A shipwreck, a foot of snow, and deadly tornadoes 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 3.
1894 – The wood freighter William H. Barnum, while hauling 55,000 bushels of corn, had her hull cut by floating ice and she attempted to make it to shore, but came up against shelf ice and stranded. The wrecking tug Crusader tried to save her, but was only able to take her crew off before she went down in 11 fathoms of water 5.5 miles ESE of Mackinaw City in Lake Huron. She was reportedly in poor condition at the time of her last trip and had been given insurance for only that single voyage. She had been bound Chicago for Port Huron and was one of the first vessels to attempt the Straits of Mackinac that spring.
1956 – Eighteen people are killed and over 300 injured as four powerful tornadoes strike western Lower Michigan. Hudsonville and the northwest suburbs of Grand Rapids are the hardest hit areas with 17 fatalities as homes and businesses were completely swept away by an F5 tornado. More information on April 3 1956: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/grr/science/19560403/
1963 – The city of Marquette had a record high temperature of 72° and Weather Forecast Office in Marquette had a record high temperature of 65°.
1974 – The worst tornado outbreak in United States history strikes from Illinois to Alabama, with 148 tornadoes killing over 300 people and injuring 5500. Damage totaled $600 million in 13 states and Ontario, Canada. In Michigan, a tornado kills two people as it tracks across Hillsdale and Jackson counties. The Super Outbreak was the worst tornado outbreak in U.S. history.
1988 – A wind gust to 114 mph was clocked at Ann Arbor, MI during a tornadic thunderstorm. Thunderstorms in Michigan and Indiana spawned five tornadoes that Easter Sunday, and also produced golf ball size hail. (National Weather Summary) (Storm Data)
1996 – Marquette records 12.6 inches of snow on this day to raise its seasonal snowfall to 250.8 inches, the city’s snowiest winter ever, until 1997. The old record was 243.8 inches set back in 1981-82. The snowfall for the month stands at 43.4 inches, the snowiest April on record for the city as well. (Intellicast)