Multiple shipwrecks, heavy fog, a blizzard, and record cold 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 7.
1867 – The wood schooner Hanover was reported ashore and total loss near Strawberry Reef near Fish Creek, WI in the bay of Green Bay during a gale. She was stripped and abandoned the day after stranding. The reef at the site is still named “Hanover Shoal”.
1868 – The wood schooner Walrus, while carrying 16,500 bushels of barley, was bound Chicago for Oswego, when she ran on Gray’s Reef in a heavy fog, was holed and sank in an exposed position at Gray’s Reef, northwest of Beaver Islands in Lake Michigan. She was broken up by wave action within a few days.
1873 – The wood schooner-barge Bessie Smith was carrying 1500 tons of iron ore. Soon after leaving Escanaba, her tow steamer J. Kelley became disabled, and the Smith raised her sails and towed the steamer back in. She then struck off on her own, but was overtaken by a storm. Picked up by the steamer Annie Young, she soon broke loose and was driven ashore at Beaver Island in Lake Michigan. Wreckers put the largest available pumps aboard to try to pump her out, but to no avail. As of the end of the season she was still on the beach. Usual consort of the steamer J. Kelley.
1874 – The wood steam tug J.C. Keyes was torn from her dock during a gale in Duluth, MN and driven on the beach and wrecked. It was thought she could be salvaged, but she was finally given up in 1880.
1877 – Record cold freezes Lower Michigan following a heavy snowfall of 6 inches in Lansing on November 5th. At Lansing the temperature plunges to 4° on the 5th and 6th and 8° on this day.
1885 – The luxury steel railway steamer Algoma was thought to be one of the sturdiest ships afloat, but she was blown aground, broken in two and destroyed by a gale at Greenstone Island near Isle Royale. Later she was pushed off the rocks and sunk. Bound Owen Sound for Port Arthur, Ont. Owned by Canadian Pacific Railway. 37 to 48 passengers perished.
1886 – The wood schooner Detroit, while carrying iron ore, was bound Escanaba for Cleveland, when she was driven on a reef by a gale and wrecked. Abandoned as a total loss. Place of wreck is in contention with sources saying either near Summer Island, Death’s Door in Lake Michigan or another source says she was wrecked on Skillagallee Reef 75 miles further east in Lake Michigan.
1892 – The wood schooner-barge, 3-mast, bulk freight G.M. Neelon broke from the tow of the steamer S.L. Tilley and struck the rocks in heavy seas at Gull Rock on the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula in Lake Superior. She was abandoned to her underwriters, but was recovered by wrecker J.H. Gillett in November of 1893.
1913 – The ore carrier L.C. Waldo loaded ore at Two Harbors and was headed northeast when they were hit by a northerly gale. About midnight, a huge wave slammed into the ship and ripped off the pilothouse nearly killing the captain. The ship had the steering gear severely damaged and the electrical system was gone. The huge waves continued to pummel the ship and the ship was sailing blind in a blizzard. Waves broke into the cabin housing the crew and they narrowly escaped being washed overboard. The captain hoped to make the east side of the Keweenaw to seek shelter.
1914 – The wood schooner, 3-mast, lumber Resumption, while carrying lumber, struck bottom and settled in a gale off Plum Island, Death’s Door, WI in Lake Michigan, then was pounded to pieces, despite the combined efforts of six steamers to save her.
1918 – The steel, bulk freighter Chester A. Congdon, while carrying wheat, went aground in fog at Canoe Rocks, Isle Royale in Lake Superior. This was thought to be an easy salvage job, but a gale which followed, tore her to pieces and pushed her into deep water before she could be released. This was the largest vessel lost on the lakes up to that time.
1921 – The wood schooner, 3-mast Mary E. McLachlan foundered in a gale at Nipigon Bay (also shown as “Mountain Bay”) in Lake Superior. Some sources say 23 people perished.
1951 – A snowstorm that started on November 6 came to an end across Michigan. The storm left Grand Rapids with 14.0 inches, Saginaw with 12.7 inches of snow, Flint 13.4 inches, and Detroit 5.6 inches. This storm was the 5th heaviest snowstorm in Flint history, and the 14th heaviest for Saginaw.
1975 – Warm weather continued with a record high minimum temperature of 54° and record rainfall of 0.84 inch at Weather Forecast Office in Marquette.
1991 – Another stretch of record lows occurred across Michigan. Detroit sees records on the 7th with 20°, the 8th with 14° and on the 9th with 18°. Saginaw also had a three day streak from the 7th-9th with 16°, 14°, and 16° respectively. Flint had a 2-day streak from the 8-9th with temperatures of 12°, and 14° respectively. Grand Rapids has just two days with 14° on the 7th and 16° on the 8th. Muskegon sets a record low on this day with 21°. Lansing sees records on the 8th and 9th with 11° and 12° respectively. The cold weather in Marquette was from the 4th to the 8th with 6°, 5°, 6°, 2° and 5° respectively. Sault Ste. Marie observes a record of 10° on the 6th and 7° on the 8th.