As day broke this Wednesday morning, it became apparent that the historic, hurricane-like storm blowing along the North Shore of Lake Superior has caused significant damage.
Drivers are dodging waves coming over the Compass Park wall onto Hwy 61. Those waves were also hitting the windows of the Java Moose coffee shop across Wisconsin St. from Harbor Park and the lake. The winds, which have gusted to nearly 60 mph, also took part of the roof off the Java Moose, although plenty of local folks were there getting their coffee and watching the waves.
The massive waves were crashing light-house high on the outer breakwall as well as rolling across the harbor. A cabin cruiser was washed on to the beach next to the Angry Trout where owners George Wilkes and Barb LaVigne worked all night taking up the decking where people dine on calm summer days.
The last sailboat moored in the harbor was heavily damaged on the rocks near the Lake Superior Trading Post this morning.
The Grand Marais Municipal Pool is closed until further notice after the roof was peeled back from south to north across the building. At the Grand Marais Art Colony, the historic tree on the south side of the main entrance was tipped over and struck the trees to the north. There was no apparent damage to the building.
Trees were down throughout the county with power outages reported through the night in the Tofte and Lutsen areas and from east of Grand Marais to Grand Portage. Most of the outages were along the shore. About 7 a.m., Arrowhead Electric crews had to shut down power to the Gunflint Trail to repair a broken line in the Devil Track Lake area. Power returned to the Gunflint Trail by 9:30 but crews were still working in the Devil Track area as power remained out on the south shore and on Walter Rd. Crews from Arrowhead and Lake States Power were dealing with the outages. Other crews are on their way to help with the outages.
Trees were blocking lanes and roadways along the North Shore as southwest winds gusted to 60 miles per hour. A wind advisory was issued by the National Weather Service at noon today. The strongest winds will occur along Lake Superior including in the Grand Marais area.
Forecasters were predicting light snow mixed with rain to continue to affect Cook, Lake, central St. Louis, southern Itasca and Pine counties in Minnesota, and, Douglas County in Wisconsin.
The massive low pressure system that is roaring its way into Ontario set wide-spread low pressure records Tuesday. Pressure dropped to an all-time low of 28.20 inches at 5:13 p.m. Tuesday at Bigfork. The previous record was 28.43 set on Nov. 10, 1998 in a major low that moved through the Albert Lea and Austin areas of southern Minnesota. The Edmund Fitzgerald storm of Nov. 10, 1975 had a low pressure reading of 28.95.
The record was broken shortly after 10a.m. Tuesday at Aitkin when 28.42 was recorded. However, the pressures continued to drop as the system intensified on its way north. Low pressure readings in the upper 28.20s and 28.30s were common throughout northeastern Minnesota yesterday into last evening.
The storm has been compared to a Category III hurricane without the 111-130 mph winds. The low pressure system covered the Midwest and Great Lakes bringing high winds, blizzard conditions, tornadoes and other heavy weather in various parts of the region.