Morning Briefing Feb. 1, 2022: Looking back at biggest snowstorm in Detroit history

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Snow in Michigan

The biggest snowstorm in Detroit history happened in April 1886

As we brace for a big snowstorm this week (read the updated forecast here), let’s take a moment to look back at the biggest such snowstorm in Detroit history ...

Most Michiganders hope that April showers will end the season’s snow until next winter - but in Michigan, it’s never a sure thing.

Take April 1886 for example: On Tuesday, April 6, 1886, Detroit was hit with the largest snowstorm on record, dumping more than 24 inches of snow.

Just before the 1886 storm, farmers were getting ready for spring.

This “charming” recollection of the storm is from the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm:

The biggest snowstorm ever to strike Michigan occurred on Tuesday, April 6, 1886. The days preceding the storm, however, were more in keeping with spring weather rather than winter. Spring activities were already underway with many believing that winter was a distant memory. Only four days prior to the storm, The Rochester Era reported:

“We hail this charming month, for it brings with it freshness, the sweet breath of the springtime and the gentle rains that herald the advent of the early flowers, and the starting grass upon our lawns and meadows…Farm stock, glad to leave the confines of the barn and yard, are straying hither and yon, through field and woodland seeking the tender blades of grass and early vegetation.”

Read more here.

A year ago: Parts of SE Michigan saw up to 9 inches of snow in February 2021

This week’s snow timeline

Here’s the latest on this week’s forecast from the Local 4Casters:

Here is the weather forecast for Metro Detroit. For more weather coverage:

We will see mid 30s by 3 a.m. Wednesday, and freezing temps by 6 a.m. Wednesday which will be our move into the “all snow” category for just about the entire area if not a little sooner than that.

Our Winter Storm Watch will likely be upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning shortly, but the details haven’t really changed. This Storm Warning will be in effect Wednesday morning through Thursday evening with the threat of a foot to a foot and a half of snow. It will be quite snowy, messy, and tricky getting around all day Wednesday here in SE Lower Michigan. Temperatures will hover around freezing or slightly cooler through the morning and early afternoon. With a good 5-9 inches of new snow Wednesday, temps will begin to really drop dramatically as arctic air sweeps in and will settle in for a while.

Make sure you don’t overdo it with the shoveling! Try to remove snow in shifts or hire the kids on your street to do it for you. Traveling around will be quite slippery and dangerous and we are all being advised to not travel unless we have to, or travel at your own risk both Wednesday and Thursday.

The Winter Storm Warning will still be going Thursday and temps are tumbling with pesky breezes adding insult to injury. Expect mid to upper teens Thursday morning with steady snow still coming down, and then afternoon highs only in the lower 20s with either snow, blowing snow, or both. Right now, computer model data is split on what will become of the snow on Thursday as some models keep more snow coming in after a brief mid morning break from the flakes.

Another model has most of the snow pulling east during the morning leaving us more dry than snowy although those cold winds will be whipping NNW 10-20mph blowing snow and keeping our roads in rough shape. We should anticipate more snow in the late morning and afternoon for most of Metro Detroit and that may be another 4-8 inches of new snow on Thursday bringing some area snow totals over one foot for the two days.

Read more here.

Multiple snow days likely in SE Michigan this week: How to track school closings

Black History month -- start with a quiz!

Now that February is officially here, we can say it: Happy Black History Month.

Each February marks an annual celebration of achievements by African-Americans. It’s also intended as a time to recognize their central role in U.S. history.

How well do you know you history?

Test your knowledge with this quiz.

More: Black History month stories

More Local news headlines:

COVID in Michigan 🦠

Michigan reported 21,242 new cases of COVID-19 and 65 virus-related deaths Monday -- an average of 7,080.7 cases over the past three days.

Monday’s update brings the total number of confirmed COVID cases in Michigan to 1,980,613, including 29,843 deaths. These numbers are up from 1,959,371 cases and 29,778 deaths, as of Friday.

Read the latest COVID report here.