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Boreal Community Media

Staggering wave heights expected on Lake Superior

Dec 16, 2021 09:20AM ● By Editor

By Craig Huckerby from - December 15, 2021

A deepening low pressure system that has prompted wind warnings all around Lake Superior will show us all that Lake Superior acts more like an ocean than an inland lake.

Wave heights are forecast to reach as high as 25 feet or 7.6 meters at the peak of the storm Thursday night.

To put that into perspective, 23 to 26 foot waves sank the Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975. The highest wave ever recorded was a height of 29 feet (8.8 meters) on October 24, 2017 on Lake Superior  just north of Marquette, Michigan. 

Most storms over the oceans of the world can produce average wave heights of 30 feet. Hurricane Sandy – the largest hurricane on record, battered the North American east coast in October 2012, produced  peak wave heights of 42 feet.

Gale warnings are now in place for Whitefish Bay while a storm warning is in effect for eastern Lake Superior. Waves heights of 22 feet (7 meters) are forecast for Thursday afternoon, subsiding to 16 foot waves Thursday evening.

Gale force winds are classified by exceeding 45 to 90 km/h and this storm is packing those types of gusts for most of the day Thursday.

As of Wednesday evening, over 7 freighters are currently en-route on Lake Superior according to 

Damaging winds will affect shoreline areas of Western Lake Superior with winds from the southeast then switching to the eastern shoreline with winds shifting to westerly Thursday afternoon.  Environment Canada as well a the U.S. based National Weather Service warn of shoreline flooding in areas as well as wind and storm warnings along with marine warnings in place for Wednesday night to Thursday evening.

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