A swarm of tornadoes, floundering ships and dead cows 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 September 16.
1886 – A swarm of tornadoes hits southern Lower Michigan from late morning into the early afternoon. At least ten separate tornadoes struck, causing damage in Cass, Livingston, Kalamazoo, Eaton, and Clinton Counties. One person was killed and another injured in a tornado that hit Brighton.
1892 – The wood, bulk freight Vienna, while carrying iron ore, was towing the barge Mattie C. Bell in fog, when she was rammed broadside by the wooden propeller Nipigon and went to bottom with a huge hole in her side at Whitefish Bay in Lake Superior. Nipigon took her in tow, but she went down in 60 fathoms of water an hour later and had an octagonal pilothouse.
1897 – The wood schooner-barge, bulk freight Henry A. Kent, while carrying 1,674 tons of iron ore, was driven down near Stannard Rock light in Lake Superior and foundered in a gale while bound Ashland, Wis. for Lake Erie. Her crew was rescued with difficulty just before she went down, by her tow steamer J.C. Gilchrist, which pulled up alongside in the gale and passed the crew and the captain’s two children over on ropes. Newspapers later said the fact that she was grossly overloaded was the reason for her loss.
1899 – Grand Rapids records a high of 98°, setting the record for its hottest September temperature, which would be tied on September 2, 1913.
1901 – The steel, package freight Hudson, was carrying 22,500 bushels flaxseed and 69,000 bushels wheat. A ship was seen to have foundered 3 miles off shore in Lake Superior west of Eagle River, MI. It was three days before the loss was confirmed and the ship identified as the Hudson. Her cargo probably shifted in big seas [as flaxseed especially was prone to do] and she capsized and sank in a terrific gale. She had fore and aft tandem stacks and a green and grey paint job which made her one of the most recognizable boats on the Lakes. She was outbound from Duluth. All 25 crew members perished.
1912 – The steel, bulk freight Spokane was driven onto the rock pinnacle of Gull Rock off Manitou Island near the Keweenaw Peninsula in Lake Superior by a gale and broke in two. Declared total loss, but later recovered and rebuilt, lasting until 1935. She was reportedly the first steel ship to operate on Lake Superior. She was the first steel-hulled bulker.
1955 – Marquette and Alpena both had a high temperature of 90°. Flint also experienced a high of 90°. This marked the beginning of a 3-day heat wave in Flint, with the 17th and the 18th experiencing record high temperatures of 94° and 93° degrees respectively.
1972 – An F2 tornado touched down in the midafternoon. It went across Forest and Marinette Counties, Wisconsin and then into Menominee County, MI. It skipped ESE from 4 miles WSW Wabeno, WI to 4 miles ESE of Ingalls, MI, a distance of 55 miles. The path was 200 yards wide. In Wisconsin, the tornado uprooted over 1000 trees and leveled barns. It unroofed homes south of Athelstane and north of Wausaukee. Between Wallace and Ingalls, MI, it damaged seven homes, destroyed barns, and killed 11 cattle. Two homes were called “destroyed” by the press. Property damage in Menominee County was $250,000.
2004 – A potent low pressure system originating over the Central Plains moved across the west end of Lake Superior on the evening of the 15th. Strong west winds developed behind this system in the early morning hours. Sheriff’s departments reported numerous trees and power lines down from this storm across Gogebic, Ontonagon, northern Houghton and Keweenaw Counties. The automated observing site at Houghton County Airport reported a wind gust to 54 mph while an estimated wind gust to 55 mph was reported by the Ontonagon County Road Commission.
2006 – 1.25 inch hail (half dollar sized) fell for 5-10 minutes in Sagola in the mid-evening out of a severe thunderstorm