Powerful Lake Superior Waves Crash Thru Duluth Bridge Gates
We are on the tail end of one of the nastiest late-April storms I've experienced, and I've lived here for most of my life. We had rain, freezing rain, slushy snow, and a lot of wind. It was so bad in the region, that loons literally were falling out of the sky. Seriously, it sounds like something biblical, but it is still happening due to the weather and the ice.
When we get winds like this from the North, it really whips up the waves on the shores of Lake Superior. We've had trouble with the lakewalk being washed away, and damage and flooding before.
I don't recall a time though when the pedestrian gate broke on the canal.
I had a friend Bill send me some photos. They went down there to take a look at the waves. They were washing right up over the pier.
The water gets really high and it's really powerful. It can quickly sweep people out in the freezing water. It's happened in the past. That's why there is a gate there, to keep people from getting killed. People who try to rescue them have also been killed in the past. Read about the Coast Guard Member who died in 1967 while trying to save three teenage boys. After that storm, the gates were installed to prevent this from happening again over 50 years ago.
The waves were rolling in so high they were nearly touching the lift bridge, which usually has enough clearance for smaller boats to travel beneath it.
The National Weather Service posted a warning on Facebook warning people to stay off the pier. It's meant for everyone, but too often in Duluth's history have tourists drowned by not recognizing the power of Lake Superior.
They suggest you watch the waves from the safety of the Harbor Camera, which is always running.
Besides strong waves sweeping people into the water, Windy days on Lake Superior also create rip currents. Even just wading in the water can pull you out hundreds of yards and cause you to drown. It tragically happened with a father and his daughter off of Park Point in 2021.