White Hurricane: A Great Lakes November Gale and America's Deadliest Maritime Disasterby David G. Brown
Some people called it “the Big Blow”; others, “the Freshwater Fury” or “the White Hurricane”; but whatever its name, the horrific blizzard that devastated the Great Lakes region in November 1913 seemed to have burst straight out of hell. The most deadly and destructive natural disaster ever to hit the lakes struck with hurricane… See more details below
Some people called it “the Big Blow”; others, “the Freshwater Fury” or “the White Hurricane”; but whatever its name, the horrific blizzard that devastated the Great Lakes region in November 1913 seemed to have burst straight out of hell. The most deadly and destructive natural disaster ever to hit the lakes struck with hurricane force winds, pummeling hundreds of towns with savage snowstorms and tossing 500-foot ships as if they were bath toys.
Veteran Great Lakes mariner and nautical author David G. Brown has penned the definitive history of this four-day catastrophe and its far-reaching aftermath. His powerful narrative captures the human drama of this deadly Midwestern perfect storm. There are numerous unforgettable stories: Running out of lake, a nervous teenage sailor disobeys his captain’s orders and beaches a 414-foot straight decker, saving ship and crew A small passenger steamer spends forty-nine hours buffeted perilously by the winds before its crew manages to secure a single mooring line to a tree Two Cleveland dairymen brave driving snow and an oncoming locomotive to make emergency milk deliveries.
But all the stories are not so happy: Under a ship owner’s ultimatum, a heavily-weighted Lake Superior cargo transport departs into the heart of the blizzardand is never seen again People onshore listen helplessly as ship emergency bells sound in the distance, then become silent in the tumult . On the deck of one ship, Brown writes, men were found frozen where they died, incased in ice so thick that it had to be chipped away. With firsthand accounts and contemporary news reports, he chronicles the destruction of this unprecedented storm: twelve ships lost and at least 248 sailors perished.
Brown’s White Hurricane is even more riveting than his well-received book The Last Log of the Titanic. In these pages, he cuts through the hundred mile winds and fifty-foot waves to render the story of humans struggling for survival.
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