Lake effect snow squalls, deadly shipwrecks, and a cold wave top the list of Michigan weather events on this day in history. From the National Weather Service archives here are the events that happened on November 22.
1860 – The wood schooner Circassian, while carrying grain, stranded in a gale and blizzard and sunk to her decks at White Shoals near Beaver Island in Lake Michigan, where she broke in two. She was almost completely broken up by Dec 1. Her crew was presumed lost, but actually had made it to Hog Island in a blizzard and was not rescued from there until almost 2 weeks later.
1866 – Seven inches of snow piles up in Lansing as temperatures plunge to the single digits.
1868 – The wood schooner, 2-mast Muskingum, while carrying 445 tons of coal, was bound Cleveland for Chicago, when she ran ashore at Bois Blanc Island, MI in the Straits of Mackinac in Lake Huron after the shifting of her anchor chain from forward to aft threw her compass off and she went ashore in the gale. She was reportedly broken up beyond saving by the next day.
1869 – The wood bark, 3-mast Cream City, while carrying wheat, lost her way in a gale and went ashore on Drummond Island 6 miles east of Detour in Lake Huron. She appeared to be only slightly damaged, but several large pumps were unable to lower the water in her hull. Abandoned as a total wreck on Dec 8.
1880 – There was an exceptionally early cold wave in Detroit, which commenced on the 18th and lasted 6 days, all with record lows. The coldest reading was 0° on the 22nd. This resulted from an arctic high pressure measuring near 31.00″ over Ohio.
1891 – The wood, bulk freight Samuel Mather, while carrying 58,000 bushels of wheat, collided with the upbound package freighter Brazil in drizzly rain and sank in the early morning. Brazil picked up her crew. She was a major loss of $176,000, going down in 300 feet of water 8 miles offshore Off Pt. Iroquois, Whitefish Bay in Lake Superior.
1895 – The wood, bulk freight “steambarge” Michael Groh, while carrying lumber, lost her rudder and became disabled, then storm water doused her fires. Helpless, she was driven ashore and destroyed at Pictured Rocks, near Munising, MI in Lake Superior during a gale. Heavily pounded and pushed into deep water on the 29th. Downbound. Lifesaving Service was able to remove most of her cargo. In a separate incident further east, the wood, bulk freight Missoula, while carrying wheat, rode up on a big wave during a gale and broke her shaft when she came back down. Helpless, she was overwhelmed after drifting for a full day. Her crew abandoned her for the open lake, and they drifted 30 miles in the lifeboat before making landfall on the south shore of Caribou Island in Lake Superior.
1902 – The steel, bulk freighter Bannockburn, while carrying 95,000 bushels of wheat, sailed out from Ft. William, Ontario into a gale and was never seen again and sank in mid-lake Lake Superior taking all 21 members of her crew with her. One of her lifeboats was later found ashore. She was considered to be of the absolute highest quality construction available. Her loss is one of the big mysteries of Lake Superior. For many years, sailors claimed to see her running without lights on stormy nights, looking in vain for some safe port.
1909 – 2.59″ of precipitation fell in Detroit. This is the record maximum precipitation for the month of November in Detroit. Record daily rain also falls in West Michigan with 1.2” at Muskegon and 1.4” in Lansing.
1917 – The wood tug Alberta, while carrying 4-5 tons herring, foundered in a storm in Thunder Bay, Ontario in Lake Superior.
1919 – The wood, bulk freight “lumber hooker” Myron, while carrying lumber, was towing the schooner-barge Miztec when the Myron began to leak in a terrific northwest gale. Her crew cut the barge loose and prepared to abandon, but seas were too high. Despite steamer Adriatic trying to block the weather and 3 attempts by the Lifesaving Service, Myron foundered with all still on board 1.5 miles off Whitefish Point in Lake Superior. Only one survived out of the 18 crewmembers.
1963 – President John Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Texas. The weather in Lower Michigan is unusually warm with morning lows around 50 degrees and afternoon highs in the 60s. On this day Grand Rapids sees a record warm morning low of 49° which was busted in 2010 with a reading of 55°. Muskegon sees a record of 51°. The month ends up being one of the warmest Novembers on record.
1979 – The steel, bulk freighter Frontenac grounded on a reef near Pellet Island, MN in Lake Superior with heavy damage during a gale. Assessed and considered to be a constructive total loss. Later towed to Superior, WI, where she sat until scrapped in 1985.
2000 – Low pressure tracked from Iowa to the Straits of Mackinac. Snow began falling on the 19th as the low approached Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, mixing with rain across the southern counties. As the low passed to the east on the 20th, northeast winds flowing across the still relatively warm waters of Lake Superior produced lake effect snow squalls which persisted into the 22nd over Alger County. The greatest portion of the snowfall occurred overnight on the 19th and during the day on the 20th with lesser amounts on the 21st and still more on the 22nd in Alger County. Snowfall reports on the morning of the 20th included 12 inches at Ironwood, with another 7 inches reported on the morning of the 21st. Nine inches fell at Rockland with another 5 inches the next day. Bergland reported 9 inches plus an additional 7 inches reported the next morning. On the 20th, 10 inches fell in Phoenix and Herman, 11 in Baraga, 13 inches at Watton, 14 in Ishpeming, 17 in Gwinn and at the National Weather Service Office in Negaunee. Chatham and Shingleton recorded 17 inches from the 19th to the 22nd. Munising received 19 inches during the same period, and Wetmore reported 14 inches. The snowfall total from the 19th to the 22nd reached 23 inches in Melstrand. Most of the schools in the Lake Superior snowbelt were closed and some businesses as well. State and County snowplow drivers worked overtime to keep roads cleared.