How A Developing Storm Is Making Me Feel Old

So I’m looking at the weather maps the past few days and see that they are predicting a monster-looking storm over the northern Plains on Tuesday.  The models make this thing look like it will be a hurricane on land that will produce heavy rain, snow and wind gusts over 60 mph.  This is the same storm system that is pushing a cold front through Oklahoma that will make Tuesday feel noticeably cooler than Monday was.

As I’m describing this storm to the newsroom in our daily afternoon meeting, I mention that it will likely be stronger than the storm that sunk the Edmond Fitzgerald.  The faces staring back at me reflected they had no clue what I was talking about.  I said ” the Edmond Fitzgerald…you know, the ship that sank during a huge storm on Lake Superior back in 1975.”  Still blank faces.  So I continued, ” oh come on, don’t tell me you don’t remember hearing about the Edmond Fitzgerald….Gordon Lightfoot even had a hit song based on the incident back in the mid 70s….you know…Gordon Lightfoot.”  They were clueless.  Then it hit me….none of them were even born when the boat sank, and even the oldest ones were too young to remember the song.  Suddenly I felt old.  Oh well, i like to think of myself as experienced….not old. 

If you’re just a youngster, hit Wikipedia for some info on the Edmond Fitzgerald, and then check out Gordon Lightfoot’s song about the shipwreck.

In any case, this storm is going to be a whopper, and it starts with a jet stream on steroids.  Take a look at this jet stream map from this evening:

This shows among other things, the winds at about 30, 000 feet.  Over Salt Lake City the recorded wind speed (using a weather balloon) was 175 knots or about 190 mph!  That’s one wicked strong jet stream.  As it spreads out into the Plains it will help develop an area of low pressure over North Dakota and Minnesota.  This low will be incredibly strong with a very low barometric pressure all the way down to 956 millibars.  That’s similar to a low-end hurricane!  On your home barometer, a pressure of 956 millibars would show up as a reading of 28.23 inches!

This is how the storm looks on one of our computer models valid at 7 pm Tuesday  All the black lines represents lines of equal pressure.  The closer they are together, the stronger the winds will be.  Look how close they are over the northern Plains.  It looks like wind gusts of 60 mph will be possible with this storm in the northern Plains and southern Canada, as well as the Great Lakes.  You know, just like the storm that sunk the Edmond Fitzgerald.  You’ve heard of the Edmond Fitzgerald, right?


2 Responses

  1. I’m right there with ya Rick. I remember the song. I remember the part about the cook telling everyone that he was glad that he had served with them. I also have read the book on the ship. Never realized just how big the ship really was.

  2. I remember the Edmond Fitzgerald. However, how YOUNG is your staff not to remember the song!!!! Can your staff drive yet?

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