The Great Lakes Hurricane

By Paul Homewood



On this day in 1913, the “Great Lakes Hurricane” hit Cleveland:


 Cleveland Plain Dealer, November 11, 1913.


The immense storm that ravaged the Great Lakes in early November 1913 has been called the “Great Lakes Hurricane, “ the “Ultimate Storm, “ and the “Big Blow.” It was unmatched for early winter severity and is one of the greatest winter storms in Cleveland’s history. Twelve commercial lake boats were lost with their entire crews on the Great Lakes and at least 235 sailors perished. Freezing rain and wet snow coated telegraph, telephone, and electric wires early in the storm and lines, poles, and trees were toppled by winds over 40 mph. A one-minute average wind of 79 mph was recorded at Cleveland. Precipitation fell for two days giving 22.2 inches of snow at Cleveland. Elsewhere, snowfall was 18-25 inches in eastern Ohio.

Shortages of milk and food developed when products were stranded on trains and trucks. Some farmers carried milk to dairies on horse-drawn sleds and families had to walk to the dairies for milk. Several large buildings in Cleveland collapsed under the weight of snow. The city of Cleveland was using 50 teams of horses and 300 men to clear snow from streetcar intersections. There was fear of a fire disaster in Cleveland. The number of horses pulling fire engines was increased from three to five and Boy Scouts were asked to clear snow from around fire hydrants.


November 9, 2018 at 12:00PM

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