From NWS:

Storms along the Great Lakes have haunted sailors for more than a century and, in fact, served as one of the motivating factors for the creation of a national weather service when, in 1869, Rep. Halbert E. Paine of Wisconsin introduced a bill that called for the establishment of a weather warning service under the Secretary of War. From the storms of the 1860s to the fierce “November Witch” that sank the Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975, one Great Lakes storm stands out as the deadliest.