The immense volume of water in the five Great Lakes holds heat that allows the lakes to remain relatively warm for much later into the year and postpones the Arctic spread in the region. During the autumn months, two major weather tracks converge over the area. Cold, dry air moves south/southeast from the province of Alberta and northern Canada; warm, moist air moves north/northeast from the Gulf of Mexico, along the lee of the central Rocky Mountains. The collision of these masses forms large storm systems in the middle of the North American continent, including the Great Lakes. When the cold air from these storms moves over the lakes, it is warmed by the waters below and picks up a spin. As the cyclonic system continues over the lakes, its power is intensified by the jet stream above and the warm waters below.

The result is commonly referred to as a “November gale” or “November witch.” Such a storm can maintain hurricane-force wind gusts, produce waves over 50 feet (15 m) high, and dump several inches of rain or feet of snow. Fuelled by the warm lake water, these powerful storms may remain over the Great Lakes for days. Intense winds ravage the lakes and surrounding shores, severely eroding and flooding the shorelines.

November gales have been a bane of the Great Lakes, with at least 25 killer storms striking the region since 1847. During the Big Blow of 1905, 27 wooden vessels were lost. During a November gale in 1975, the giant ore bulk carrier SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank suddenly with all hands, without a distress signal. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story set during a November gale on the Great Lakes.
Journaling Prompt: Write about the worst storm you’ve ever weathered.

Art Prompt: Storm at sea

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a dramatic story about a storm on the Great Lakes.

Photo Credit: Great Lakes 1913 Storm Shipwrecks on Wikimedia

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