View Full Version : Ore Boats Seek Shelter on Superior

11-15-2005, 02:46 PM
If you've never seen a Great Lake it is one of life's must do's. From the Mining Journal:

MARQUETTE - For the second time this month, a storm-force gale chased merchant marine traffic off Lake Superior shipping lanes. Another storm expected Tuesday will likely do the same, forecasters said.

"Most of the boats were in or headed toward safe harbor when the storm hit," said Dave Guenther, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Negaunee Township. "We had several of them that stayed south of the St. Marys River. The Paul Tregurtha had 32 knot winds behind the shelter of Whitefish Point.

Forecasters are calling for 6 inches to 8 inches of wet, heavy snow for the higher elevations of Marquette County on Tuesday.

"Tuesday night we're expecting more significant accumulations, 6 to 8 inches over the Huron Mountains," Guenther said. "It should be a mix of rain and snow. How much is going to be rain and how much is going to be snow is not certain."

Early Sunday morning, ships reported winds gusting to 67 mph by the Apostle Islands. By Sunday evening, waves built to 27 feet north of Grand Marais. At Stannard Rock, gales up to 62 mph were reported.

The Oglebay Norton-owned steamer Reserve sat out the storm behind Marquette's Lower Harbor breakwater, where the waves only reached 5 feet - compared with 15-foot to 20-foot waves outside the harbor.

There was also plenty of activity on land Sunday. According to the state police, there were numerous instances of downed trees and weather-related power and traffic disruptions from Mackinac to Marquette counties.

"In the Marquette area, the power outages were scattered but not large in size due to trees falling across lines," Sgt. Kevin Dowling of the Negaunee Post said. "Things were mopped up as they happened."

At the Mackinac Bridge, winds gusting from 74 mph to 86 mph were recorded. On average, winds were blowing between 47 mph and 60 mph, bridge officials said. The route was closed to high profile vehicles for 12 hours - between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. - causing a small traffic jam of hunters and semi tractor-trailers.

"We were real popular with the northbound hunters last night," Sgt. Amy Pendergraff of the St. Ignace Post said sarcastically this morning. "But any high profile vehicles, including loaded pick-up trucks, RV's and semis, had to wait out the winds."

Smaller cars were allowed, although officials said one driver who panicked halfway across had to be escorted off the bridge. :eek: Pendergraff notes that many times small trailers will flip over from the winds which come from both across and underneath the 5-mile-long span. For motorists' concerns, officials close the route when winds reach heavy gusts.

Road crews were also busy on Interstate 75 near Sault Ste. Marie where fallen trees slowed traffic and along U.S. 2, where sand from nearby dunes moved across the roadway.

"Between Brevort and St. Ignace, road crews had to use scrapers to clear sand blowing and accumulating onto U.S. 2," Pendergraff said.

Dan Payne
11-15-2005, 08:33 PM
I spent my first 38 years there. Man, that story brings back memories; good and bad. The 1987 Chicago-Mackinaw race-the marina looked like a hospital waiting room. More that a few broken bones and a whole lot of broken boats. Lots of dismastings.

Dave Hadfield
11-16-2005, 11:35 AM
I was in Grand Marais this summer, in our ketch.

We had one day of 40kts, getting there from Whitefish, and the next day in harbour it went over 50 during a thunderstorm. I was glad I had a sentinel on the anchor line.

Everything is bigger on Superior. Even the nice summer weather can turn in a flash.

Don Z.
11-16-2005, 12:45 PM
The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down to the big lake...

Dan McCosh
11-16-2005, 09:50 PM
The winds are blowing the water to the other side of Lake St. Clair, and it's dropped about a foot and half.

11-17-2005, 09:39 AM
Now, how do they pronounce seiche? Sashay?

11-17-2005, 10:35 AM

Dan McCosh
11-17-2005, 02:35 PM
You sound drunk.

11-17-2005, 03:33 PM
I bet a lot of the big blue guys don't know what a seiche is... ;)

Gary Bergman
11-17-2005, 08:38 PM
We'll be sailin' the 'ole square-rigged ketch both ways on most of the 'Lakes next summer for the Tallships Challenge(c)2006; I'm sure we'll also log many a new tale.......