cold air into the north central U.S., and produced snow squalls across the Great Lakes in 1987. Snowfall totals in northwest Lower Michigan ranged up to 17 inches in Leelanau County. According to the National Weather Summary and Storm Data, wind chill temperatures reached minus 70 degrees at Sault Ste. Marie, and Hibbing, Minn.
In 1999, a winter storm tracked from southern Illinois across Lower Michigan, bringing a mix of winter weather to the Upper Peninsula. Rain and freezing rain quickly turned to sleet and then snow over most of the Upper Peninsula, but freezing rain continued over Alger, Luce and Schoolcraft counties, coating most surfaces with one-quarter to one-half inch of ice. A mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain developed in Chippewa and Mackinac Counties in advance of a low lifting toward the region. Around one-half inch of ice accumulated on trees and power lines producing many broken branches and contributing to several power outages. The ice also created hazardous driving conditions and was a contributing factor to many traffic accidents. Several inches of heavy wet snow also fell in spots, further contributing to the hazardous conditions and power outages. Temperatures in the teens and wind chills near zero also contributed to the hazardous road conditions.
The high temperature in Flint rose to only 10 degrees in 2012. This tied the record minimum high temperature for the date. Also on this date, a Plains low pressure system tracking across northern Wisconsin and eastern Upper Michigan dropped heavy snow across much of the west half of Upper Michigan from Jan. 23 into the morning of Jan 24. Some ice accumulation from freezing rain also occurred over central Upper Michigan in the morning of Jan. 23. The observer in Menominee measured one-eighth of an inch of ice accumulation from freezing rain on Jan. 23. Side roads were covered in ice which resulted in several cars sliding into the ditch. Many area schools in Menominee County, Dickinson County and Delta County were closed on Jan. 23 due to the icy roads. The observer northeast of Iron Mountain measured .20 of an inch of ice accumulation from freezing rain early morning on Jan. 23. Six inches of wet heavy snow fell in six hours at the National Weather Service in Negaunee Township on Jan. 23. Over one-inch per hour snowfall rates were also reported near Big Bay and Ishpeming along with a light glaze of ice accumulation from freezing drizzle. Area schools including Northern Michigan University were closed on Jan. 23 due to the storm. The observer just east of Stambaugh measured eight inches of wet snow in just over 12 hours. Observers near Gladstone and Bark River measured around .15 of an inch of ice accumulation from freezing rain. The ice on roadways caused numerous accidents, three of which resulted in minor injuries.