Monday’s rain sets record for date

Despite dropping a month’s worth of rain in 24 hours, a two-stage weather system that moved through Northeast Michigan Monday and Tuesday caused little damage in the region.

From 8 a.m. Monday to the same time Tuesday, Alpena County Regional Airport received 3.72 inches of rain, National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Boguth said. Out of that, 2.94 inches fell before midnight, breaking the previous Aug. 11 rainfall record of 1.63 inches set in 1921.

“That beat it by well over an inch of rain,” he said. “Any time you get that kind of rainfall, that’s kind of phenomenal and pretty rare.”

Consider that Alpena had only seen a few drops of rain for the first 10 days of August, Boguth said. Plus, the city normally gets 3.23 inches of rain for the entire month. The storm that blew through late Tuesday night beat that monthly total by nearly a half inch.

Alpena was not the wettest spot in the region, with Glennie getting a reported 4.54 inches over the same period of time, Boguth said. It’s the highest 24-hour total from the storm reported to the NWS Gaylord office, and one of the highest totals he’s seen in his time at the office starting in 2006. Unconfirmed radar estimates showed 5.5 inches falling near the Alcona and Alpena county line.

Despite this, the NWS received no reports of flooding, washed-out roads or other rain-related damage, Boguth said. The rain fell over a period of several hours and hit ground parched by a long dry spell.

“We really needed the rain, no doubt about it,” he said. “It was a little much, for sure, but we were in a prolonged stretch. A lot of locations in northern Michigan, short of yesterday, had not experienced any rainfall at all during the month of August.”

Atlanta got 1.91 inches of rain, 3.5 inches fell on Hammond Bay and Harrisville got 2.7 inches in that same time period, Boguth said.

Monday’s rain came from a low pressure system that followed a northward track, similar to those that typically come through in the fall, Boguth said. It passed over Detroit, where it caused historic flooding, then over the Thumb and across Lake Huron just northeast of Alpena.

The low pressure system took advantage of the moist summer air, and lingering cold air from Canada caused light rain to fall all through Tuesday, Boguth said. High temperatures will stay cool until Friday, with Saturday’s and Sunday’s highs forecasted in the 80s.

The weather did cause some power outages. A broken crossbar on a transmission line pole knocked out power for about 4,700 Alpena Power Company customers over two to three hours starting at 1 a.m. Tuesday, company Vice President Gary Graham said. Those affected were located in the Ossineke and Hubbard Lake areas, with the outage knocking out power for four substations.

“Most (customers) were back on by 3 a.m., and the rest were back on by 4 a.m.,” he said.

Another, smaller outage hit the Island View subdivision in Alpena after a tree branch hit a power line, affecting 80 customers for an hour and a half Tuesday morning, Graham said. A few other smaller outages were reported.

Presque Isle Gas and Electric customers were largely unaffected by the weather, Operations Manager Scot Szymoniak said.

Consumers Energy Spokesperson Debra Dodd said company crews fixed a few small outages in northern Michigan Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Alpena Fire and Police departments reported no weather-related emergencies. Alpena, Montmorency and Presque Isle sheriff’s departments had no such reports, nor did Michigan State Police Alpena Post personnel. Alcona County Sheriff’s Department did take reports of a few arcing power lines late Tuesday and early Monday, according to a department dispatcher.

Jordan Travis can be reached via email at jtravis@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688. Follow Jordan on Twitter @jt_alpenanews. Read his blog, A Snowball’s Chance, at www.thealpenanews.com.