Hand Tools Archive

Re: The Gales of November...... *LINK*

Kent B
With all due respect to the local meteorologist, this bit may be outside their comfort zone.

I read 2 articles. Searching for the 2d. Here is the first, though: NOAA re-analysis of that storm.

EDIT: Found the 2d. Don't know the chops of Computer Sciences Corporation on thsi topic, but they pounded it to death in analytics. Go to the end - they evaluate the 4 common theories on p30, and conclude it was " Breakup On Surface, Failures Of First And Second Hatch Covers":


When you finally get to p 14, there is a summary [my bold emphasis]:

"Conditions on Lake Superior deteriorated rapidly
during the afternoon of 10 November 1975, as
the Edmund Fitzgerald made its southward journey
toward the shelter of Whitefish Bay. By that evening,
sustained winds near 50 kt (25 m s–1) encompassed
most of southeast Lake Superior, with more localized
sustained winds in excess of 60 kt (30 m s–1).
These winds generated waves in excess of 7.5 m,
which moved from west to east across southeast Lake
Superior, nearly perpendicular to the documented
track of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
At around 0015 UTC
11 November 1975, the Edmund Fitzgerald was lost
with all hands, coincident in both time and location
with the most severe simulated and observed conditions
on Lake Superior during the storm. A ship
following a similar course to the Edmund Fitzgerald,
but six hours earlier or later, would have avoided the
worst conditions associated with the storm."

Eariler in the report, it discussed how rare it was that seas of this type came from west-to-east, surmising that Capt McSorley had never seen conditions like this - as he radioed that it was the worst he had ever seen - and had no idea what he was n the middle of: > 70m mph winds, 25 foot+ waves coming perpendicular, and a periodicity of 8 sec [from the article I am seeking]. he fetch was basically the entire length of Superior - and the article says Superior is capable of producing waves of 10 m [33 feet]. Every 8 sec, a wave would completely engulf the deck of the Fitz - with just the 2 towers visible above the water.

That image is terrifying to me, 40 years later, sitting here on dry land.

God Bless the men of the Fitz, and all who sail the open waters.

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