A powerful November storm sinks the Edmund Fitzgerald on this date 46 years ago



We haven’t had any measurable rain to date yet this November 2021, let alone any strong storms. However, November storms are quite common. On this date 46 years ago, the historic sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald occurred.

While we’ve had a tranquil period of weather to start this November, a storm is gathering Wednesday night, that will send wind, rain, and a significant drop in temperatures to close the work week. This storm will produce gusty winds that have prompted wind advisories across much of the upper Midwest. It could bring us 40mph gusts Thursday afternoon. This storm will be nowhere near as powerful as the storm of 1975, but it does symbolize how this this time of year ‘November gales’ can be quite frequent.

November gale – occurs when wind speeds reach between 40-54mph. When gales occur on Lake Superior, they’re typically caused by a weather phenomenon called a mid-latitude cyclone.

The ship sank November 10, 1975 in Lake Superior, battered by 35 foot waves, sustained winds of 67 mph, and gusts to 86 mph. All 29 passengers on board died.

November ‘bombs’ – a term meteorologists use to describe when a storm’s central pressure drops drastically in a short period of time. This is frequent during late autumn.

On this day in history, the storm intensified quickly, dropping central pressures to hurricane levels.

The storm is the immortalized by the Gordon Lightfoot song released in 1976.

Other notable November storms occurred in 1913 when 19 ships were lost, and 250 people died. The Armistice storm of 1940 killed 66 people. A similar storm track and pressure drop to that of the 1975 storm occurred in 1998. Improving weather forecasts likely prevented loss of life – but damage was widespread.

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