Deadly shipwrecks, golf ball size hail, and heavy snow 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. 17.
The wood schooner, two mast Leander was stranded during a gale and a total loss in 1857. She broke up on the beach near Gros Cap, Mich. on the west Straits of Mackinac in Lake Michigan a short time later. Another ship, the wood bark, three mast Oliver Lee, while carrying oats, was downbound when she was wrecked in a gale. She went ashore with Leander and two others and ended up near Old Mackinac Point, east of Mackinac Bridge site, in Lake Huron in the Straits of Mackinac. Reported to have gone to pieces on Dec. 1. Her remaining gear was stripped by the wrecking schooner C.J. Marshall in June of 1858.
In 1869, the wood brig, two mast Robert Burns, while carrying wheat, disappeared from view while in company of several other vessels and foundered in a gale east of Bois Blanc Island in Lake Huron in the Straits of Mackinac. All 10 crew members perished. In a seperate incident, the wood brig, two mast Racer, while carrying iron ore, was bound Marquette for Cleveland, when she stranded and broke up in a terrific gale in Hammond Bay, in the Straits of Mackinac in Lake Huron. Valued at about 13,000 dollars.
The wood schooner, three mast Thomas W. Ferry, while carrying 1,000 tons of iron ore in 1880, was driven ashore in a gale and stranded on the southwest corner of Beaver Island in the Beaver Islands in Lake Michigan. Sitting astride a large boulder, she hogged and was declared a total loss by Nov. 25.
In 1886, the wood schooner Florida, while carrying coal, was sheltering offshore during a gale when she slipped anchors and was driven against a dock at the mouth of Whetstone Brook, near Marquette, Mich. in Lake Superior where she was pounded to pieces. Her mate fell between the schooner and the rescue tug Gillett and was crushed and died. In a separate incident further west, the wood schooner, three mast Lucerne, while carrying iron ore, was outbound in a northeast gale, when she foundered with all hands in 40 feet of water off Chequamegon Point, near Ashland, Wis. in Lake Superior. Four crewmen were found frozen to her rigging, the others were never found. She was in tow of propeller Raleigh. All nine crew members perished.
The wood package freighter Arizona, carrying oils and acid in 1887, had her dangerous cargo catch fire as she approached the Marquette, Mich. harbor in a heavy sea. Poison fumes drove below-decks crew up, leaving her unmanageable. The steamer ran up against breakwater, and the crew jumped off. The burning steamer “chased” the crew down the breakwater, preceded by a plume of poisonous smoke. She finally went on the beach and burned herself out. None of the 23 crew members were killed.
In 1891, the wood schooner, three mast Newsboy, while carrying 54,000 tons of corn, was driven ashore on South Fisherman’s Shoal near Rock Island, Wis. in Lake Michigan by a northwest gale and was reported to have gone to pieces on Nov. 21. Her crew and two would-be lifesavers were stranded aboard until rescued on the nineteenth by the tug Monarch.
The wood, bulk freight Robert Wallace, while carrying iron ore in 1902, was downbound towing the like-laden barge Ashland in a gale. The wildly bucking barge tore the stern off the Wallace, causing her to swamp and sink southeast of Two Harbors, Minn. in Lake Superior. Ashland coasted in to take off the Wallace’s crew.
In 1906, the steel, bulk and package freight “saltie” Theano, while carrying steel rails, struck Marvin Island, was holed and sank in a gale. Storm waves later pushed her off into deep water near Trowbridge Island in Lake Superior. The crew escaped in her boats.
A vast area of arctic high pressure brings record cold to much of the continental United States in 1959. In Michigan records are set for low temperatures and chilly highs. Some of the records for the low temperatures include one degree below zero in Marquette, one degree above zero in Houghton Lake, four degrees in Sault Ste. Marie, seven degrees in Lansing 15 degrees in Detroit, and nine degrees in Flint, Grand Rapids and Muskegon. Highs temperatures also set records for frigid readings. Highs on this date include 20 degrees for Lansing and Alpena, 12 degrees at Marquette and 23 degrees in Flint, 18 degrees in Muskegon and 17 degrees in Sault Ste. Marie and Grand Rapids.
In 1963, severe thunderstorms impacted part of Michigan. Genesee County experienced golf ball size hail.
Grand Rapids picks up seven inches of snow on this day in 1989. This brought the accumulations during a three day storm to over a foot.
In 2005, behind a storm on the afternoon of the sixteenth into the morning of the seventeenth, lake effect snow showers in the Upper Peninsula dumped an additional 18 inches of snow in 12 hours at Rockland while Chatham in Alger County also measured 18 inches of new snow. Ten inches of lake effect snow fell at Wetmore in Alger County while Bruce Crossing in Ontonagon County received an additional nine inches of snow.