Killer Wave Slams Cleveland

(1942) 
Freak Tidal Wave Sweeps Lake Erie Shoreline; Eight Believed Drowned

(CLEVELAND, Ohio) May 31st – UPI –Coastguardsmen dragged the waters of Lake Erie tonight for victims of a freak tidal wave that
swept the lake shoreline east and west of Cleveland today and
drowned at least seven persons. Described by witnesses as an
“enormous black wall of water,” the wave struck like a giant hammer
against scores of small vessels and pleasure craft. The United States weather bureau in Cleveland said that unofficial reports listed eight dead and 12 injured. The Weather Bureau blamed a sudden shifting of the wind from a southerly to a northerly direction, which ‘pushed the water violently back after a short period of calmness”.

Both coastguardsmen and other witnesses said the death toll would have mounted into scores had it not been for a bright moon which
dimly outlined the on-rushing wave in time for fishermen and
bathers to flee to safety

THIS IS FROM AN ARTICLE I FOUND FROM 1942, THERE ARE OTHER REPORTS OF SIMILAR OCCURENCES ON LAKE ERIE OVER THE YEARS. THE LAST REPORT OF A LAKE ERIE ‘TIDAL WAVE” I WAS ABLE TO FIND WAS IN THE 1960’S. MOST SEEMED TO BE CONFINED TO THE EASTERN SIDE OF THE LAKE. I WONDER WHY THEY HAVE STOPPED AND WHY THEY OCCUR – AND OF COURSE –CAN THEY HAPPEN AGAIN?

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4 Comments

Filed under Lake Erie, Strange Happenings

4 responses to “Killer Wave Slams Cleveland

  1. Russ

    I was staying in a house about one mile east of Huron and thre Huron River entrance from Lake Erie, the night this wave hit. My gransfather’s boat was parked in a boathouse with roof on the Huron River. The horn on top of the roof was smashed flat like a pancake. Fortunately, no one was around the harbor that evening for small boating. Members of freighjter crews in the Huron freight dock saw the wave from far above on deck. It crested at about 5 feet.

    • Russ,
      Thanks for the eyewitness account. Was this the one that happened in 1942, or one of the other ones from the 1960’s. It must have been a very frightening experience. Almost like a powerful flash flood and I understand they come without any warning.

      Lou

  2. Nathan Okorn

    My father told me that about 3 weeks ago that his step son was taking a boat and jet ski out of the water at Perry Park which is protected by a small break wall, when a water surge happened twice. The second worse than the first. It was estimated that the water level increased by 3 feet over about 30 seconds then receded. The guys were backed down the launch ramp at the time and the surge jack knived the truck and trailer and pushed them up the ramp a short distance. This event was witnessed by my stepmother and many others and insurance claims were filed by numerous people involved. Extremely odd and that is why I am here. What could of happened?

    • Nathan,

      I believe the National Weather said this wave was confirmed as a “sieche”, the same type of waves mentioned in the article. These are actually rare on lake Erie, but they are frightening and deadly. I’m not sure why this latest one was not widely reported. I happened to see the story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Thanks for the comment.

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