An ill wind blows
3:12 pm
Tue October 26, 2010

Big midwest storm similar to storm that sank Edmund Fitzgerald

The storm passing through the Midwest today has a similar look to the storm that sank the Edmund Fitzgerald on November 10th, 1975.

The 1975 storm had an extremely low pressure at its center, which generated winds similar to a category 2 hurricane. The storm in 1975 dropped to 978 millibars (mb) when it passed over James Bay in Ontario.

Today's storm is expected to reach a low pressure of 960 mb. By comparison, the hurricane that recently hit Belize, Hurricane Richard, reached a low of 981 mb.

 Jeff Masters, meteorologist  at the Weather Underground, had this to say:

"A powerful cold front trails southwards from the storm, and this cold front has spawned an impressive squall line studded with violent thunderstorms. As many as eleven simultaneous tornado warnings have been issued late this morning for these thunderstorms, from southern Michigan to northern Mississipi. So far, the tornadoes have been embedded within the squall line, and these type of tornadoes are typically weaker EF-0 to EF-1 twisters. However, as the day progresses and the sun's heating adds energy to the atmosphere, strong EF-2 or EF-3 tornadoes are likely, if dicsrete supercell thunderstorms separate from the squall line and begin to evolve. "

The Chicago Tribune is posting photos of storm damage as it rolls through. So far, you can see a crushed Smart car, some downed trees, a roof of a barn ripped off, and some inside out umbrellas.

The sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald is the event that marks one of the worst storms to hit this region in a long time. You can get a sense for how bad it was from a radio transmission from one of the ship captains on Lake Superior that night.

In this recording, Captain Jesse Cooper of the lake carrier the Arthur M. Anderson is asked by the Coast Guard to turn around a look for survivors of the Edmund Fitzgerald:

Reporter Mike Simonson found that recording in the archives at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Canal Park and Museum.

Despite his concern, Captain Cooper brought his vessel around and headed back into the storm, but no survivors were found. 29 sailors died that night.