91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Think this January's weather was crazy? Check out the U.P.'s blizzard of 1938

Michigan may be “warming up” (31 degree heat wave, anyone?), but evidence of the latest snowpocalypse is still abundant.  

Over at MLive, meteorologist Mark Torregrossa reports that “mile for mile, Michigan has more snow cover than any other U.S. state.”

And as for ice, the Great Lakes are under the largest ice cover in 20 years. Sixty percent of all five lakes are now iced over.

For winter lovers, January has been a pretty good month. But for those who are rejoicing over the end of this “god-forsaken month,” as one Michigan Radio staffer put it — maybe it’s time to put this historic January in perspective.

Take, for instance, the blizzard of 1938.

Seventy-six years ago this January, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula succumbed to a surreal snow storm that left students stranded in schools, trains stuck, and even started a few fires.

In “So Cold a Sky: Upper Michigan Weather Stories,” meteorologist Karl Bohnak writes that the 1.5-day storm is often referred to as “the worst of them all,” and is still a benchmark for Yoopers trying to gauge just how bad a storm is.

The 50 mile-per-hour winds caused serious snow drifts, and cost the U.P. two lives. Damages in Marquette, the U.P.’s largest city, were around $400,000 — or nearly $6.5 million in today’s dollars.

From Bohnak:

"Snow totals included 18 inches at Marquette with nearly 3 feet in some of the higher elevations of the western and central U.P. A major fire occurred at the peak of the storm in Marquette, while cars were buried in many areas due to tremendous blowing and drifting snow."

So yes, it could be crazier. Much, much crazier.

- Melanie Kruvelis, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Related Content