Since Wednesday, a powerful cyclone with winds of hurricane-force has been making its way across the country hitting parts of the Plains, Upper Midwest, Great Lakes, Ohio Valley, and Northeast.
The storm has spawned some nasty weather including blizzards in Minneapolis, flooding along the Great Lakes, and tornadoes across central Iowa. And it’s expected to persist through Friday afternoon, the Weather Underground reported.
Here’s a map from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of wind speeds expected for today at 4 pm — the Northeast will feel the final gust from this thing:
Unlike the cyclones we’re used to seeing develop over oceans, this cyclone formed over land.
It’s what meteorologists call the “Witch of November” or simply the “November Witch,” and it’s not the first one to strike our country. Records of the November Witch causing problems date as far back as the 1860s.
These storms should not be taken lightly. Here’s what the coast at Grand Haven Michigan looked like on Thursday:
The November Witch is a consequence of cool, low-pressure air that’s migrated down from Canada mixing with warm, high-pressure air that’s come up from Mexico.
When the two mix, they can begin to rotate and if that rotation picks up enough speed, it forms a funnel. The result is a powerful cyclone with hurricane-force winds.
Most years, the witch goes unnoticed, but this year’s crazy events were impossible to ignore. Millions have been affected either by snow-covered roads (like the on in Denver shown below), power outages, flight delays, flooding, vehicle damage, and more.
At least two semi-trailer trucks were tipped over by high winds, NBCNews reported on Thursday.
So far, the highest wind speeds reported this year were in Kansas City and over Michigan Lake that reached over 60 mph. More than 12,000 people in Kansas City lost power. And lakeshore flooding has led to the closing of streets like Route 5 in Hamburg, New York.
This year’s November Witch is being compared to a similar one that struck in 1975 and conjured wind speeds so high that the resulting waves sunk the Great Lake freighter ship called the Edmund Fitzgerald.
The most severe November Witch in recorded history hit between Nov. 7-10 in 1913, that led to over a dozen ship wrecks and an estimated 250 deaths. It’s estimated to have caused today’s equivalent of $US117 million in damage.
Luckily, there are no news reports of sunken ships this year.
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