Heavy rain, a wildfire and record heat 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 August 31.
1892 – The wood schooner-barge, 2-mast Guiding Star separated from steamer Toledo in a storm, where she stranded and wrecked near Big Bay Point, MI in Lake Superior. The crew had to build a ladder from the wreckage to get up the bluff.
1894 – Marked the end of the driest summer month ever recorded in Detroit, with only 0.16 inches of rain falling throughout the entire month.
1933 – Marquette received 0.80 inches of rain for August, 30 percent of normal. Several fires broke out in Gogebic, Ontonagon and Mackinac Counties. The largest fire was near Lake Pomeroy in Marenisco Township in Gogebic County with 4,000 acres burned in 3 days.
1947 – The month of August had record heat for the month as Marquette had an average monthly temperature of 70.9°.
1953 – August ends with a late season heat wave that will continue into September. Record highs of 97° are set at Grand Rapids, 96° at Lansing and 91° at Muskegon, 94° in Alpena, and 97° in Detroit and Flint.
1955 – A moderate drought continued in Dickinson County with half the average rainfall received since July 1, 1955 with damage to crops due to the dry weather and heat.
1975 – Heavy rains on the last day of the month ensure that this will be the wettest August on record at Lansing and Muskegon. One to three inches of rain falls across the region, boosting the monthly total close to 10 inches.
1976 – The Seney fire grew to 40,000 acres. 1,000 firefighters were dispatched to fight the fire and the National Guard helped to transport and feed the firefighters. 29 states sent help to fight the fire.
1992 – August ended up with an average monthly temperature of 59.2° which was 3.4° below average. What was unusual was it was slightly warmer than July 1992 at the Weather Forecast Office in Marquette which is unusual to have August warmer than July.
1993 – Flash flooding hits Norton Shores in Muskegon County as slow moving thunderstorms dropped about an inch and a half of rain. Elsewhere, three people were struck by lightning in Otsego in Kalamazoo County. One suffered cardiac arrest but was not killed. The other two were treated for minor burns. The lightning strike occurred while two stranded motorists were huddled under an umbrella, watching the wrecker operator connect their vehicle. The lightning struck the umbrella and the motorists, and then struck the wrecker operator, jolting him to the ground.
2000 – Severe thunderstorms brought trees down from wind and lightning in Iron Mountain and Norway with gusts up to 63 mph in the early evening. 12 inches of water was near a shopping mall in Iron Mountain with some street flooding. A foot of water on Main Street and US-2 flooded from Norway to 1/2 mile west. Highway U.S.-2 and Lake Antoine Road flooded in Quinnesec. Localized heavy rain of one to two inches caused urban flooding in southern Dickinson County in the evening. The worst flooding was in the Crystal Lake area of Iron Mountain. The flood waters receded within 1 to 1 1/2 hours after the storm ended.
2007 – Severe drought conditions expanded eastward into Eastern Upper Michigan during August. It was a dry summer in the region, especially in the Upper Peninsula. Dryness started in late May, with just 0.30 inches of rain at Sault Ste. Marie after May 16th through the end of the month. June rainfall of 1.74 inches was 1.26 inches below normal. Similarly, July rainfall at the Sault was 1.50 inches, 1.64 inches below normal. August rainfall totaled 1.03 inches, a full 2.44 inches below normal. The hay crop in Eastern Upper Michigan was 50 to 70 percent of normal. The resulting lack of feed led some farmers to cut their cattle herds. A burning ban was issued for the majority of the state in mid-August, the first such ban since 1998. Significant rains in September would eventually alleviate the drought.
2009 – August ends on a cool note with a record low of 41° at Muskegon. Some other readings include 34° at Big Rapids, 32° at Cadillac 28° at Leota, in Clare County and 36° in Marquette.
2010 – Detroit and Flint closed out August with three consecutive 90+ degree days with no rainfall. This marked the end of a very hot and dry August. When combining the two, it was the hottest and driest August combination on record for Southeast Michigan. Detroit had its sixth warmest and sixth driest August. Flint recorded its fifth warmest and driest August.