Wednesday, November 7, 2012

November 7, 1913: The “White Hurricane” begins

                                A lithographic postcard of the Huronic in Duluth, made between 1915 and 1925. (Image: X-Comm.)

This day in 1913 marks the start of one of the biggest storms sailors on the Great Lakes have ever experienced. The so-called “White Hurricane” (also called the “Big Blow” and the “Freshwater Fury”) was essentially a blizzard producing hurricane-force winds and technically considered an “extrapolated cyclone.” Between November 7 and 10 the storm produced 90 mph wind gusts, 35-foot waves, and whiteout snow squalls, beaching many large vessels. A lull in the storm on November 8 caused many to think the storm was over, and shipping traffic that had been delayed was resumed, sending more vessels out into what would soon become the teeth of the storm. Ports around the Great Lakes raised gale-warning flags, ignored by many ship captains. Cleveland was hit with 22 inches of snow. A brand-new $100,000 breakwater in Chicago was swept away. On Lake Superior, the Leafield was wrecked near Angus Island, taking 18 people down with it; theHenry B. Smith sunk near Marquette, Michigan, with 25 lives lost. Neither vessel has ever been found. Stranded on Lake Superior were the Fred G. Harwell, the J. T. Hutchinson, the Major, the William Nittingham, the Scottish Hero, the Turret Chief, the L. S.  Waldo, and the passenger steamer Huronic (some newspapers  mistakenly reported the Huronicas the Hamonic, its sistership). In all, nineteen ships were destroyed, nineteen other stranded, and 250 people died. Read Wikipedia's description of the storm here.
Contributed by: Tony Dierckins - Zenith City Press

No comments:

Post a Comment