A blinding blizzard, a tornado and flooding top the list of Michigan weather events on this day in history. From the National Weather Service archives here are the weather events that happened on April 23.
1903 – The wood, miscellaneous freighter “rabbit” Belle P. Cross, while carrying cedar posts, went on a reef in a blinding blizzard-gale near Castle Danger, MN near the Gooseberry River in Lake Superior and broke up quickly. Wreckers arriving on the scene April 30 found her totally destroyed.
1960 – Heavy rain fell across most of Upper Michigan leading to serious flooding. Roads were washed out, bridges swept away and residents were forced to flee their homes on the 23rd-24th. Alberta had 1.28 inches of rain, Baraga had 1.44 inches, near Beechwood had 1.58 inches, Van Riper had 1.42 inches, Ishpeming had 1.30 inches, Ironwood had 3.05 inches of rain, Marquette had 1.77 inches, Watersmeet had 1.48 inches of rain.
1968 – A tornado struck Big Rapids in Mecosta County, injuring 11 people and doing half a million dollars in damage as it covered a path 10 miles long.
1980 – After a record high temperature of 92° the previous day, the low temperature dropped to 21° at the Weather Forecast Office in Marquette with a snowfall of 2.1 inches.
1985 – In the Upper Peninsula flooding cancelled school in Gwinn. Also on this day the daytime temperature rose to 85° in Flint. Curiously enough, the very next year, in 1986, the overnight temperature dropped to 22°, setting the record low temperature for this day!
1986 – An unusual late snowfall blanketed the Poconos across northeastern Pennsylvania with up to 30 inches of snow, up to two feet was reported across the Catskills in New York and parts of northwestern New Jersey received up to 20 inches. Behind the storm freezing weather prevails across Lower Michigan. Record cold temperatures for the date include the 19° at Muskegon and 20° at Grand Rapids. Other records include Detroit 23°, Flint 22°, and Sault Ste. Marie 20°. For Grand Rapids and Detroit it is also a record for coldest so late in the season.
1990 – A record high temperature of 75° occurred at Weather Forecast Office in Marquette which was also tied in 1985.
2001 – A surface low pressure center moved northeast from Iowa across the Western Great Lakes and into Ontario. A trailing cold front was the focus for the development of severe thunderstorms as it crossed Upper Michigan. 8 to 10 inch diameter trees came down in a severe thunderstorm 10 miles east of Watersmeet in the early afternoon. 4 to 8 inch diameter trees were downed 8 miles northeast of Amasa at 1325 EST. A tree fell on an automobile 5 miles north of Ishpeming and trees fell across power lines 3 miles north of Negaunee at 1420 EST. Numerous 6 inch diameter poplar trees broken off in Carlshend at 1450 EST. Across Lower Michigan numerous trees came down with the strong wind. Wind Reports include 61mph in Flint and 60mph in Ypsilanti. There were two reports of hail 1 inch in diameter (quarter sized), one from near Beechwood and the other from Baraga.