Lightning, severe thunderstorms, record cold top the list of Michigan weather events on this day in history. From the National Weather Service and Storm Prediction Center (SPC) archives here are the events that happened on September 21.
1844 – The wood brig trading and fishing boat, John Jacob Astor sank in a Lake Superior gale by hitting a reef. It was carrying furs and trade goods, Owned by Astor’s American Fur Company, reportedly the 1st commercial vessel on Lake Superior. She struck a reef and foundered near Copper Harbor on the Keweenaw Peninsula. Wreckage was still visible in the early 1860’s. First documented shipwreck on Lake Superior.
1863 – Lansing records a low temperature of 19°, the coldest on record for the month of September.
1869 – The wood bark, 3-mast Nucleus, while carrying iron ore, was downbound when she sprung a leak and sunk in a storm off Whitefish Point in Lake Superior.
1874 – The wood bark, 3-mast Monarch, while carrying coal, became unmanageable during a gale and went on the rocks near Detour, MI in Lake Huron where she sank and was a $15,000 loss.
1895 – In a strong southwest gale, the steamer Charles J. Kershaw went aground on a rock reef east of Marquette. Captain Henry Cleary of the Marquette Lifesaving Station rescued the 13 men from the ship in a daring rescue attempt that took three tries to remove all the crew. The first try saved 9 crewmembers, the second attempt failed and the third attempt saved the other 4 crewmembers.
1899 – The wood scow-schooner White Foam, while carrying lumber, foundered off Bois Blanc Island in the Straits of Mackinac in Lake Huron in a storm.
1909 – The composite, bulk freight Samoa, while carrying copper sand, was attempting to shelter from a thunderstorm in the lake, she was struck by lightning, caught fire and burned to the waterline and sank in Torch Lake, Portage ship canal in Lake Superior in the Keweenaw.
1956 – Intense lightning from thunderstorms is responsible for 11 house fires in Ottawa and Kent Counties, accounting for thousands of dollars in damage.
1967 – A small tornado struck just north of Lansing at 10:45 in the morning and destroyed a garage.
1992 – A tornado hit north of Webberville in Ingham County, damaging several outbuildings.
2007 – Severe thunderstorms produced damaging wind and large hail over western Upper Michigan. A 70 mph wind gust was measured at the Ironwood AWOS in the late afternoon with several trees down at Watersmeet.
2010 – A Northern Plains low pressure system and associated cold front triggered isolated severe thunderstorms over Gogebic and Houghton in the morning. The Gogebic County Sheriff reported widespread trees and power lines down across Ironwood. A spotter also reported 12-inch diameter branches down on McLeod Avenue. $5000 in property damage was done. Ahead of the cold front passing across West Michigan the Grand Rapids, the National Weather Service (NWS) reported a wind gust to 72mph. Some of the strongest wind reports came in from Allegan, Muskegon Ottawa and Kent counties. The cold front swept through Southeast Michigan during the late evening hours producing severe thunderstorms north of M-59. Most reports of severe weather were from the squall line that raced through the Tri-Cities, Flint and Thumb regions. There were 21 reports of severe wind gusts and tree damage. Read more about the storms here: Large hail and damaging wind Tuesday evening.