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Great Lakes region braces for "Storm of the Decade"

Bryan Alaspa's picture

The Great Lakes region of the United States is preparing for a large storm system to work its way through bringing severe storms, possible tornadoes and high winds over the next several days. Emergency officials in Chicago have warned residents to take the threat seriously and, if at all possible, to stay inside until the weather passes. Already, this morning, the city has seen high wind gusts and is under a Tornado Watch while many customers have reported power outages and flight delays at the airports.

The weather has been predicted for several days as meteorologists have been watching a massive storm producing hurricane-force winds has been developing to the West. Many are calling the storm “the worst in 70 years.” There have been comparisons to storms such as the storm that sunk the 700-foot tanker ship, Edmund Fitzgerald, back in 1975.

Watches have been issued ahead of the storm

The National Weather Service has issued a high-wind advisory for much of the area. Wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour are to be expected. Severe thunderstorms are also possible as a strong cold front moves through an area that had been experiencing extremely high and unseasonable temperatures. The slow-moving area of low pressure had already caused some damage to northern areas of Chicago this morning including downing power lines. A Tornado Watch has also been issued for much of the area effective until 11 a.m.

Already there have been delays at the three major airports in northern Illinois and Wisconsin. O’Hare, Midway and Mitchell airports were reporting a stoppage of ground traffic which meant that planes were not allowed to land. This was, in turn, causing delays for departing flights.

Lake Michigan is also expected to experience severe waves and weather. Storm force winds of 48 knots or higher have been predicted. Anyone who still has a boat in the water is advised to keep it docked until the storm passes.

Some have already said this could be the second-most powerful storm to hit the Great Lakes region in its history. The storm from 1975 hit in November and caused high winds and snow storms. The Edmund Fitzgerald was one of the largest tanker-type ships on the Great Lakes and the storm became so severe it sank the massive vessel in several seconds.

Any resident who spots a downed power line is urged to contact Com Ed. The number is 800-EDISON-1. Any downed trees or other damage should be reported to the Chicago area’s non-emergency number 311.

Comments

Submitted by robertT on
The large waves of the storm play a role in all of the published theories regarding SS Edmund Fitzgerald's sinking. The Great Lakes weather system is a cyclonic one. The Jet Stream creates atmospheric pressure and energy instead of using the warm ocean currents which is much like the Gulf of Mexico. This is why Bloomberg says the Great Lakes storms are cyclonic just like the Gulf of Mexico. The current weather system has central barometric pressure of up to 28.35 inches. The current system is drawing comparisons to the Nov. 10, 1975 storm system over Lake Superior that led to the sinking of the <a href="http://personalmoneystore.com/moneyblog/2009/11/10/anniversary-edmund-fitzgerald/">Edmund Fitzgerald</a> and loss of all 29 hands. The storm in which the tanker sunk had a central pressure of 28.95 inches. By comparison, a Category Three Hurricane often has about 28 inches of central pressure.

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