Armistice Day Blizzards, yesterday & today

Super Storm on Superior

Super Storm on Superior, photo by Cory Genovese

74 years ago today on November 11, 1940, Michigan got blasted by one of the most severe November storms on record, the Armistice Day Blizzard. The Michigan Historical Marker in Ludington regarding the Armistice Day Blizzard says:

On November 11, 1940, a severe storm swept the Great Lakes area. As it crossed Lake Michigan, ships and seamen fought to reach safety away from its blinding winds and towering seas. Between Big and Little Points Sable the freighters William B. Davock and Anna C. Minch foundered with the loss of all hands. The crew of the Novadoc, driven aground south of Pentwater, battled icy winds and water for two days before being rescued by local fishermen. At Ludington the car-ferry City of Flint 32 was driven ashore, her holds flooded to prevent further damage. Elsewhere lives were lost and ships damaged in one of Lake Michigan’s greatest storms.

Also see the entry on the Armistice Day Blizzard at carferries.com. Wikipedia’s entry for the Armistice Day Blizzard adds that 66 people lost their lives on Lake Michigan on three freighters, the SS Anna C. Minch, the SS Novadoc, and the SS William B. Davock, as well as two smaller boats that sank and (at least) another 4 perished on land. There was one positive outcome though:

Prior to this event, all of the weather forecasts for the region originated in Chicago. After the failure to provide an accurate forecast for this blizzard, forecasting responsibilities were expanded to include 24-hour coverage and more forecasting offices were created, yielding more accurate local forecasts.

While it’s nothing like what happened in 1940, the Upper Peninsula is currently under a winter storm warning and looking at 8-16″ of snow today as an early season blizzard barrels through.

Cory took this shot on Lake Superior during the most severe late fall storm in recent times, Superstorm Sandy. View it bigger and see a lot more in his U.P. Winter ’12 & ’13 Gallery on his PhotoYoop page at Facebook.

More wild Michigan weather on Michigan in Pictures!

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