The water-filled excitement of the last two days has subsided, and left in its place is a wind that is causing Gunflint Lake to roll. It's a westerly one, at 10-20 mph, though in my opinion, more of the latter and less of the former. It's not unusual to have the wind kick up like this when a pattern changes, but fortunately, it is only predicted to last through the day. By this evening, and for tomorrow, it is supposed to diminish. That will be good, because then folks will once again be able to get out on the lake more easily.
Our personal challenge in this latest series of weather events has been keeping the boats all floating. Our fleet (as it were) is pulled up on shore, but the boats tied to the dock haven't fared as well. Greg and Paul have been busy using the water pump to help empty a boat or two, so that they can once again float. Just another example of the power that Gunflint Lake and the weather can dish out to us, the often unsuspecting.
Also in the wake of the storm are reports hitting the headlines across the country about the flood damage in Duluth and along the North Shore. The pictures have been incredible to see, and having grown up in Duluth, I can recognize many of these places. Reference has been made to the flooding back in 1972. When talking to my sister last night, fragments of that emerged in my memory----some folks canoeing down our neighborhood street one summer day, and my siblings and I wading through waist deep water. Until now, I could not remember what year that was. It seems odd that a city built on a hill can actually flood, but if enough rain comes down, I guess it is possible. On the flip side, I like to think about what the numbers would be if that much moisture fell in the winter instead. They say that an inch of rain is roughly equivalent to 10-12 inches of snow. Can you imagine over 100" of snow in one storm? That would be something to see.
Those afore mentioned reports are giving the impression that the highway between Duluth and Two Harbors is completely shut down. During the height of the storm, I believe that large sections may have been, but at this point, the only section that is closed is at the Knife River bridge on the expressway of Highway 61. A detour is in place that takes travelers a short way down the hill to the scenic highway. You can continue on the scenic highway to Two Harbors, or you can go back up to the expressway. Either way, it won't add much more time to your trip. Other areas through Duluth and along Highway 61 may have some slower spots, but from the reports I've been hearing, everything is moving along just fine.
My folks live in Duluth, along the shore, and when I talked to my mom on Wednesday evening, they had just returned from a trip to the grocery store. She said that they had no problems getting around to where they needed to go. So all in all, I expect that travelers may encounter a bit of a change from the normal drive, but it shouldn't be bad. On the good side, the waterfalls along the way should be absolutely spectacular! My dad always told us when we were passing by the Cross River in Schroeder that we had to look out the window to see the water rushing down. To this day, I still continue the practice, and sort of want to take a drive down there just to see it right now!
I'll close with a photo taken a week ago, when the lake was much calmer than it is right now. We'll see this again, I know, as the next few days are supposed to be warmer, sunny and calm. Sounds like a welcome change to me.