November 9, 2013

"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" — 100 years ago.
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....

From 8:00 p.m. to midnight [on November 9th], the storm became what modern meteorologists call a "weather bomb." Sustained hurricane-speed winds of more than 70 mph (110 km/h) ravaged the four western lakes....

In retrospect, weather forecasters of the time did not have enough data or understanding of atmospheric dynamics to predict or comprehend the events of Sunday, November 9. Frontal mechanisms, referred to then as "squall lines," were not yet understood.

16 comments:

Sorun said...

Wouldn't it be interesting we didn't get weather forecasts? Instead, we looked at the sky and tried to guess ourselves what was coming. Not better, I suppose, but more interesting.

RecChief said...

call Al Gore. He thinks 'extreme weather' like this happens only in the last 20 years and is caused by our carbon footprint

The Godfather said...

A big hurricane hit southeast Florida in 1926. It was entirely unexpected. I talked with a woman who was a child in Fort Lauderdale then. Her older brothers were planning to go to the beach for a cook-out that day, but their dad noticed that the barometer was dropping fast, and told them to stay home. They did and survived. They would not have survived on the beach.

There was another big and unexpected hurricane that hit the Keys in the '30's.

YoungHegelian said...

...the "White Hurricane"

Those goddamn crackers!

Auntie Ann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CatherineM said...

Global warming maaaaaaaaan!

kimsch said...

Here just south of the WI border we had really heavy winds last night that lasted until about noon today. Very blustery.

Elliott A said...

I thought all the worst storms happened in the last 10 years!

The Godfather said...

Did the press blame Woodrow Wilson for his handling of the Great Lakes Storm?

MadisonMan said...

I see that the death toll from Haiyan has really leapt up, past 1000. Wow.

A storm like the one in 1913 would likely not be so deadly now -- because there would be advanced warning -- probably at least 3 days, maybe 5 to 7. The advances in weather forecasting in the past 20 years are nothing short of spectacular.

Danno said...

This explains why I saw multiple shipwrecks on Lake Superior on those same days when I was looking at a Lake Superior shipwreck map this summer in Duluth!

Terry said...

The IPCC says:
“Global surface temperature change for the end of the 21st century is projected to be likely to exceed 1.5°C relative to 1850 to 1900 in all but the lowest scenario considered, and likely to exceed 2°C for the two high scenarios,” said Co-Chair Thomas Stocker. “Heat waves are very likely to occur more frequently and last longer."
http://www.ipcc.ch/news_and_events/docs/ar5/press_release_ar5_wgi_en.pdf

MadisonMan said...

@Danno, most of the shipwrecks from that storm were in Lake Huron.

gary said...

Www.ssefo.com

gary said...

Www.ssefo.com

El Pollo Raylan said...

The Mataafa storm in 1905 was far deadlier on Lake Superior than the 1913 one for loss of ships.

My dad used to take SCUBA diver students to Lake Superior in the early 1960s. They camped near Split Rock lighthouse on the lakeshore property of a man who remembered the 1905 storm. I met him briefly in 1975 when he was in his 90s and was housebound.