- - "a tropical cyclone with winds of 74 miles (119 kilometers) per hour or greater that occurs especially in the western Atlantic, that is usually accompanied by rain, thunder, and lightening, and that sometimes moves into temperate latitudes."
(per Merriam Webster)
"If you don't like the weather now, just wait a few minutes!" It's a common saying around the Great Lakes and frequently true. We see at least one wild storm rip through every year but, historically, it's the November storms that have brought the most destruction in terms of loss of life and vessels. Advances in communication, weather forecasting and a decrease in lake traffic have lessened the toll over the years but, even with all these improvements, the big freighters of today still proceed with caution when November arrives.
It doesn't matter whether you call it a hurricane, gale or witch. When dry, cold northern air collides with moist, warm air from the south, is fueled by warm lake water and stirred by the jet stream, a beautiful late fall day can turn into a frothing green nightmare in a hurry.
We won't attempt to detail every storm that has ever claimed a life or vessel on the Great Lakes but, instead, will give you information about the most historically notable storms that occurred. Not all of our black ribbons are active yet but you can find the active ones by hovering over them.