Yesterday’s storm has already made history as the most intense storm ever recorded in the Great Lakes, including the November 1975 storm that sunk the Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior 35 years ago. Not only did yesterday’s storm break Midwest and Great Lakes records, but the also the “USA-interior-of-the-continent-record”. According to Weather Underground, yesterday’s low atmospheric pressure readings were the lowest ever measured anywhere in the continental United States. Weather experts use barometric pressure to categorize a storm’s intensity; the lower the barometric pressure, the more intense the storm.
As of this blog posting, the media has named our October storm, “Chiclone of 2010” because it hit the Chicago area particularly hard and “October 26, 2010 Superstorm” by Weather Underground. Its barometric reading (955 mb/28.20”) beat the record of five other history-making Great Lakes storms (listed in order of intensity).
- Great Blizzard of 1978. The storm struck the Great Lakes in January blanketing the region with between 12 and 60 inches of snow in a 24-hour period with winds as high as 100 miles per hour. The storm was the previous record holder for the lowest barometric pressure reading ever measured. (958 mb/28.28″)
- Armistice Day Blizzard of 1940. The storm hit suddenly in November 11, 1940. It began as rain and moderate winds but quickly changed to snow with winds reaching 75 miles per hour. Five vessels went down and 66 people lost their lives on the Great Lakes. The storm occurred on Armistice Day, which is a celebration of the end of World War I in 1918. (967 mb/28.55″)
- November 10 & 11 Storm of 1998. The morning of the storm produced 40 to 50 mph winds gusting to 60 to 70 mph with a peak gust of 95 mph reported on Mackinac Island. Frankfort, Michigan recorded 80 to 90 mph wind gusts that destroyed much of the local airport. (967 mb/ 28.55″)
- White Hurricane of 1913. This storm was also called the “Big Blow” and the “Freshwater Fury”. The storm lasted almost four days in early November killing more than 250 people and destroying 19 ships across the Great Lakes. Winds reached 90 mph with waves of 35 feet. (968 mb/28.60″)
- Edmund Fitzgerald Storm of November 10, 1975. The Edmund Fitzgerald was the largest freighter of its kind on the Great Lakes for over a decade, but it broke in half and sunk in Lake Superior. The storm produced almost 60 mpr winds with gusts to 100 mpr and waves of 35 feet. Blinding, heavy snow mixed with the high winds to produce dangerous conditions. No distress signal was ever received from the vessel before it sank. (980 mb/28.95″)
News reports are still coming in on wind speed and wave heights for the October 2010 Superstorm, but the buoy that located between North Manitou and Washington Island recorded winds of over 40 mpr with gusts over 50 mpr. Waves reached almost 22 feet. Isle Royal reported 68 mpr sustained winds with gusts to 78 mpr. Accuweather reported 81 tornados, 21 funnel clouds and 2 waterspouts in the midwest. Lake Michigan storm videos from Holland, Michigan and Muskegon, Michigan will give you a visual taste of what the storm was like before the rain and super high winds started. The Weather Underground blog has some incredible superstorm timelapse photos you should view.