Warmth continues…37 years ago on Lake Superior

November 10th, 2012 at 6:25 pm by under Weather

If you look at the calendar and then step outside the two don’t seem to match.  But here we are in the second week of November and today’s high was 69 degrees.  Our normal high for today is 54.  As you can imagine what goes up must come down.  Tomorrow will be the last day we’ll see highs in the 60′s for awhile.  Highs drop back for most of next week.

The reason for the warm up is an area of low pressure and cold front now in the central plains.

As long as we are in front of the cold front we will continue to see strong winds out of the southwest and warmer temperatures.  However there’s active weather along the front and low pressure system.  Some parts of the country are experiencing winter weather while others are seeing the potential for severe weather.

Sunday across the Miami Valley will be nice – another warm, sunny but breezy day.  However the front begins to move through on Monday and this will dramatically change things.  First we’ll see some cloud cover increase late Sunday night and the winds will pick up as well.  Expect sustained winds out of the southwest around 10-20 mph with gusts near 25 and 30mph.

By Monday morning the front approaches and brings rain to much of the area.  High temperatures for the day will be early in the morning as readings fall through the afternoon.  Expect temperatures into the 40′s as you make your way home from work.

As we enjoy our unseasonably warm temperatures here  it was a different story on Lake Superior 37 years ago today.  The gales of November as they are often called came early with strong winds and large waves.  Both were no match for the Edmund Fitzgerald.

On November 9th the Fitzgerald left Superior, Wisconsin and was on its way to Ohio.  Gale warnings soon were in effect so the ship decided to take a more northerly route in Lake Superior to try and limit the wind and waves.   As the ship was trying to make it into Whitefish Bay a burst of strong winds and high waves were just too much and it sank near Whitefish Point, Michigan.   All 29 men were lost.

I first heard of this storm and shipwreck during my college years as one of my professors was studying the storm.  It wasn’t until I moved to Marquette, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula that I really was able to learn and appreciate the storm and story.  I took a tour of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in eastern Upper Michigan and was able to learn so much more about that fateful day.  I was able to see the bell that in 1994 was pulled from the wreckage and later restored.   This storm and story will always have a special place in my heart.  From Gordon Lightfoot’s Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, ” The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead when the skies of November turn gloomy.”  The bottom of Lake Superior is the final resting place for the 29 men who severed on board.

No matter the technology we have sometimes the weather is just too unpredictable.  On this anniversary my thoughts are with the families of those crewmen.


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