Has a Hurricane Ever Hit Michigan?
Michigan is so far away from the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico it's crazy to think a hurricane could touch us. Or is it?
The answer to that question is complicated and very surprising. The closest hurricanes on the East side of the United States occur in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, which is nearly 1,000 miles away. Here's how the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a hurricane,
a tropical cyclone with winds of 74 miles (119 kilometers) per hour or greater that is usually accompanied by rain, thunder, and lightning, and that sometimes moves into temperate latitudes
A "normal" storm formed over Lake Michigan and crossed over into Lake Huron in 1996 with tropical storm winds. The storm named Hurricane Huron, or Huronicane, began forming as a very strong storm at the Northern tip of Lake Michigan on September 11th of 1996.
The storm picked up wind speed and crossed the Northern half of Michigan and most of the Upper Peninsula on September 14th. When the storm made contact with Lake Huron it really picked up steam. September 15th is when this storm reached its peak with winds up to 73 MPH. That means this one-of-a-kind storm missed hurricane status by 1 mile per hour.
But then there's the White Hurricane of 1913. The biggest natural disaster in Great Lakes history killed 244 people. This weather nightmare began on November 6th and lasted through the 12th.
The great storm started out as separate storms in each of the Great lakes at the same time. At one point, ships were battling winds up to 90 miles per hour during a blizzard.
We didn't have the ability to track and monitor storms back in 1913 the way we do now. Without a proper way to track the storms and alert ships in a timely manner, 13 ships sank killing hundreds.
According to the National Weather Service, this blizzard mixed with 90 MPH winds and 35-foot high waves was a hurricane.