Hurricane Huron: September 11-15th, 1996

September 11, 2013

Massive Wave at Port Sanilac

September Storm: Port Sanilac, photo by StormchaserMike

Hurricanes in Michigan?? from NOAA looks at several hurricane force storms and has this to say about “Hurricane Huron”:

While this storm was not from remnants of a tropical system, its development over Lake Huron had many uncanny likenesses to tropical systems…

The first likeness was its timing, forming over the Great Lakes right at the height of the typical hurricane season, September 11-15th, 1996. What started as a typical core-cold 500 MB low pressure system evolved into a warm-core system as it settled over the relatively warm waters of the Great Lakes, in particular, Lake Huron. The low pressure system actually had moved past Lake Huron but then retrograded, or was “drawn back”, to the relatively warm waters of Lake Huron. (Similar to the tropics, the Great Lakes usually reach their warmest water temperatures late August into mid September.) The storm then deepened and intensified at the lower levels of the atmosphere compared to aloft, typical of a warm-core low. It is believed that the warm waters of Lake Huron and associated low level instability over the lake were, to a large extent, the major contributing factors in this storm’s evolution. The storm went on to form a broad cyclonic circulation, including the “spiral bands and eye”, typically seen in hurricanes! At one point, the cyclone produced tropical storm force winds (39 – 73 mph) and some of the spiral bands even had rainfall exceeding 10 cm (better than four inches), causing some flooding.

This “Hurroncane” reached its maximum intensity during the day on September 14th, when a central pressure of 29.34 inches (993 MB) was recorded in the late morning by a Lake Huron buoy that fortunately was positioned, at one point, in the “eye”. By 2 PM, that “eye” measured close to 20 miles across and had a ring of tall convective clouds surrounding it, strongly resembling that of an “eye wall”. The convective showers encircled the “eye” well out over 300 miles.

You can read on for more including a satellite photo of the distinctive storm, check out Wikipedia’s entry on the 1996 Lake Huron cyclone, or go straight to the very detailed academic paper on Hurricane Huron that this article draws from.

Check Mike’s photo out bigger and see more in his awesome September Gale on Lake Huron slideshow. Mike also has a cool video of the storm on YouTube!

More hurricane-like weather on Michigan in Pictures.

2 Responses to “Hurricane Huron: September 11-15th, 1996”

  1. l.lang@comcast.net Says:

    How can I get in contact with Stormchaser Mike?

  2. farlane Says:

    Follow the link through to flickr and post a comment or send him a mail through Flickr if you are a site user.


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