May in Michigan means comfortable temperatures, tulips in bloom, and that the trees finally have leaves again.


RELATED: The Most Extreme Weather Ever Recorded in Michigan

Lifelong Michiganders know that nothing can be taken for granted with Michigan weather, besides the fact that anything can happen.

Case in point: May 9, 1923.

The Huge Michigan Snowstorm of May 1923

Archives from the National Weather Service tell the tale of the most unusual late-season snowstorm in Michigan history.

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Weather records indicate that a strong Arctic cold front blew through Lower Michigan during the afternoon of May 8, 1923, setting off a few thunderstorms as it made its way through cities like Saginaw, Flint, and Lansing. Temperatures dropped from the lower 60s around lunchtime to just above freezing by late afternoon.

Nothing could prepare residents for what would happen the following day.

Photos via Canva and Imagen
Photos via Canva and Imagen

The cold front set the stage for a crazy May 9. Weather records indicate that a low pressure system formed over Lake Erie the morning of May 9, 1923, causing wraparound moisture to begin falling as snow across much of Lower Michigan. Temperatures stayed in the lower 30s as the snowflakes continued to accumulate throughout the day.

The late-season snow took everyone by surprise, including weather forecasters at the time:

The snow ended by the evening in Detroit and at 8pm, six inches was reported on the ground. The story was even more fantastic as one traveled west and north of Detroit across Southeast Lower Michigan. Generally, six to nine inches fell west to the Ann Arbor area, northwest through Howell, north across Pontiac and northeast up to Port Huron. Even more incredible, snow depths of around a foot were reported at Flint and Lansing north into the Saginaw Valley.

Lansing's official snowfall total for the date is listed at 11".

Despite the eye-popping accumulations for such a late-season snowstorm, it was nothing more than a memory later that same week as it quickly melted away.

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