Damaging wind, multiple shipwrecks, and an icy gale top the list of Michigan weather events on this day in history. From the National Weather Service archives here are the events that happened on Nov. 15.
In 1854, the wood, passenger and package freight Peninsula, while carrying general merchandise, including a quantity of blasting powder, was unloading cargo when a gale hit. She backed away from the dock but broke her propeller shaft, becoming helpless and being then driven onto Sawtooth Reef, near Eagle River, Mich. in Lake Superior and was destroyed by wave action.
The wooden schooner, package and bulk freighter W.W. Arnold, while carrying iron ore in 1869, drove ashore in the great gale of November 1869. The violent storm tore the schooner apart and she quickly sank near mouth of Two-Hearted River, Mich. in Lake Superior. Loss of life included 11 passengers. She was downbound from Marquette for Cleveland.
In 1883, the wood schooner, three mast Norman, while carrying cordwood, was reported wrecked at Hog Island Reef in the Beaver Islands Group in Lake Michigan and declared a total loss, but was later recovered.
The wood, passenger and package freight Starucca, while carrying general merchandise in 1888, including railroad wheels, was driven on a bar by an icy gale off Deer Park, Mich. in Lake Superior. She was thought to be in no danger, so her crew stayed aboard until she started to break up. Deer Park Lifesaving Service crew came to the rescue in a tiny surfboat and took the whole crew off in three trips, the last just before she broke up and sank. Bound Buffalo for Duluth. By mid-February of 1989, much of her ice-clad cargo had come ashore along the Michigan beach.
In 1908, the wood scow-schooner, bulk freight Seaman, while carrying slabs and 3,000 bushels of potatoes, was driven ashore at Pilot Island, near Death’s Door passage in Lake Michigan. She was wrecked by a storm, and was probably too old to salvage. She was the oldest working sail vessel afloat at the time of her loss.
The wood, bulk freight Ottawa, while carrying wheat in 1909, developed a list after her cargo shifted in a gale. The crew abandoned ship just before she went down, then had a 16-mile pull in an open boat before reaching safety. She sank stern first 15 miles off Passage Island on the northeast tip of Isle Royale in Lake Superior.
Michigan is in the grip of a four day cold snap in 1933. The low of 10 degrees at Grand Rapids only rises to 18 degrees during the afternoon as lake effect snow showers swirl around and an icy northwest wind makes it feel even colder. Numerous other cold records are set for the day across the state. Record cold low temperatures include Muskegon: 14 degrees, Alpena negative six degrees, Detroit 10 degrees, Flint 10 degrees, and Sault Ste. Marie negative two degrees. Record low maximum temperatures are set at the following cities: Muskegon 26 degrees, Lansing 18 degrees, Alpena 17 degrees, Detroit 20 degrees, Flint 20 degrees, Houghton Lake 20 degrees, and Sault Ste. Marie 11 degrees.
In 1997, low pressure tracked across the Michigan bringing light snow across most of Southern Lower Michigan with accumulations of one to four inches. However, cold north and northeast winds off of the relatively warmer waters of Lake Huron enhanced the snowfall amounts in eastern Sanilac and northeast St. Clair Counties where accumulations were generally four to eight inches. Port Sanilac received eight inches of snowfall, but Sheriff Departments reported localized areas of eastern Sanilac County received up to 12 inches.
A mid-month storm in 2001 brought strong winds to Lower Michigan. The Detroit area observed gusts of 40 and 50 mph as the storm brought the most rain in a day for the month with nearly 2.30 inches.
A third powerful storm hit the area in just a week and a half during Nov. 2005. The cold front pushed through during the evening, leading to another period of strong winds, occurring through the early morning hours of Nov. 16. Southwest winds were sustained at 25 to 35 mph, gusting to around 50 mph, with the exception Huron County, where wind gusts estimated near 60 mph. Trees were downed along the lakeshore from Caseville to Grindstone City. Heavy rains also occurred across the region, and the combination of winds and rain led to property damage estimated at 7.2 million dollars. One man was killed (indirect) and another injured (indirect) in a vehicle collision caused by a tree that had fallen into the road in Northern Oakland County due to the strong gusty winds.