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Extreme weather stops Mackinac Island travel Wednesday

Dave Black
Mackinac Straits Photography
A ferry that is no longer operational and spends its days docked was pushed 20 feet off the dock Wednesday. Dave Black snapped this photo from his car, saying that the weather was really nasty.

High waves and vicious winds caused the local airport and the ferry service near Mackinac island to halt business Wednesday. 




The area, along with other parts of Michigan, are in a winter weather advisory and lakeshore flood warning until 7 p.m.

Credit Jerry Fetty / Star Line Mackinaw Island Ferry
Star Line Mackinaw Island Ferry
A road partially collapsed Wednesday in St. Ignace due to extreme weather, including high waves.

Mackinac Airport grounded planes and local ferries are docked. 

“It is really, really wavy. It’s the worst we’ve seen it in many years,” said Jerry Fetty, CEO of the Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry. 


An older ferry that no longer is in service but is still in the water was pushed 20 feet from the dock, Fetty says.

One of Fetty’s employees said he hasn’t seen waves this high in 30 years.

That means those looking to travel to and from the island before Thanksgiving might be out of luck.

“It really makes it hard for anyone wanting to get to the island this time of year,” Fetty said. 

The local airport charters small six-seater airplanes to and from the island, and many factors were taken into account when grounding planes Wednesday, said Mackinac Airport airport manager Paul Fullerton.

“The weather is bad up here. Low ceilings and freezing rain and drizzle and snow. They’re not running any of the airplanes,” he said. 

The only way in or out of Mackinac Island is if there’s an emergency. In that case, the U.S. Coast Guard would have to come to the rescue, Fetty added. 

Although the weather was not great for travel Wednesday, the National Weather service called for sunny skies with a high near 33 degrees on Thanksgiving Day.