I t was one of the largest natural disasters in Great Lakes history.
T he storm of 1913 , also known as the White Hurricane, sunk ships and devastated communities. This month marks the 100th anniversary of the storm.
"I t will certainly go down from an impact perspective with regard to loss of life and vessels lost as one of the most deadly storms ever in the Great Lakes ," Jim Keysor, National Weather Service Meteorologist said.
Thirty-one ships were crippled , 12 sunk and a few still haven't been found. F or many of those vessels , the entire crew vanished killing more than 250 people.
" It hit Lake Superior and Lake Michigan and then all of a sudden it came on with a renewed fury all the way through Lake Huron," Ric Mixter, Great Lakes shipwreck historian said.
T he first wave of the storm was an arctic front that brought feet upon feet of lake effect snow . F ew problems came during this time.
A s the storm calmed , some captains gathered their crews to set sail.
"T hey ha d to get that cargo through and these guys knew they didn't make any money at anchor and away they went," Mixter said.
M any signs pointed at another wave of the storm coming , but captains ignored them.
S ome ships left ports in Lake Superior and traveled east through the St. Mary's river. Others set sail on Lake Michigan and passed through the Straits of Mackinac heading towards Lake Huron.
T hat's where they encountered winds at speeds of 90 mp h, which became too much for some ships to handle.
"T hey fell into the trough of these 30 to 40 foot waves and simply rolled over in sank ," Mixter said.
A fter the storm passed , bodies began washing up on shore. And while many hold mother nature responsible for the death toll, history shows others were to blame.
"M any of these accidents happen , because the captains ignore what's there or they ignore their experience," Mixter said. "They overestimate the strength of the ship and their experience and they had into the storms."
A fter the storm of 1913 , the National Weather Service developed new technology to help track storms, but that may not prevent us from seeing another White Hurricane in the future.
" I think if you spent your life in the Great Lakes you might see a couple of events that rival an event like this ," Keysor said.
T he NWS says the storm was just below a category two hurricane.