An intense early season winter storm, strong wind and record cold top the list of Michigan weather events on this day in history. From the National Weather Service archives here are the events that happened on October 30.
1856 – The sidewheel steamer, wood, passenger and package freight Superior, while carrying freight and 30 passengers, sank in a gale near Pictured Rocks in Lake Superior after her rudder broke off and wrecked in the shallows. 35 to 53 people perished. She was having no problem with a big storm until her rudder broke off, then she was thrown into the shallows under Pictured Rocks. Reportedly went to pieces within 15 minutes of striking. The next summer, when salvors went there to examine her, all that was left that was salvageable was the engine and boiler. In 1883 a wrecking captain brought up the door of the vessel’s safe which contained under the bands a number of 1854 coins. One of the last and largest vessels to be portaged around Soo. The wreck is a frequent dive target.
1873 – The wood schooner John L. Gross, while carrying coal, was inbound with coal for the Copper Falls mine, when she struck a rock in the channel and was beached at the entrance to Eagle Harbor, MI, Keweenaw in Lake Superior during a gale. She was later pounded to pieces. Tug J.C. Morse was almost lost trying to save her the next week.
1898 – The wood schooner C. Harrison, while loading lumber, was “swept out of existence” during a gale while loading lumber at Whitefish Bay, WI. She had attempted to put out to sea when the storm was seen approaching, but was driven ashore instead at Whitefish Bay, Wis., entrance to Sturgeon Bay canal in Lake Michigan.
1966 – The overnight temperature dropped to a freezing 19° in Flint. This ties with October 21, 1974 for the record minimum temperature for the month of October in Flint.
1988 – Record cold temperatures in the teens and lower 20s close out the month. The low of 18° at Grand Rapids on this day ties the record for the coldest ever recorded in October.
1993 – In west and central Upper Michigan, a combination of very cold air moving across Lake Superior and an intense early season winter storm which tracked north of Lake Superior set the stage for the first significant winter storm of the fall season for west and central Upper Michigan. Snow began across far western Upper Michigan during the morning of the 29th and continued off and on through the morning of the 31st. The heaviest snowfall occurred across the Ironwood area where 9 inches fell. A general 4 to 8 inch snowfall was common across west Upper Michigan by the time the snow ended. A daily record snowfall of 4.6 inches fell this day at Weather Forecast Office in Marquette.
1996 – The steel excursion boat Grampa Woo, broke free from her moorings at Grand Portage, MN at 9:30am with 2 men aboard, when 50 mph gale winds tore the mooring buoy’s 4000-lb anchor loose. Helpless because her rudder and propeller had been removed for repair, the vessel was somehow taken in tow by the Walter J. McCarthy and pulled to the mouth of Thunder Bay, Ont. There her towline broke and she was adrift again. The two crewmen were taken off by the Canadian tug Glenada in a daring rescue. The vessel finally washed into the cliffs of Passage Island near Isle Royale in Lake Superior. Plans were made to rescue her, but by the end of the year, she had broken up.
2004 – A strong low pressure system tracked through Lake Superior lead to high winds during the afternoon hours. Wind gusts of 60 mph lead to widespread power outages, downed trees and wires, along with some minor property damage throughout all of southeast Michigan. Utility companies reported power outages to 283,000 customers across Lower Michigan, with at least half that total coming from southeast Michigan, where damage was estimated to be 3.5 million dollars.