The Great Storm of November 7-10th in 1913 was a combination of storm systems that collided above Lake Huron on Sunday November 9th.Snow began falling, eventually dumping more than 30 cm in areas surrounding Lake Huron. Winds increased throughout the day, whipping the seas into massive waves in blizzard-like conditions. The storm produced hurricane-force 145 km/h (90 mph) winds, 11 metre high waves (35 feet) and whiteout snow squalls. Ship captains had to decide whether to try to run their vessels in front of the wind or try to anchor and ride out the storm. Both options were dangerous, the former necessitating turning against the wind as the vessels neared the shore, and the latter made more dangerous by extremely poor visibility.
When the storm was finally over, 244 sailors were dead, 19 ships had been sunk with all hands aboard, and 19 ships had been left stranded. Many of the sailors’ bodies washed ashore along the shore of Lake Huron between Goderich and Sarnia the next morning. This blizzard, which raged for three days, resulted in a financial loss in vessels alone of nearly $5 million American, or about $100 million in present-day adjusted dollars. The large loss of cargo included coal, iron ore, and grain. The Great Storm of 1913 is generally considered to be the worst storm to ever strike the Great Lakes, with Lake Huron experiencing the most destruction and death.
Cathy has also written a teachers’ guide for Stormstruck, which is available from Ronsdale Press. It consists of background information about the Great Storm, the shipping industry in the early 1900s, the region of Goderich, and the suffragette movement, as well as an overview of the novel and its principal characters, detailed chapter questions that may be used in a traditional manner or as a jeopardy game, differentiated post-reading activities, and additional resource information.
Additional information about the Great Storm of 1913 can be found at: