Around 7:15 p.m. on Nov. 10, 1975, the Great Lakes bulk cargo vessel the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank in eastern Lake Superior, about 17 miles from the entrance to Whitefish Bay, Mich. The ship was en route from Superior, Wis., to Detroit's Zug Island. All the vessel’s 29 officers and crewmembers were lost.
A low-pressure system began forming in the early morning hours of Nov. 9, 1975. The storm would travel northeast and intensify along the route toward the Great Lakes. Although exact details of the weather events are somewhat unclear, the weather forecasts that were released throughout that Nov. 9 and 10 remain on record.
To give a better sense of what the conditions were like during those two days on Lake Superior, the National Weather Service in Marquette has re-created weather forecasts from various times throughout the freighter's journey.
Re-enactment: 9:39 a.m. Nov. 9, 1975
This report featured news that a low pressure system would move across the Great Lakes area. At this point, the Edmund Fitzgerald had just picked up its load of taconite pellets in Superior, Wis., and was heading east on Lake Superior.
Re-enactment: 9:39 p.m. Nov. 9, 1975
This report issued a gale warning. At this point, the Edmund Fitzgerald had been joined in her journey by the Arthur Anderson and the two freighters would remain 10 miles to 20 miles apart for the rest of the trip across Lake Superior.
Re-enactment: 1 a.m. Nov. 10, 1975
In this report, the National Weather Service replaced the gale warning with a storm warning. The weather report and deteriorating conditions forced the Edmund Fitzgerald and the Arthur Anderson to deviate from normal shipping routes and travel closer to the Canadian shoreline for better protection from the wind and waves.
Re-enactment: 9 a.m. Nov. 10, 1975
This report warned of a strong low-pressure system moving northeast toward where the Edmund Fitzgerald and the Arthur Anderson were heading in Lake Superior. The two ships changed to a southeasterly course toward Michigan.
Re-enactment: 4 p.m. Nov. 10, 1975
In this report, the National Weather Service announced that storm warnings were in effect, with wind gusts forecast of up to 60 knots and waves of 8 feet to 16 feet. At this point, the Edmund Fitzgerald reported she was listing and that both her radars were inoperative. She asked that the Anderson keep track of the ship and provide navigational assistance.