Arctic cold and a historic blizzard top the list of Michigan weather events on this day in history. From the National Weather Service archives here are the Michigan weather events that happened on December 11.
1978 – Houghton County went over 100 inches of snow for the season, the earliest 100 inches of seasonal snow ever recorded.
1988 – Arctic cold invaded the central and eastern U.S. Temperatures remained below zero all day over parts of eastern Upper Michigan and northern New England. Many locations reported record low temperatures for the date including: Sault St. Marie -14°, and Marquette -11. International Falls, MN was the cold spot in the nation with a low of -25°. Temperatures remained below zero all day over parts of eastern Upper Michigan and northern New England. Sault St. Marie only warmed to a record setting cold high temperature of -3°. (The National Weather Summary)
1995 – A spell of frigid weather continues with high temperatures of only 10° at Grand Rapids, 12° at Lansing and 11° at Muskegon. Other records include Detroit with 14°, Flint 10°, Houghton Lake 10°, and Marquette 2°. The largest storm total snowfall in Sault Ste. Marie history of 61.7 inches fell from December 8th to the 11th. Record snow depth of all time equaled at Sault Ste. Marie of 50 inches. Not only did Sault Ste. Marie see a lot of snow, but Ontonagon saw 40 inches of snow also from December 8th to the 11th.
2000 – A blizzard strikes southern Lower Michigan with record snowfall and strong winds causing heavy drifting, shutting down travel. Muskegon and Flint both observe a daily snowfall record of 10.8”. The 14.5” of snow that falls at Lansing is the heaviest on record for any December day. The 14.2” at Grand Rapids is also a record for any day of the month, and contributes to December of 2000 becoming the snowiest month ever recorded there. On the east side of the state, near blizzard conditions with up to 58 mph wind gusts were found across all of the area, with an outright blizzard in the Thumb. Many schools were closed for two to four days after the storm. Mail delivery the next day was spotty at best, and many businesses and government offices were closed. Specific snowfall amounts and impacts of the storm, by county, Bay: 8 to 10″ in Bay City. Genesee: 12-14″ fell, along with 4 foot drifts. Flint Bishop International Airport closed in the afternoon of the 11th, and ended up with 14″, the third largest snowfall on record. Up to 200 cars were stranded on Interstate 75 just south of Flint during the storm. In Burton, the roof of a window manufacturing company collapsed. Huron: 16.2″ in Port Hope. Lapeer: 12-16″ near Lapeer (city), with 3 foot drifts. Interstate 69 was closed from Davison to Imlay City. Lenawee: 5.7″ in Adrian with some freezing rain. Livingston: 10-15″ with 3 to 5 foot drifts. Macomb: 12″ across the county. Midland: 7 to 11″ in Midland (city). Monroe: 8.5″ just southeast of Milan; up to half an inch of freezing rain in Monroe with several trees downed due to ice and wind, and power outages. Oakland: 12″ across the county. St Clair: 12.3″ near Avoca; 14.7″ in Ruby; 17.5″ in Yale, 14″ in Capac. In Port Huron, 12-20″, closing the Blue Water Bridge to Canada. Saginaw: 11″ in Frankenmuth with 3 foot drifts, roads drifted shut. MBS (Tri Cities) International Airport had many flights cancelled, and the airport was closed at 830 pm on the 11th. Sanilac: 13″ in Brown City. Shiawassee: 15.5″ in Morrice. Tuscola: 10-14″ in Vassar. In Caro, 16.3″ of snow fell with 4 foot drifts. An 18 car pile-up on the north side of town required snowmobiles to rescue stranded motorists. Washtenaw: 8-12″ in Ann Arbor; closing Eastern Michigan University for only the second time ever. Wayne: 6-12″ across the county; three-eighths inches of freezing rain in Rockwood; At Detroit Metropolitan Airport, 6.1″ fell, with 197 departures and 165 arrivals were cancelled.
2010 – A storm system tracking from the Central Plains into the Great Lakes dumped heavy snow over portions of west and central Upper Michigan from the 11th into the 13th. There was record daily precipitation at WFO Marquette with 0.85” of water equivalent. Norway received seven inches of snow in a 12-hour period ending on the evening of the 11th. North winds gusting over 30 mph late in the evening of the 11th continued into the 12th causing considerable blowing and drifting of fallen snow.