The white hurricane, heavy snow and record heat 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. 9.
The wood schooner Lafrinier, while carrying coal in 1886, struck Hog Island Shoal in the Beaver Islands in Lake Michigan in a gale and was wrecked. Her crew suffered great hardship before their rescue. Stripped on the eleventh and pounded to pieces soon after, a total loss of about 15,000 dollars.
In 1890, the wood schooner Jessie, while carrying supplies, stranded and went to pieces during a gale. She was bound for a Les Cheneaux Islands lumber camp on the east end of Bois Blanc Island in the Straits of Mackinac in Lake Huron.
A massive storm that became known as The White Hurricane sank numerous ships on the Great Lakes and caused millions of dollars in damage across Michigan in 1913. This storm was one of the deadliest and most destructive natural disasters to hit the Great Lakes. No other Great Lakes storm even begins to compare in modern history with its death toll of more than 250 people while wrecking 19 ships and stranding 19 others. The financial loss in vessels alone was nearly five million dollars, or about 100 million dollars at current value. Lost cargo, such as coal, iron ore, and grain was estimated at over 68,000 tons. The ore carrier Henry B. Smith was loaded with ore at the Marquette ore dock despite the gale. The captain was in a hurry and left to go to the Sault as winds were easing. The crew was frantically rushing to finish battening down the hatches as the Smith left Marquette and then the gale came back up. The Smith was seen from the shore in the huge waves and then lost sight of in a blinding snow squall. The boat sank in the gale with all 25 crew members and the exact location of the wreck is still to be determined. Some wreckage from the boat washed up on shore on the beach nine miles east of Marquette with an oar found, a pike pole and a piece of the deck house. For more on this powerful storm see: Remembering the November 1913 “White Hurricane” and The “White Hurricane” Storm of November 1913.
In 1975, the Wilfred Sykes and the Edmund Fitzgerald were both loading iron ore taconite pellets in Superior Wisconsin that morning. The Wilfred Sykes made the decision to take the northern longer route to transport ore which involved going north of Isle Royale because the captain didn’t like what he saw in the weather charts and also from the advice of a private weather company that also saw a big northeast gale looming. The Edmund Fitzgerald sailed in the primary shipping lane and was joined by the Arthur M. Anderson, who had pulled out of Two Harbors, Minnesota. The wind had just started to pick up in western Lake Superior and was gusting to 50 knots in a northeast gale with building waves by midnight. The Wilfred Sykes had ducked behind Isle Royale and encountered huge waves as well with the waves clearing the bow and washing the pilothouse windows.
Several Michigan cities observe record warm temperatures on this day in 1999. These records include Lansing 73 degrees, Houghton Lake 69 degrees, Alpena 75 degrees, Detroit 75 degrees, Flint 73 degrees, Marquette 73 degrees, and Sault Ste. Marie 67 degrees.
In 2005, a few ten-inch diameter spruce trees were downed three miles west-southwest of Eagle Harbor. An intense low pressure system moving across northern Lake Superior generated damaging winds over northwest Upper Michigan on November ninth. The following reports highlighted the event. A 100-foot U.S. Coast Guard tower is blown down in Keweenaw County. The antenna for tower was also damaged. Total replacement cost for the tower and antenna was estimated at 150,000 dollars by the U.S. Coast Guard. Several ten-inch diameter trees downed one mile north of Jacobsville in Houghton County. A wind gust was measured at 58 mph by a trained spotter in Ontonagon. Maximum wind gust measured at 66 mph by the Houghton County Airport Automated Surface Observing System. Several trees downed four miles southeast of Ontonagon. Three eight to 12 inch diameter trees were uprooted in Keweenaw Bay in Baraga County. A few ten-inch diameter spruce trees were downed three miles west-southwest of Eagle Harbor. Numerous trees downed along the waterfront from Whitefish Bay to the middle portion of the St Mary’s River in Chippewa County. Very gusty west to northwest winds downed a number of trees and some power lines, especially in the shoreline counties along Lakes Superior and Michigan.
A moisture-laden low pressure system moving from the mid-Mississippi Valley into the Great Lakes region dropped heavy snow over portions of west and north central Upper Michigan from the ninth into the tenth of 2011. Eight inches of snow fell in Sundell over an 11-hour period. Around six inches of snow fell in a 24-hour period from Redridge to the Houghton-Hancock area. The wet heavy snow and over 30 mph northerly wind gusts resulted in nine power outages in the Houghton area that affected more than 3,500 residences. The observer near Herman measured 13.1 inches of snow in 18 hours. The wet snow caused numerous minor accidents, sporadic power outages and some tree damage. Seven to eight inches of snow fell in less than 24 hours near Wakefield and Watersmeet. An estimated six inches of snow fell in less than 12 hours in Iron Mountain. The combination of wet snow and north wind gusts to 30 mph caused numerous minor accidents and power outages across the area. The National Weather Service in Negaunee Township measured 12.2 inches of wet heavy snow in less than 24 hours while the Ishpeming area measured around 10 inches. In addition to numerous minor accidents, the combination of wet snow and north wind gusts to 35 mph caused power outages and sporadic tree damage throughout Marquette County. The storm closed schools in Ishpeming, Negaunee and Marquette on the tenth.