On Thursday, November 6, the Detroit News forecasted "moderate to brisk" winds for the Great Lakes. On Friday, the Port Huron Times-Herald predicted a "moderately severe" storm. Hourly the warnings became more and more dire. Weather forecasting was in its infancy, however, and radio communication wasn't much better; by the time it became clear that a freshwater hurricane of epic proportions was developing, the storm was well on its way to becoming the deadliest in Great Lakes maritime history.
The ultimate story of man versus nature, November's Fury recounts the dramatic events that unfolded over those four days in 1913, as captains eager – or at times forced – to finish the season tried to outrun the massive storm that sank, stranded, or demolished dozens of boats and claimed the lives of more than 250 sailors. This is an account of incredible seamanship under impossible conditions, of inexplicable blunders, heroic rescue efforts, and the sad aftermath of recovering bodies washed ashore and paying tribute to those lost at sea. It is a tragedy made all the more real by the voices of men – now long deceased – who sailed through and survived the storm, and by a remarkable array of photographs documenting the phenomenal damage this not-so-perfect storm wreaked.
The consummate storyteller of Great Lakes lore, in November's Fury Michael Schumacher at long last brings this violent storm to terrifying life, from its first stirrings through its slow-mounting destructive fury to its profound aftereffects, many still felt to this day.
Ships Wrecked and Stranded during the Great Lakes Hurricane of 1913
Prologue: The Sailor’s Premonition
1. “How Could Such a Thing Happen on a Goddamn Lake?”: Lakes Superior and Michigan
2. “So Violent a Storm”: Apocalypse on Lake Huron
3. “You Might Not Have Light Tonight”: The Storm Visits Cleveland
4. “I Might See you in Heaven”: Explorations of Loss
5. “This Was Not Natural”: Discoveries
Appendix: Boats Lost or Stranded
Sources and Acknowledgements
Michael Schumacher has written twelve books, including Mighty Fitz: The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald (Minnesota, 2012) and Wreck of the Carl D., and twenty-five documentaries on Great Lakes shipwrecks and lighthouses. He lives in Wisconsin.