Waldo sought refuge behind the Keweenaw, lake effect snow squalls, 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. 8.
The nation’s brand new weather service issued its first storm forecast in 1870. This forecast was for the Great Lakes.
The wood, package freighter Laketon, while carrying lumber camp supplies in 1888, drove ashore in heavy weather during a gale five miles northeast of Grand Marais, Mich. in Lake Superior. The Lifesaving Service rescued her crew. Though reported as a total loss, the vessel later was saved as well.
In 1900, the wood schooner-barge, bulk freight A.C. Keating, was carrying pulpwood. Her tow steamer City Of New York developed engine trouble in a gale and left her at anchor with two other barges. She slipped her hold on the bottom and was driven on a rocky shore 25 miles above Whitefish Point at Coppermine Point, Ont. in Lake Superior, where she broke up.
In 1901, the wood schooner-barge, two mast Keweenaw was wrecked by a northerly gale blowing through the mouth of Grand Marais, Mich. harbor in Lake Superior. She was driven broadside on the beach and was later recovered, though she had been declared a total loss.
Either on November eighth or the fourteenth of 1906, the wood, bulk freight Strathmore, while carrying grain, was bound Ft. William for Kingston, when she struck bottom in a gale near Michipicoten Island in Lake Superior and sank. Later burned and still later was pushed by a storm from the shallows to deeper water. It was said she “had the habit of choosing her own course.”
In 1913, a severe snowstorm set in at Escanaba with heavy snow in Menominee accompanied by winds up to 70 mph and high waves on the bay of Green Bay. The tugboat Martin towing the barge Plymouth, left Menominee and Marinette in the afternoon bound for the Door Peninsula on the sixth. They ducked into the lee of St. Martin Island for protection from the southwest gale and stayed there through the seventh. The wind shifted to the northwest early in the morning on the eighth and forced them off their anchorage. The ensuing northwest gale made the tow difficult and the Martin began taking on water. The Martin cut the Plymouth free and then sought refuge on the south side of Summer Island. The Plymouth drifted helplessly and sank near Poverty Island with the loss of all nine on board, six of the crew from the Marinette and Menominee area. In another incident on the same day the ore carrier L.C. Waldo, while seeking refuge behind the Keweenaw in a northwest gale, rammed bow first into Gull Rock which split the carrier in two and broke the steam pipes in the engine room. The crew of 22 men and two women were stranded in the forward section of the steamer. They were rescued four days later as the lifesaving crew struggled to rescue them. The ship was declared a total loss, but was later recovered and rebuilt. After the L.C. Waldo wrecked on Gull Rock off the Keweenaw Peninsula, the steamer George Stephenson passed close to the wrecked boat but couldn’t make a rescue and anchored in Bete Gris Bay. They did send a crew member in a lifeboat to report the wreck of the Waldo and he waded through snow drifts and a blizzard eight miles to Delaware where he phoned the lighthouse at Eagle harbor to report the wreck which the news was relayed to the Eagle Harbor Lifesaving Station. They tried twice to attempt a rescue and couldn’t get far in their boats. Gale winds to 60 mph were reported on Lake Superior. Read more about the history of the L.C Waldo here: http://www.boatnerd.com/pictures/historic/perspectives/MohawkDeer/default.htm.
In another incident further up the lake, the steel, bulk freight, “three-island” Leafield, while carrying railroad rails and equipment, was overwhelmed by the huge storm [probably the most violent ever recorded on the lakes] and driven on the rocks 20 miles east of Thunder Bay, Ontario, near Angus Island in Lake Superior. Waves ripped up her bottom, then shoved her into deep water. All 18 crew members perished.
The wood, bulk freight Oscoda, while carrying lumber in 1914, was bound for Chicago with the barges A.C. Tuxbury and Alice B Norris, when she was struck by a gale. She released the barges and went on a reef near Epoufette, Mich. in Lake Michigan. The steamer and barge crews and bystanders ashore made a combined successful effort to remove Oscoda’s crew. She rolled off the bar and sank in a later storm. The barges were none the worse for wear.
In 1921, a record early season snowstorm buries Lower Michigan with over a foot of heavy, wet snow in some places. Lansing measures 18.9 inches for its greatest November snowfall on record.
On this day in 1931, the temperature rose to a record 72 degrees at Saginaw on the eighth, then on the ninth, the temperature rose to 74 degrees which was the warmest so late in the year for Saginaw. Alpena observes a record high of 69 degrees and Houghton Lake 72 degrees.
A vast flow of arctic air dominates the Midwest during early November, 1991. Several inches of snow fall from the second through the sixth followed by the passage of a cold dome of high pressure that sets record lows of 11 degrees at Lansing, 16 degrees at Grand Rapids, 14 degrees at Detroit, and 12 degrees at Flint on this date.
In 2003, a deep arctic airmass descending from central Canada moved over Lake Superior and Upper Michigan. Strong west winds pulling cold air across Lake Superior produced lake effect snow squalls over northeast Upper Michigan. Up to 10 inches of snow fell over parts of Luce County from around Pine Stump Junction to the Upper Tahquamenon Falls.