Honouring The Lost Souls & Ships Of The Great Lakes Storm Of 1913

Photo of Capt. Bud Robinson's artwork courtesy of the current owners of the original painting Keith and Joanne Holman of Goderich Ontario.

The "Great Storm" of 1913

Honoring the lost souls and ships of The Great Storm of 1913.

The "Great Storm" occurred on The Great Lakes November 8th, 9th and 10th 1913.
November 9th, 1913 being the "White Hurricane" Event.
12 ships Lost with all hands. Estimated 240 + souls lost their lives.

Great Lakes

On November 8th 1913, two low pressure systems were coming together to form an unprecedented weather event that would occur over the next two days.

Weather prediction back in that time frame was not what it is today.

Lake Superior was first to feel the effects, then Lake Michigan. The greatest wrath however was felt on Lake Huron November 9th and 10th with 16 hrs. of sustained hurricane force winds with plunging temperatures and full blizzard conditions.

Gale warnings were posted by this time and before the "Big Blow" the barometer was actually on the rise.

Weather Map

Courtesy of Huron County Museum in Goderich. We have a photograph of the actual weather map 2000 hrs Nov 9th 1913.

Take Note of the High Pressure system above the Maritimes that is pushing back against this monster low pressure system.

You can actually see the isobars pressing backward in the NE corner. As a result, The Low pressure system continues to march Eastward with nowhere to go. The isobars inside the Low are piling up upon themselves directly over Lake Huron.

The result? 16 hours of 75mph winds. Blinding snow , mountainous seas and freezing spray for those ships caught in the storms path.

The Aftermath

Over 250 souls perished on board 12 ships lost with all hands.Two ships on Lake Superior, One ship on Lake Michigan, Eight ships on Lake Huron and 1 Ship on Lake Erie, lost with all hands.

Over the next week, due to the prevailing winds, bodies of the victims began to wash up on the eastern shore of Lake Huron between Port Franks and Southampton Ontario. Goderich being central to all of this area set up temporary morgues and a registration center to cope with the tragedy and to assist next of kin to find loved ones.

Other communities up and down the Lake Shore did similar efforts as well.