The Storm of 1913 a Michigan Story untold – 9-14-2013 we celebrate its 100 years anniversary
I have been a life long resident of Michigan, I gained new knowledge today of an event that happened 100 years ago in November, from 9-13 in 1913. The Storm of 1913 is one of mythical proportions, but one I had not heard of before today. How is it you can live in an area for 50 years and not hear of something that claimed so many souls. This should have been taught in history class in school, or handed down from the memories of Grandparents. How could something so devastating be erased with the winds and sands of time?
Every one who has heard the song The ledgend of the Edmund Fitzgerald has heard the story of the November 10, 1975 storm on Michigan’s Great Lakes that commemorated the , S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald with twenty-nine souls that were lost, when it sank 17 miles northwest of Whitefish Bay in Michigan. But what about the 250+ souls that were lost in 1913.
Lucky for all of us a celebration is being held September 14, 2013 – January 12, 2014 to tell the story few of this generation have heard of.
Today I visited the oldest lighthouse in Michigan, The Fort Gratiot Light House in operation since 1929. I learned of my local history how the sacred land of the native Indians was transformed to form what now is designated as a park. But more importantly I learned of our 100 year history and the anniversary of the 1913 storm.
To help one understand the impact I offer some of my findings below on the subject. If you are like me you will find it new knowledge, part of our local history, and mark your calendar to learn even more about what happened in November 1913.
Edward Kanaby, survivor of the 1913 Storm on the Great Lakes
Live account of the storm
Video The Great Storm of 1913 – Memory of the ships and souls lost
Images post the storm of 1913
Lake Huron Park after the Great Storm of 1913
A remembrance of the Storm of 1913
260 Sailors lost their lives during The Great Storm of November 9 to 13, 1913. Over 40 ships were affected in a major way during this, the worst marine disaster on the Great Lakes; Eight of these vanished with all souls from Lake Huron.
In Michigan we live with the knowledge that the Michigan weather is unpredictable and can change many degrees in one day. I can not imagine a change that would take you from a record warm to a bone chillin in one day. No wonder the winds of change caused many souls to depart this earth on that day.
The Great Lakes Storm of 1913, historically referred to as the “Big Blow”, the “Freshwater Fury”, or the “White Hurricane”, was a blizzard with hurricane-force winds that devastated the Great Lakes Basin in the Midwestern United States and the Canadian province of Ontario from November 7 through November 10, 1913. The storm was most powerful on November 9, battering and overturning ships on four of the five Great Lakes, particularly Lake Huron.
The deadliest and most destructive natural disaster ever to hit the lakes, the Great Lakes Storm killed more than 250 people, destroyed 19 ships, and stranded 19 others. The financial loss in vessels alone was nearly US $5 million (or about $116,145,000 in today’s dollars). This included about $1 million at current value in lost cargo totalling about 68,300 tons, such as coal, iron ore, and grain.
The storm, an extratropical cyclone, originated as the convergence of two major storm fronts, fueled by the lakes’ relatively warm waters—a seasonal process called a “November gale“. It produced 90 mph (145 km/h) wind gusts, waves over 35 feet (11 m) high, and whiteout snowsqualls. Analysis of the storm and its impact on humans, engineering structures, and the landscape led to better forecasting and faster responses to storm warnings, stronger construction (especially of marine vessels), and improved preparedness.
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