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The Great Storm of 1913
Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol
Goderich , Ontario


   On November 6, 1913
blinding snow and hurricane-
force winds began to howl
over the Great Lakes,
wreaking havoc that would
last for days. The deadliest
disaster in Great Lakes
history would claim twelve
vessels and nearly 250 lives
before it was done.

   Storms are the curse of
the Great Lakes in November,
but this one achieved lethal
force when two major weather
fronts collided over the
relatively warm waters of the
Great Lakes, unleashing winds
of more than 90 mph (145
km/h) and monster waves more
than 35 feet high. The

Dominion Weather Observatory
in Toronto ordered level four
storm signals, the highest
possible standing for a heavy
gale, to fly at all 100 ports
across the Great Lakes from
Fort William (Thunder Bay) to
Kingston. The warnings came
in vain for many vessels,
especially eight lake

freighters who were battered
and sunk by the ferocious
storm, taking all hands with
   During the inquest that
followed, many blamed the
sailors and captains for
venturing out into the storm.
Many sailors at the inquest,
however, blamed an unreliable

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