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Anatomy of the storm on the Great Lakes Nov. 1913

On Friday, Nov. 7, 1913, a blast of frigid Arctic air, accompanied by low barometric pressure, swept into the Great Lakes from Canada. At the same time a weak low-pressure system was tracking eastward from the southeastern United States, setting the stage for the tragic events to come.

All 22 hands aboard the L.C. Waldo, grounded on Gull Rock in Lake Superior, were rescued (note the ice in the rigging).

By Saturday, temperatures had plummeted into single digits with the arrival of the cold front. Winds on the Great Lakes increased to more than 50 mph. Wave heights built. On Sunday, the low from the Southeast intensified and merged with the Arctic front, drawing in moist air from the Atlantic and mixing it with the cold air from Canada. The result was a snow-making weather system that immobilized cities from Port Huron, Mich., to Cleveland.

The full fury of the storm hit the region Sunday night. At its height, the storm’s central barometric pressure reached a low of 28.60 inches, or the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane. A wind gust of 79 mph was recorded in Cleveland.

See related article:

- Deadly "White Hurricane," 100 years later

November 2013 issue