A Look Back at the Heat Wave of 1936

Northern Michigan is approaching the climatological warmest time of the year.  Just last weekend the area saw several days of warm and muggy weather.  In fact, similar heat and humidity is expected back in the region by late this weekend into early next week. While temperatures in the upper 80s to lower 90s and dew points around the sticky 70 degree mark may feel uncomfortable for some, the area has seen its share of even warmer temperatures. The following is a table showing the last time a few select locations reached or exceeded the 100 degree mark:

Location Last date 100+ degree temperature was seen High Temperature
Alpena 8/6/2001 100
Houghton Lake  6/19/1995  103
Traverse City  7/31/2006  100

Believe it or not, there was a period where northern Michigan experienced up to 8 consecutive days of 100+ degree high temperatures. Back in 1936, in the midst of the Dust Bowl, intense heat built in the arid Plains and pushed northeast into the Great Lakes.  Sweltering heat was observed from July 7th to July 14th, with highs still in the 90s for most places several days afterwards.  The recognized all-time high temperature for the state of Michigan occurred during this stretch, with Mio reporting a high of 112 degrees on July 13th. Below is a table depicting the high temperatures for the July 7th-14th time frame for a few select cities.

                                       7/7 7/8
7/9
7/10
 7/11  7/12  7/13  7/14
Alpena  100 104
 102  104  100  105  106  91

Houghton Lake

100
107
 105  106  105  104  107  101

Mio

 100  103 103
103
105
107
112
95
Sault Ste. Marie
 93 95
 96  93  96 96
 89 87
TraverseCity 
 105 104
102
104
104
84
100
98

While daytime temperatures were sweltering hot, the air mass over the Northwoods that week was dry enough to allow temperatures to drop all the way back into the 60s for overnight lows.



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