News and views, and history and humor, about the lake I love.

"I can hear my granddad's stories of the storms out on Lake Erie, where vessels and cargos and fortunes, and sailors' lives were lost." ~ James Taylor, Millworker

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Freighters were no match for 1907 Lake Erie storm

I have this old postcard showing large lake freighters washed ashore during a storm on Lake in January of 1907 near Buffalo. I wanted to find out more about this storm that had unleashed so much fury so I did some google searching and found the following here:
On January 20, 1907, gale force winds swept Lake Erie. The winds were clocked in access of eighty-four miles per hour. For twenty-four hours, the winds whipped the inland sea into a frothy mix of foam and spray. When the storm had finished spewing its contents over the Niagara Frontier, it ended, retreating to the icy waters from which it had sprung. In its wake, the storm left the Buffalo harbor and port with a million dollars in damage. The beach of the Life Saving Station was littered with debris and stranded ships. Two huge lake ships, the Hurlburt W. Smith and the William Nottingham were stranded on the sandy shores. In the process, the Nottingham smashed into the hull of the Smith, sustaining major damage. Three people died in the collapse of buildings and one life was lost when drowned in the angry lake storm.
I wonder: what kind of damage that kind of storm would cause today?

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