Edmund Fitzgerald wreck weather re-analyzed
Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have re-analyzed the terrible weather that doomed the Great Lakes ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald on Nov. 10-11, 1975. The ship's sinking was memorialized in Gordon Lightfoot's 1976 ballad "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."
Combining all the data available from the period of the ship's sinking with modern computer modeling, the researchers have produced the most detailed and reliable estimates to date of the conditions that beset the ship and its crew of 29 that night on Lake Superior. The results, published this month in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, are terrifying.
The 729-foot ship, which was churning south toward the shelter of Whitefish Bay, appears to have encountered winds up to 69 mph, and gusts to hurricane force. Worse, the wind probably produced 25-foot waves - rare for the lake - running west to east, directly broadside to the ship. The conditions persisted for up to six hours. Earlier than that, or later, and the ship likely would have survived the night, the researchers suggest.
For the full report, click here, then click on "Print Version."