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Northern Great Lakes Gale October 2017

Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:49 pm
by jimh
An intense [980-mb] low pressure system is moving across the upper peninsula of Michigan, generating gale-force winds and high waves. Sustained wind speeds of 35-MPH are coming out of the northwest and creating large waves in Lake Superior. The wind website http://hint.fm/wind/ was showing sustained wind speeds this morning of 35-MPH coming ashore from Copper Harbor east to Grand Marais.

The NOAA forecast for wave height predicts 20-foot significant wave height for parts of southern Lake Superior:
10_24_2017_WaveHeightNOAAGraphicalForecast.png
Significant wave height in feet; waves are measured from trough to crest. Significant wave height is the average of the one-third highest waves.
10_24_2017_WaveHeightNOAAGraphicalForecast.png (7.74 KiB) Viewed 5992 times


A webcam captured the surf coming in at Sunset Bay campground:
10242017_webcamSunsetBayCrop.jpg
Sunset Bay on the northwest shore of the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan
10242017_webcamSunsetBayCrop.jpg (38.61 KiB) Viewed 5992 times

Re: Northern Great Lakes Gale October 2017

Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:04 pm
by jimh
I knew something was going on up north this morning when I got an email alert from my home up there: the utility power was off and the generator had started. A few hours later, fellow northern Michigan second-home owner David H. sent me a link to an article containing several graphics from the government weather office in Marquette, Michigan:

marqWxOfc_1.png
marqWxOfc_1.png (217.38 KiB) Viewed 5988 times

marqWxOfc_2.png
marqWxOfc_2.png (231.34 KiB) Viewed 5988 times

marqWxOfc_3.png
marqWxOfc_3.png (220.72 KiB) Viewed 5988 times

Re: Northern Great Lakes Gale October 2017

Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:18 pm
by jimh
I also knew something was going on when I happened to check the AIS tracking site MARINETRAFFIC.COM and found there was a large ship taking refuge in Omena Bay. The tug-barge combination PRENTISS BROWN was at anchor in the little bay, a very odd visitor to the recreational boat harbor.

According to the AIS track, about 10 p.m. last night the PRENTISS BROWN was heading up Lake Michigan (probably trying to get to Charlevoix), then made an abrupt turn south into Grand Traverse Bay and took shelter in little Omena Bay:
prentissBrownTrack.png
AIS track of PRENTISS BROWN from MARINETRAFFIC.COM
prentissBrownTrack.png (255.65 KiB) Viewed 5986 times

omenaBayAISTarget.jpg
Recent position of vessel PRENTISS BROWN, taking refuge in Omena Bay
omenaBayAISTarget.jpg (55.01 KiB) Viewed 5923 times

Re: Northern Great Lakes Gale October 2017

Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:25 pm
by jimh
Excerpts from the text nearshore marine forecast from the Marquette office:

LSZ249-250-250800-
Marquette to Munising MI-
Munising to Grand Marais MI-
429 PM EDT Tue Oct 24 2017

...STORM WARNING IN EFFECT UNTIL 2 AM EDT WEDNESDAY...

--LATE THIS AFTERNOON...North gales to 40 knots with storm force
gusts up to 54 knots. Rain showers. Waves 22 to 27 feet
occasionally to 34 feet subsiding to 20 to 25 feet occasionally
to 31 feet.


--TONIGHT...North gales to 35 knots backing northwest up to
30 knots after midnight. Storm force gusts up to 52 knots. Rain
showers through midnight, then scattered rain showers late. Waves
subsiding to 9 to 12 feet occasionally to 15 feet.

--WEDNESDAY...North wind 10 to 20 knots with gusts up to 27 knots.
Cloudy. Scattered rain showers in the morning, then isolated rain
showers in the afternoon. Waves subsiding to 3 to 5 feet
occasionally to 7 feet.

Re: Northern Great Lakes Gale October 2017

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:16 am
by Todd
The Associated Press reported two people missing along the Lake Superior shore Tuesday. The man and woman were last reported at the overlook at Black Rocks in Presque Isle Park near Marquette and both swept into the lake. Apparently the Coast Guard has suspended the helicopter search due to the conditions, 40 knot winds and 25 foot seas.

A photographer was able to capture a person who was fortunately rescued at the same site yesterday, absolutely frightening conditions.

https://abc10up.com/2017/10/24/two-alle ... ack-rocks/

Re: Northern Great Lakes Gale October 2017

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 3:21 pm
by Dutchman
Yea you "ocean" Whalers take note how rough the "Lakes" get. These aren't 20ft rollers that this 112ft ship could easily handle, with the short period they are mountains not handled easily especially with a tow.

Re: Northern Great Lakes Gale October 2017

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 4:12 pm
by Todd
My firm has a client in the area and he indicates the winds were upwards of 80 knots at times yesterday. He said they have now moved to a recovery mode and will put in divers as soon as water conditions allow. Let's hope they find those poor people to give the families some closure. Reminds me of the timing and conditions when the Edmund Fitzgerald went down. Gordon Lightfoot told the story best: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vST6hVRj2A

Re: Northern Great Lakes Gale October 2017

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 5:51 pm
by jimh
WEATHER.COM is now reporting the low pressure reached 980-mbar and dropped 27-mbar in 24-hours, a very rapid storm development.

An unattributed source said to be from a weather buoy is reported to have recorded a 28-foot wave, possibly the highest wave height recorded on Lake Superior by any recording buoy.

The difference between this storm and the Fitzgerald storm: much better forecasting of the storm. There were no ships underway in central Lake Superior when this storm brewed up. They were all taking shelter or in port.

Re: Northern Great Lakes Gale October 2017

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:57 pm
by jimh
Re the vessel PRENTISS BROWN: she is a tug, but really is part of a tug-barge lash-up, so the total ship is a lot bigger than the 123-feet length of the tug; she is mated to the barge CONQUEST, which is 437-feet long. The overall vessel is thus about 550-feet-long, Many older Great Lakes freighters have had their stern section cut off and turned into an integrated tug-barge set up with a notched transom for the tug's bow to fit into and connect. The crewing requirements for a tug-barge are much less than for a ship; maybe 12-crew instead of 29 crew.

Image

Image

Re: Northern Great Lakes Gale October 2017

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:18 pm
by jimh
I found the data source for the 28.8-foot wave: it is from a buoy east of Munising. See

http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/station_page.php?station=45173

Here is the data from October 24, 2017; wave heights (WVHT) are in meters, so 8.8-meters is 28.8-feet.

#YY  MM DD hh mm WVHT  SwH  SwP  WWH  WWP SwD WWD  STEEPNESS  APD MWD
#yr mo dy hr mn m m sec m sec - degT - sec degT
2017 10 24 23 50 7.9 MM MM MM MM MM MM STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 23 10 6.8 MM MM MM MM MM MM STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 23 00 7.7 MM MM MM MM MM MM STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 22 40 7.5 MM MM MM MM MM MM STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 22 30 6.6 MM MM MM MM MM MM STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 22 10 7.0 MM MM MM MM MM MM VERY_STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 21 50 7.5 MM MM MM MM MM MM STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 21 40 6.9 MM MM MM MM MM MM STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 21 30 6.5 MM MM MM MM MM MM STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 21 20 6.6 MM MM MM MM MM MM STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 21 10 8.2 MM MM MM MM MM MM STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 21 00 7.3 MM MM MM MM MM MM STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 20 50 7.6 MM MM MM MM MM MM STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 20 40 6.5 MM MM MM MM MM MM STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 20 30 7.8 MM MM MM MM MM MM STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 20 20 7.5 MM MM MM MM MM MM STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 20 10 7.4 MM MM MM MM MM MM VERY_STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 20 00 5.9 MM MM MM MM MM MM AVERAGE MM -99
2017 10 24 19 50 8.0 MM MM MM MM MM MM STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 19 40 7.0 MM MM MM MM MM MM STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 19 30 6.8 MM MM MM MM MM MM AVERAGE MM -99
2017 10 24 18 30 7.3 MM MM MM MM MM MM STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 17 50 7.5 MM MM MM MM MM MM VERY_STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 16 50 7.7 MM MM MM MM MM MM STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 15 10 7.4 MM MM MM MM MM MM STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 15 00 7.2 MM MM MM MM MM MM STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 14 50 7.7 MM MM MM MM MM MM STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 14 40 6.7 MM MM MM MM MM MM VERY_STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 14 30 7.2 MM MM MM MM MM MM STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 14 20 7.1 MM MM MM MM MM MM VERY_STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 14 10 7.0 MM MM MM MM MM MM VERY_STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 14 00 6.4 MM MM MM MM MM MM VERY_STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 13 50 5.8 MM MM MM MM MM MM VERY_STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 13 40 6.8 MM MM MM MM MM MM STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 13 30 8.8 MM MM MM MM MM MM VERY_STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 13 20 7.1 MM MM MM MM MM MM VERY_STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 13 10 6.5 MM MM MM MM MM MM VERY_STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 13 00 7.4 MM MM MM MM MM MM VERY_STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 12 30 6.0 MM MM MM MM MM MM VERY_STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 12 20 6.6 MM MM MM MM MM MM VERY_STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 12 10 6.3 MM MM MM MM MM MM VERY_STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 12 00 5.7 MM MM MM MM MM MM VERY_STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 11 50 5.4 MM MM MM MM MM MM STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 11 40 5.2 MM MM MM MM MM MM VERY_STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 11 30 6.3 MM MM MM MM MM MM VERY_STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 11 20 5.2 MM MM MM MM MM MM VERY_STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 11 10 5.2 MM MM MM MM MM MM VERY_STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 11 00 4.8 MM MM MM MM MM MM VERY_STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 10 50 4.6 MM MM MM MM MM MM VERY_STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 10 40 5.2 MM MM MM MM MM MM VERY_STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 10 30 4.3 MM MM MM MM MM MM VERY_STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 10 20 4.8 MM MM MM MM MM MM VERY_STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 10 10 4.4 MM MM MM MM MM MM VERY_STEEP MM -99
2017 10 24 10 00 5.5 MM MM MM MM MM MM VERY_STEEP MM -99

Re: Northern Great Lakes Gale October 2017

Posted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 11:00 am
by Hoosier
8.8 m at 10.24.13.30 converts to 28.87 feet.

Re: Northern Great Lakes Gale October 2017

Posted: Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:39 pm
by Dutchman
Steep to Very Steep is more of a problem than the wave height but WOW 28.9ft is very high. For 12 hrs from 11 to 11 the waves were over 20ft. I don't want to get caught in that unsinkable or not.

Re: Northern Great Lakes Gale October 2017

Posted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:08 pm
by Todd
The two people lost in the lake last week have yet to be found. Sadly, divers were unable to locate the bodies. The words of Gordon Lightfoot's song ring true, The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead when the skies of November turn gloomy.

Re: Northern Great Lakes Gale October 2017

Posted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:59 pm
by Todd
One of the two people lost in the October storm on Lake Superior near Marquette Michigan has been found. The authorities have identified the person as 53-year-old Robert Anderson of Iron River who was swept into the lake while observing the large waves. The other person, a woman, has not been found as yet. Very sad.

Re: Northern Great Lakes Gale October 2017

Posted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:10 pm
by dtmackey
Thank you for sharing this story. As an ex-coast guardsman, I have a deep interest in ocean storms. I liken this to the Perfect Storm that struck [the northeast Atlantic] and caused more damage than ever expected. I developed this interest after my father lost a friend in the Blizzard of 1978 on the east coast. The book [Ten Hours Until Dawn ] details where the pilot vessel CAN DO was lost and then found days later capsized in shallow waters. It's a great read.

D-

Re: Northern Great Lakes Gale October 2017

Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:45 am
by Todd
D, thanks for the note and thoughts. I'm downloading Ten Hours Til Dawn on my Kindle and look forward to reading it. I was a sophomore in college when that storm happened. It was the first time Michigan State University closed due to weather. We got 24" of snow in about 24 hours. Couldn't get out of the dorm entrances but my roommates and I managed to find a way out a second floor room and get to the party store ;).

Re: Northern Great Lakes Gale October 2017

Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:29 pm
by jimh
According to oceanographers, a wave of twice the average height of the upper third of all waves will occur about once every 1,000 waves. If on a pier where there are waves that are just about at the height of the pier, if you stand there long enough there is a very high probability that a wave that is twice as high will come along and sweep you off the pier. This is demonstrated just about annually by the long pier into Lake Michigan at Grand Haven. People seem to get swept off it on a regular basis. For examples, read:

http://www.mlive.com/weather/index.ssf/ ... erest.html

http://www.wzzm13.com/news/local/grand- ... /275990549

http://woodtv.com/2016/08/21/photos-wav ... reakwater/

Re: Northern Great Lakes Gale October 2017

Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:05 pm
by Todd
We boat out of Grand Haven and have seen the waves over the piers quite often. I've made the run into the channel there in 8-10 footers in our 38' Sea Ray, it's quite exhilarating. We call it "boating in a blender" because of the swirling effect of the incoming waves. Our cruising friends make a big batch of Margaritas once we are all safety back in our slips. Current conditions include:

GALE WARNING: West gales to 45 kt. Slight chance of snow showers this
morning...then chance of snow showers this afternoon. Waves 12 to
16 ft occasionally to 21 ft.

See the webcam:

https://www.earthcam.com/usa/michigan/g ... kemichigan

They have the catwalk on the south pier that you see in jimh's pics down for repair. Currently, it's hard to see much of either south or north piers except for the light and block house at the end of the south pier. We run out to the beach in the foreground in the 160 Dauntless, but not in these conditions!

Re: Northern Great Lakes Gale October 2017

Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:08 pm
by jimh
Thanks for the link to the webcam. I was viewer number 7,973,155. I watched the spray from the breakwall at the foot of the lighthouse rise well above the roof the the house. The pier is mostly underwater. Looks like quite a blow coming in there. Not a nice day for a walk on the pier.