Balmy highs, snow and blowing snow, and bitter cold 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 March 3.
1943 – Arctic air dominates the first ten days of the month. Record cold temperatures this morning include the -10° at Muskegon, -9° at Grand Rapids, -21° at Alpena and -24° at Sault Ste. Marie. Houghton Lake sets a record for the coldest March temperature ever recorded with -25°.
1983 – Record highs are set across Lower Michigan with Grand Rapids hitting 72° and Muskegon 69°. For Grand Rapids this is the earliest temperature reading of 70° or more. The first week of March is incredibly balmy with seven straight days of high temperatures of 60° or above at Grand Rapids.
1989 – Wintry weather prevailed from the southern Rockies to the Upper Great Lakes. In Michigan, Neguanee received 19 inches of snow, and up to 24 inches of snow blanketed Colorado. Blizzard conditions were reported in Minnesota. (National Weather Summary) (Storm Data)
2002 – Record daily snowfall of 10.4 inches fell at Weather Forecast Office in Marquette, part of a 19.8 inch snowstorm of the 2nd-3rd. A winter storm moved from the mid-Mississippi River valley into the western Great Lakes region. The storm, combined with intense lake effect snow showers that followed, deposited varying amounts of snowfall across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Strong winds of 30 to 45 mph also created near blizzard condition across the area. Bessemer reported 10 inches of snowfall, and white out conditions were reported near Rockland. The National Weather Service Office measured 16 inches of new snow and Gwinn reported 10 inches. Shingleton, Wetmore and Traunik reported 12 to 14 inches of snowfall in 24 hours and 12 inches of new snow was reported in Luce County from Two Heart to Tahquamenon Park. Rock and Perkins received 10 inches of snowfall, and 10 to 12 inches of new snow fell over Schoolcraft County from Manistique north.
The coldest temperature of the season hit Detroit with a reading of -4°.
2003 – The coldest temperature ever recorded in March hits Detroit with a record of -4°. Flint dips to a record -11°. The day’s low temperature of -30° at Marquette was the lowest temperature ever recorded in March in the city. A deepening area of low pressure crossed Minnesota and northern Wisconsin during the afternoon entered Upper Michigan that evening. Light snow spread from west to east across the Upper Peninsula. Cold air moving over the open waters of Lake Michigan created conditions favorable for lake enhancement that afternoon and evening across eastern Delta County and southern Schoolcraft County. In addition, strong south winds brought local near-blizzard conditions to lakeshore areas along highway US-2 between Rapid River and Manistique with the combination of heavy snow and blowing snow. As the low moved east during the evening, winds shifted southwest by midnight ending the lake enhanced heavy snow. Nine inches of snow fell in 12 hours just north of Manistique. The Michigan State Police Post at Gladstone reported that the strong winds and blowing snow frequently produced visibilities of a quarter of a mile or less along Highway US-2 and lasted for nearly 5 hours.
2012 – A storm system moving through the Lower Great Lakes produced heavy snow mainly over portions of central and eastern Upper Michigan from the evening of the 2nd into the 4th. Storm total snowfall amounts over a 36-hour period ending on the morning of the 4th included 27.4 inches northeast of Ishpeming, 24.5 inches in Negaunee, and an estimated 27 inches at Little Lake. Storm total snowfall ending on the morning of the 4th included 24 inches near Shingleton and over 20 inches near Chatham and Munising. Snow fell over approximately a 36-hour period. North winds gusting to 40 mph also caused areas of blowing and drifting snow near Lake Superior. The observer in Herman measured 12.5 inches of storm total snowfall in less than 24 hours. A spotter in L’anse also reported six inches of snow in six hours on the morning of the 3rd along with blowing and drifting snow.
2014 – Flint set a new record for its coldest temperature ever recorded in the month of March. The temperature fell to -16°. Meanwhile, Detroit only fell to 0° while a temperature of -6° was observed in Saginaw. Neither were records.