The Great Lakes Storm of 1913, historically referred to as the "Big Blow,"[A] the "Freshwater Fury," or the "White Hurricane," was a blizzard with hurricane-force winds that devastated the Great Lakes Basin in the Midwestern United States and Ontario, Canada from November 7 through November 10, 1913. The storm was most powerful on November 9, battering and overturning ships on four of the five Great Lakes, particularly Lake Huron. Deceptive lulls in the storm and the slow pace of weather reports contributed to the storm's destructiveness.
The Charles S Price was built in 1910 at Lorain, Ohio. A steel bulk freighter, measuring 524 x 54 by Mahoning Steamship Co. 6,322 tons gross. Officially the Price was listed as lost in Lake Huron, approximately 8 miles north of Port Huron, with all hands, 27 men and 1 woman. Capt. W. M Black, Chief Eng. John Groundwader. Its cargo was listed as coal.
The deadliest and most destructive natural disaster to hit the lakes in recorded history, the Great Lakes Storm killed more than 250 people, destroyed 19 ships, and stranded 19 others. The financial loss in vessels alone was nearly US $5 million (or about $126,751,000 in today's dollars). This included about $1 million at current value in lost cargo totalling about 68,300 tons, such as coal, iron ore, and grain.
Image: The Huronic aground on Lucille Island in Lake Superior, probably from the Great Lakes Storm of 1913. Source image in the Manitowoc Maritime Museum
The storm, an extratropical cyclone, originated as the convergence of two major storm fronts, fueled by the lakes' relatively warm waters—a seasonal process called a "November gale". It produced 90 mph (140 km/h) wind gusts, waves over 35 feet (11 m) high, and whiteout snowsqualls. Analysis of the storm and its impact on humans, engineering structures, and the landscape led to better forecasting and faster responses to storm warnings, stronger construction (especially of marine vessels), and improved preparedness.