“No lake master can recall in all his experience a storm of such unprecedented violence with such rapid changes in the direction of the wind and its gusts of such fearful speed! Storms ordinarily of that velocity do not last over four or five hours, but this storm raged for sixteen hours continuously at an average velocity of sixty miles per hour, with frequent spurts of seventy and over.
Obviously, with a wind of such long duration, the seas that were made were such that the lakes are not ordinarily acquainted with. The testimony of masters is that the waves were at least 35 feet high and followed each other in quick succession, three waves ordinarily coming one right after the other.
~Report from the Lake Carriers Association in the wake of the Great Lakes “White Hurricane”
97 years ago the Great Lakes region reeled under the deadliest storm in its history. Known as the “Big Blow” and the “Freshwater Fury”, was a blizzard with hurricane-force winds that devastated the Great Lakes Basin in the Midwestern United States and the Canadian province of Ontario from November 7 through November 10, 1913. The report above comes from an excellent article on the weather science behind the 1913 storm from NOAA Weather Historian William R. Deedler. You can also read about the storm on Wikipedia and check out Freshwater Fury on Absolute Michigan that includes some videos about the storm and a slideshow of the damage it wrought.