|The "Siberian Express" air mass formed over Siberia before moving over Cleveland, bringing record-breaking low temperatures. |
Mid-latitude cyclones are common in the Great Lakes region. By the time they reach Cleveland they are typically in the cold-type occlusion stage and are responsible for abundant precipitation from October through March ("Temperate Climate"). Under the right conditions they can create severe storms.
Mid-latitude cyclones are often produced along the lee side of the Rocky Mountains when cold dry air from the north collides with warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. In November, the water temperatures of the Great Lakes are still relatively high and will feed a passing storm with additional warm moist air. When the cold front passes over the lakes, the warm air rises and causes atmospheric instability. The storms that result from this phenomenon are referred to as "November Gales". 1913 witnessed the worst November Gale in history when a mid-latitude cyclone converged over the Great Lakes with a low-pressure system from the south and was further intensified by a strong jet stream aloft (Wagenmaker and Mann). Hurricane-force winds of over 74 miles per hour and massive waves led to the sinking of 12 large ships and many smaller vessels. Over 250 people perished. The storm dumped 17 inches of snow in one day on Cleveland with drifts up to 6 feet in height (Kellogg).
|The "White Hurricane" of 1913 dumped a total of 22 inches of snow on Cleveland, with 17 inches falling in just 24 hours.|
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