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Fall storm sweeps North Shore with high winds, low pressures

Boat on the beach near Angry Trout Cafe, Grand Marais harbor, October 27, 2010
Boat on the beach near Angry Trout Cafe, Grand Marais harbor, October 27, 2010

The fall storm that’s currently beating up on Cook County and the Arrowhead Region has set Minnesota’s all-time record for the lowest pressure reading. says the storm is of historic proportions and could be the second strongest recorded storm ever to hit the area.
The low pressure system moving over Minnesota toward Ontario is being compared to a Category 3 hurricane without the 111 to 130 mile-per-hour winds. The low pressure record fell in Aitkin this morning, but weather stations in the Arrowhead have fallen below that into Tuesday afternoon.
The Weather Service also says a wind advisory is in effect through 6 p.m. tomorrow for the North Shore. Also, gale and storm warnings are out for the open waters of Lake Superior where waves could reach as high as 27 feet by early Wednesday morning. The lake storm warning is in effect until 6 a.m. Thursday.
Shortly before noon Tuesday the National Weather Service issued a flood advisory for southern Lake and southeastern St. Louis counties, including the area near Isabella. That was due to heavy rain and high water over Highway 1 in the Isabella area due to ponding water and high stream flows. The heavy rain was scheduled  to persist into the afternoon.
As for the low pressure record, the National Weather Service’s preliminary reports show that the automated weather station at Aitkin reported a pressure reading of 28.42 inches at 10:13 a.m. Tuesday.  That reading broke the November 10, 1998 record of 28.43 inches of mercury set at Albert Lea and Austin in southern Minnesota. It also set off a continuing beating of the new record by other weather stations across northeastern Minnesota.
The weather service said that the low continues to deepen and pressure was predicted to continue falling throughout this afternoon. At the Cook County Airport, the pressure dropped to 28.49 at 12:56 p.m. after it hit the same level at the harbor in Grand Marais an hour or so earlier. By 12:56 p.m. the harbor pressure had risen to 28.50.
At 1:53 p.m. the Chisholm-Hibbing Automated Reporting Station turned a reading of 28.28 to continue beating the state record. At 2:12 p.m. the Eveleth Airport Automated Station reported a reading of 28.29. At 1:55 p.m. International Falls International Airport reported 28:32 and at 2:14 p.m. reported 28:33. At12:20 p.m. Lavona Czaplicki’s backyard weather station in Schroeder reported a reading of 28.37 inches.  Duluth International Airport had 28.39 at 11:55 a.m. and Silver Bay turned in a 28.40-inch reading at 12:33 p.m.
All of these readings are well below the 28.95-inch mark set during on Nov. 10, 1975 in the storm that sank the ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald under Lake Superior’s waters.
National Weather Service forecasters say that the on-going wind advisory is due to the high-speed winds that are rushing into the low pressure center like water into a funnel. At this time of year, and in the spring, contrasting temperatures across the region squeeze the low pressure centers forcing the circulating winds into a tighter and faster rotation.
Between 1 and 1:30 p.m Tuesday the “eye” of the storm was noticeable from the Grand Marais harbor with blue sky visible. As the system passes, the winds will switch from east southeast through the south and into the west. The storm is expected to gain strength again as the low meanders into Ontario. The wind advisory remains in effect until 6 p.m. Wednesday as winds will continue to blow above 30 miles per hour. Wind gusts so far have topped 40 miles per hour both at the harbor and at the Cook County Airport.
 The National Weather Service issued a storm warning at 1 p.m. this afternoon for the open waters that is in effect until 6 a.m. Thursday morning. The strongest sustained winds of up to 47 knots are expected from the southeast around 11p.m. Tuesday night with gusts to 56 knots. The largest waves of up to 27 feet could occur around 5 a.m. Wednesday morning.
All day Tuesday, winds have been blowing from the southeast. By nightfall, winds will be from the south along the North Shore before turning west at 20 miles per hour gusting to 25. There’s an 80% chance of rain along the shore tonight with a low of around 38. By Wednesday, the precipitation backs off with showers likely and west winds of 25 miles per hour gusting to 35. The high along the shore will be about 42.
The Inland forecast shows another 80% chance of rain Tuesday night with a low of about 36. Winds will blow from the south at 10 to 15 miles per hour becoming west with gusts as high as 20. There is a 70% chance of showers likely tomorrow inland with a high near 42 and west winds gusting at 15 to 20 miles per hour gusting to 25.
The storm is part of a massive hurricane-like system weeping from the Dakotas to the eastern Great Lakes. An F-1 tornado did damage to industrial buildings in Racine County, WI. Outgoing flights were cancelled at O’Hare International in Chicago and high wind warnings were in effect for Minnesota, the Dakotas, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and five other states.
There’s also a blizzard warning out for North Dakota into northern South Dakota that says 10 inches of snow could fall there into Wednesday morning.