Deadly shipwrecks, record cold, heavy snow, and balmy weather 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. 29.
The wood, passenger & package freight Milwaukee, while carrying wheat in 1859, was bound Milwaukee for Buffalo, when she collided in the dark with the schooner J.H. Tiffany, which was carrying railroad rails and sank, as did the schooner five miles west of Gray’s Reef, Straits of Mackinac in Lake Michigan. Her crew took to the boats and both crews were picked up by the propeller Free State which witnessed the accident. Five crew members perished. The Tiffany tacked in front of the Milwaukee and was rammed near the bow. Her crew tried to run the wrecked schooner to Skillagallee, but she sank first. The crew scrambled up the mast, but half were lost. She had been bound Oswego for Chicago. Most of the Tiffany’s cargo was later salvaged.
In 1897, the wood, package and bulk freight Nahant, while carrying iron ore, caught fire while loading at ore dock No. 4 at Escanaba and both the dock and boat were destroyed. Firefighters were hampered by sub-zero temperatures and she burned to a total loss. Two of the three member crew perished.
The wood, bulk freight “lumber hooker” Charles Hebard, while carrying lumber in 1902, was downbound from West Superior, Wis., when she was driven ashore and wrecked on the rocks of Point Maimanse, Ont. in Lake Superior during a gale. She had released her tow barges Aloha, John A. Francomb and G.H. Warmington before the loss. Two crewmen made it to shore in a small skiff and jury-rigged a breech’s buoy and saved the rest. The Hebard was pounded to pieces where she sat.
In 1905, the steel, bulk freight Lafayette, while carrying light, was rammed from behind by her towbarge Manila in a terrific gale, when she was rendered helpless and thrown against the cliffs of Encampment Island, near Two Harbors, Minn. in Lake Superior. She broke in two, the front portion quickly going to pieces while the crew huddled in back part. Only the engine was salvaged from the almost-new steel ship. One crew member lost their life. Three other separate incidents occurred further northeast. The steel schooner-barge, bulk freight Madeira was cut loose from the tow of steamer William Edenborn, when she was blown ashore by a gale and broke up at Gold Rock Point, near Split Rock, Minn. in Lake Superior. The two had been bound for Duluth for iron ore. The crew was saved by the heroic actions of one crewman who jumped from the tossing ship to the rock cliff with a rope in hand, then tied it up to help bring the others ashore. Only one crew member out of the 11 perished. In another incident nearby, the steel self-unloading barge, bulk freight Maia was torn away from her tow steamer in a violent gale and cast ashore near Split Rock, Minn. in Lake Superior. Heavy damage caused her to be declared a total loss immediately, but she was later recovered. Another incident occurred nearby. The wood schooner-barge, bulk freight, two mast Amboy, while carrying coal, was in tow of steamer George Spencer, when she struggled against the gale for a full day before finally going ashore off Sugar Loaf Landing, Little Marais, Minn. in Lake Superior.
A month after the great stock market crash of 1929, it is the temperature that crashed in Lower Michigan. Record morning cold in the single digits is followed by afternoon highs only in the 10 to 15 degree range. Records for the date that still stand today include the following: Grand Rapids with a low of 6 degrees and a high of 11 degrees, Muskegon with a low of 5 degrees and a high of 15 degrees, Lansing with a high of 13 degrees, Alpena with a high of 13 degrees, Detroit Low 5 degrees and a high of 14 degrees, Flint observed a low of 1 degree and a high of 16 degrees, Houghton Lake saw a high of 13 degrees, and Sault Ste. Marie observed a low of negative 12 degrees.
This is the coldest temperature ever recorded during the month of November at Sault Ste. Marie and the coldest November high temperature ever recorded at Alpena and Grand Rapids.
A strong cold front moves through dropping temperatures dramatically and setting off lake effect snow showers on this day in 1960. The temperature stays in the 20s during the day at Muskegon, after a high of 61 degrees the day before. The freighter Francisco Morazan runs aground off South Manitou Island in northern Lake Michigan during a heavy lake effect snow squall. All aboard are rescued by the Coast Guard in near white-out conditions.
Cold air dominated this day for parts of the Upper Peninsula in 1976. A record low temperature of negative 13 degrees occurred at the Weather Forecast Office in Marquette.
Record November snow fell in 1989. According to the National Weather Summary and Storm Data, Sault Ste. Marie finished the month of November with a record 46.8 inches of snow.
In 1998, balmy weather prevails during the final days of November, with lows in the 50s and highs in the 60s. Record highs today include the 65 degrees at Muskegon, Lansing and Grand Rapids. Houghton Lake observes a record high of 61 degrees, Marquette a record 55 degrees and Sault Ste. Marie a record 54 degrees. For record warm low temperatures, Grand Rapids sees 54 degrees, Muskegon 53 degrees, Lansing 55 degrees, Alpena 40 degrees, Houghton Lake 45 degrees Sault Ste. Marie 54 degrees and Marquette 55 degrees.
Heavy rain fell across much of Southeast Michigan in 2011. The rain changed to snow during the evening and early morning hours of November 30. Between 1.0 and 3.5 inches of precipitation fell which help make November 2011 and autumn 2011 the wettest on record for Detroit. This was just another round of heavy rain in 2011 which was the wettest in Detroit history and the 4th wettest in Flint history.