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Historical Great Lakes storms

Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer

October 27, 2010 — This week, a weather bomb has been pummeling parts of the country, bringing snow to some, intense thunderstorms to others, and powerful winds to just about anyone in its path. How does this storm stack up compared to other Great Lakes storms?

Historical storms in the Great Lakes
Historical storms in the Great Lakes

It's a monster storm that has packed a powerful punch.

This week, a low pressure system has been churning across the country, bringing heavy snow to the Prairies, thunderstorms and winds to Ontario, and damagaing tornadoes to the United States.

“Basically, anyone from Saskatoon east to Halifax, Churchill south to the Gulf of Mexico has been feeling the effects of this storm,” says Dayna Vettese, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

Brian Dillon is another meteorologist at The Weather Network. He adds, “the barometric pressure with this storm was the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane.”

Low pressure systems can dump heavy amounts of snow
Low pressure systems can dump heavy amounts of snow

So, how does this storm stack up against other weather events in the Great Lakes region? Here's a look at other significant storms.


On January 26, 1978, a blizzard struck the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes region. Up until then, it was the the lowest non-tropical atmospheric pressure ever recorded in the mainland United States. 51 people died as a result of the storm, and more than 50,000 members of the Ohio National Guard were called in. During this storm, the Ohio Turnpike was shut down for the first time ever.


The Armistice Day Storm, on November 11, 1940, tore across the Midwest region of the United States. Temperatures dropped sharply and were followed by powerful winds, rain, ice pellets and snow. Record low pressure was recorded in Wisconsin and Minnesota. A total of 154 deaths were blamed on the storm.


The Great Lakes Storm of 1913, also known as “White Hurricane,” was a blizzard with hurricane-force winds that devastated the U.S. Midwest, the Great Lakes Basin and the province of Ontario. 250 people died and 19 ships were destroyed. It is often referred to as the deadliest and most destructive natural disaster to ever hit the lakes.


In November 1975, a system with incredibly low pressure brought stormy conditions to the Great Lakes. Among the ships caught in the storm was the Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior. At 7 p.m. on November 10, the ship vanished from radar screen. The Edmund Fitzgerald sank, bringing all 29 crew with it.

With files from the National Weather Service

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