Storm Damage, Ferndale Michigan, photo courtesy DTE Energy
The Detroit Free Press reports that millions of people in Michigan lost power in yesterday’s crazy winds and many are still without power:
A barrage of high winds Wednesday cut power to a record 700,000 DTE Energy customers and 290,000 customers of Consumers Energy across southeast and south-central Michigan, utility officials said.
A number of customers had been restored by about 10 p.m., bringing DTE’s outage number down to about 650,000 and Consumers’ down to 210,000.
…The total number of customers equates to an even higher number of people because the utilities’ term “customer” refers to electric meters, not individuals. “During the height of the storm, we were seeing 1,000 customer outages a minute,” said Randi Berris, a communications manager for DTE Energy.
As utility crews from Michigan began 16-hour shifts, and crews from four other states were due to arrive around dawn Thursday, families in the dark faced forecasts of possible snow and sliding temperatures for southeast Michigan, with a low of 12 predicted in Detroit by early Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.
Across the region, as winds clocked as high as 68 m.p.h. at Metro Airport, the weather knocked down even more trees and power lines than usual because the ground, instead of being frozen at this time of year, was soft and super-saturated with this winter’s unusually heavy rains, DTE Energy said.
View DTE’s photo bigger on their Facebook and thanks to the crews from both companies and elsewhere for their hard work – stay warm everyone!
I’ve featured the worst storm in Great Lakes history before, but ThumbWind has a cool feature on The Great Storm of 1913 that includes some interesting information and photos. It says in part:
…the most savage storm in the history of the Great Lakes swept the inland waters November 7-12, 1913 resulting in much greater loss of life. Combined of the forces of two storm fronts colliding with hurricane force bringing monstrous waves and driving snow and ice that doomed anyone caught out on the big lake. The greatest losses in lives and ships occurred on Lake Huron where 24 vessels were lost or severely damaged. 10 ships went to the bottom of the lake.
…On Lake Huron big freighters were tossed about by winds blowing from seventy-five to eighty miles an hour. One of these steamers was the Charles S. Price which received more space on the front pages of newspapers than any other ship. On Saturday morning, the Price, laden with soft coal, left Ashtabula, Ohio. When the freighter passed the town of St. Clair before dawn on Sunday morning, November 9, Second Mate Howard Mackley gave a short blast of the whistle as a signal to his young bride that he was passing and in reply she turned on an upstairs light in their home. By dawn the Price was making its way up Lake Huron. About noon Sunday the Price was seen north of Harbor Beach by Capt. A. C. May of the Steamer H. B. Hawgood.
On Monday afternoon a big steel freighter was seen floating upside down in the lake about eight miles north and east of the mouth of Lake Huron. Many people were anxious to learn the name of the steamer, although it was generally believed to be the Regina. On Wednesday morning an attempt was made to find out the identity of the vessel, however, owing to the high sea the diver did not make his descent. Lake Huron kept its awful secret for almost a week. It was not until Saturday morning, November 15, that William H. Baker, a diver from Detroit, solved the mystery. When he went down he read the name of the steamer twice and the letters spelled out Charles S. Price. The forward part of the bottom of the ship was buoyed up by air that was held in her when she turned turtle, but two streams of bubbles were coming out of the bow which meant that she would settle gradually. On Monday morning, November 17, the Price disappeared from view.
Read on for much more and follow Thumbwind on Facebook too!
More Michigan shipwrecks on Michigan in Pictures.
Fury Approaches, photo by Jamie MacDonald
View Jamie’s photo from Kirk Park Beach in West Olive bigger, see more in his Stormy Weather slideshow, and visit jmacdonaldphoto.com for more of his work.
California Dreamin’, photo by Snap Happy Gal Photography
Heather of Snap Happy Gal Photography was one of many photographers who made the trek to Grand Haven for a weekend storm that was supposed to produce massive waves. While Heather says she didn’t see anything quite as big as the the 20-footers forecast, the lake was still putting on a rocking show!
Often when I post a photo like this, I get some blowback from a reader or two who thinks that pictures like this aren’t OK because someone might somehow get hurt. Heather’s thoughts mirror my own on this:
So this guy – with his superior swimming ability, experience and thick wetsuit (with gloves, booties, and full hood + helmet) is crazy. Who would ever put their life in such danger?
Oh – all of us. All the time. Like when I drove in a metal box at 75mph on my way to take photos of this guy.
View this bigger and definitely follow Snap Happy Gal on Facebook for more!
More Michigan surfing shots on Michigan in Pictures!
A Force of Nature, photo by Dale DeVries
Dale took this photo of the Grand Haven Lighthouse yesterday and writes:
. . . Rita, . . . Sandy . . . Lake Michigan! Like the Weather Channel commercial, this lake which is only 60-80 miles across makes some of the best Gales of November! Grand Haven was busier than a summer’s day today, kind of disappointed I could not get a Pronto Pup or a Dairy Treat!
View his photo background bigilicious and see more in his The Best of West Lake slideshow.
PS: Heres’ the strongest storm on the Great Lakes – October 2010. (also at Grand Haven Light)
And they call this a Lake, photo by RJE
The Detroit Free Press reports that massive waves of up to 20 feet in height are forecast for Lake Michigan:
An intense low pressure system is still projected to slam into the western Great Lakes on Wednesday night.
The main hazard with this storm will be incredibly strong winds in excess to 45 m.p.h. at times. This will cause numerous issues, including downed trees and the potential for power outages.
In addition to impacts on land, Lake Michigan will also suffer the wrath of this strong fall storm, where waves could reach as high as 20 feet offshore. A gale watch has been issued by the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids for the Lakeshore and will be in effect from Wednesday evening through Friday afternoon.
NOAA’s Great Lakes Coastal Forecasting System has a ton of resources for visualizing live data and forecasts for all of the Great Lakes. Be sure to check out the animation of forecasted wave heights on Lake Michigan – pretty cool to watch. In case you’re wondering, the tallest (recorded) wave on Lake Michigan is 23′ from September of 2011. Of course the bouys shut down for the winter in December, and they only started measuring in 1988.
Also check out the Grand Haven Surfcam for a live look!
RJE caught this massive wave breaking against the Ludington lighthouse back in November of 2011. View the photo of big as Lake Michigan and see more of his great photos of Ludington on Flickr!
More Michigan lighthouses, more waves and more about the Ludington North Breakwater Light can all be found on Michigan in Pictures.
Road Closed in Glen Arbor, photo via the Glen Arbor Sun
One more day of storm reporting from my neck of the woods…
In Glen Arbor Hit By Knockout Storm, Jacob Wheeler of the Glen Arbor Sun lays out a diary of the destruction of the storm and wrote:
In the storm’s wake yesterday, Glen Arbor residents immediately recognized that the destruction they witnessed was unprecedented for our town. This was worse than the 1987 storm, people said. In fact, it was far worse. The storm was more powerful and more destructive than any other Glen Arbor storm ever recorded. And now we have stats to prove it.
I spoke late this afternoon to Jeff Lutz, meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Gaylord. While Lutz clarified that yesterday’s storm was not a tornado (you can blame some of the hyperbole on this newspaper) he did confirm that the straight-line winds which accompanied the sudden thunderstorm reached speeds of 100 miles per hour. That’s strong enough to be called a tornado. More significantly, it blows away the previous wind velocity record for Leelanau County. According to the NWS, on Sept. 13, 2005, a barrage of wind traveling at 63 miles per hour hit Leland and Empire, but not Glen Arbor. But 63 is not 100. Not even close. Nope, yesterday’s storm was the strongest to ever hit Leelanau County, since records were kept starting in 1950.
You can click through to the Sun for more pics and storm coverage and get even more on their Facebook. Jacob also shared the National Weather Service’s Aug. 2 severe weather recap:
- Multiple rounds of severe weather impacted northern Michigan on August 2nd, 2015. The first severe thunderstorm warning was issued 10:34 am with an additional 27 warnings being issued before the last warning of the day expired at 8:00 pm.
- The largest hail reported was 4.25″, or the size of a softball, seven miles north of West Branch at 4:55 pm. The large hail was reported by trained spotters and members of the public. There were several reports of damage to vehicles and other property. At the time of the event, a Severe Thunderstorm Warning was in effect for all of Ogemaw County, issued at 4:33 pm. Additional reports of 1.00″ to 2.00″ hail were received from law enforcement, emergency managers, trained spotters and the public across multiple locations in northern Michigan.
- The 4.25″ hail observed seven miles north of West Branch was the largest documented hail stone ever to impact northern Michigan since records began in 1950 and the largest since 1998 when a 3.50″ hail stone was recorded in Arenac County.
- Hundreds of downed trees and power lines were reported on Sunday as 60-80 mph (locally 90-100 mph) straight-line winds accompanied the severe thunderstorms.
Lots more at that link including some pics of that hail.