An Historically Awful Day to Travel



On This Date In History: It wasn’t supposed to be able to happen. Modern ships. Modern communications. Modern radar. A huge Atlantic Ocean. Yet, two ships managed to run into one another on

Doria Sunk

Doria Sunk

the high seas off the coast of Nantucket on this date in 1956 and what resulted was “the greatest rescue of all time.” At 11:10 pm the Swedish liner Stockholm and Italian Liner Andrea Doria collided in heavy fog. The Italians(over 1700 passengers) were coming from Europe to New York while the Swedes(just under 750 passengers) were headed home from the New World. The Stockholm was traveling a bit north of its recommended route in an effort to save time. Fog was thick. The Doria had a much more sophisticated radar and picked up the Stockholm at a distance of 17 miles. The Stockholm radar operator picked up the Doria at 12 miles. Like the Stockholm, the Doria was trying to keep its schedule and only slightly reduced speed in spite of the reduced visibility. So, both Captains seemed to have sacrificed safety in the name of speed.

Apparently, the normal procedure for ships passing was port to port. But for some reason, the Italian Captain

Stockholm Damage

Stockholm Damage

decided to turn port and make an unconventional starboard to starboard passage. It is thought the Italian Captain thought that the Swede was doing the same thing. Why these guys didn’t get on the radio and talk about it is a mystery. Or maybe they did and there was a language barrier. Whatever the case, the two slammed into each other. The Stockholm had a reinforced, ice breaker bow and just sliced the Doria.   The Stockholm sustained damage and a handful of crew members died.   Nearly 50 passengers and crew died on the Doria as the ice-breaker bow cut into passenger quarters. One man watched in horror as his wife was dragged out of the Doria never to be seen again. But one story caught the attention of the press and forever dubbed 14 year-old Linda Morgan as the “the miracle girl.” Morgan was taken from her bunk on the Doria as the two ships separated.   She was found on board the Stockholm. I do not think she was charged with being a stow away.

The Doria listed badly so only half of her lifeboats were available for evacuation. The Stockholm though lowered its boats and other liners in the area quickly answered the doomed Doria’s mayday call. It is the greatest maritime rescue in the annals of history with 1660 souls plucked from the sea.

Moral to this story: You can have the most sophisticated top-shelf equipment and technology in the world. But if you’ve got a doofus operating that stuff, its worthless.

A Uniique way to lose your luggage

A Uniique way to lose your luggage

On This Date in 2008: Remember in Rain Man when Raymond wanted to fly Quantas because it was the only airline in the world that had never had a crash? Well, I’m not sure if that is still true but the Australian airline avoided one on July 25 2008 when for unknown reasons, a chunk of fuselage ripped away or it broke open at 29,000 feet. That’s about the altitude of Mt. Everest. The plane expereience rapid decompression causing the air masks to drop in the passenger section and the plane descended rapidly. The pilot managed to make an emergency landing. Here is the story from the AP via the NYTimes’ International Herald Tribune followed by video from MSNBC. The first video does have the MSNBC anchors jibbering on and its not that exciting but it does show what it’s like in a plane full of over 300 people when an emergency occurs. It also has a nice shot of the hole in the plane. The next story is a fuller, MSNBC report and it looks pretty lame to me…but you can decide for yourself.

Global Edition of New York Times-“Big Hole”

Video From Inside Plane after air masks deployed

Lame MSNBC Story

203_concorde_crash2On This Date in 2000 The Concorde made its final flight. The supersonic passenger jet was taking off from Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris en-route to New York where it would take its 100 passengers to a cruise ship headed to South America. However, the plane hit a tiny piece of titanium debris, dropped on the runway by a previous plane, that punctured a tire. A piece of the tire hit and ruptured a fuel tank. Leaking fuel then ignited by a spark from the landing gear. The engine was soon engulfed and the engine failed. With only three engines, it was impossible to gain altitude or maintain control. The plane crashed and all 109 passengers and crew were killed along with 4 people on the ground. The Concorde went back into service in November 2001 but a few minor mishaps caused the public to lose confidence in the aircraft and the planes were taken out of service in October 2003. The Bob Symon/Ward Cleaver moral of this story is to clean up your mess.

Here is some video (click here for video) with still photos of the Concorde in flames on its fateful flight.

On This Date in 1832: The first railroad disaster took place. A group of 4 people were invited to see the new marvel of technology. The Granite Railway near Quincy, Massachusetts. The four visitors were put in an empty car for a ride. A cable snapped on the car in which they were riding and the visitors were tossed off a 34 foot cliff, killing one and seriously injuring the others. The Bob Symon/Ward Cleaver moral to this story is you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. Twenty-Eight years later, just prior to the Civil War, over 30,000 miles of railroad track criss-crossed the nation. OR…if you don’t like that moral, how about this? Don’t ride on strange trains.

Maybe the biggest moral to these stories is not to travel on July 25.

SPC Convective Outlook Sat 8am to Sun 8am

SPC Convective Outlook Sat 8am to Sun 8am

Tornado Risk

Tornado Risk

Weather Bottom Line:  I don’t think anyone got this right.  Last night the forecast said it would be dry until this afternoon.  I was awakened by rain and t’storms this morning.  My guess is that a line formed overnight after the late newscast because I can’t imagine that the line that was way up in Illinois got down here that fast, but perhaps it did.  I don’t have the time to look and see.  But, we can deal with what is in store.  We still have a cold front to our northwest moving down our way.  Initially, it was to come through this evening or overnight.  It would appear to have picked up a little more forward momentum and will now get here either late this afternoon or this evening. 

Now, this stuff we got this morning has robbed the local atmosphere of some of its energy and it needs time to reload.  But, by mid-morning there were still showers trying to come through.  The SPC has extended the severe risk all through our area

Severe Wind Risk

Severe Wind Risk

with the idea that perhaps afternoon heating will destablize the atmosphere sufficiently to allow for the development of a strong line of storms late in the day.  I think its a bit up in the air whether or not that will actually happen given the clouds we have left over from the morning storms.  So, if late in the day and into the evening, t’storms are coming, then keep an eye to the sky for the potential for strong storms.  But, before you panic, check out the National Weather Service to see if there is any severity involved.  The front will serve to reinforce the cooler than average conditions and almost make it a certainty that we will not get to 90 this July.

DAY 1 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK 
   NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
   0753 AM CDT SAT JUL 25 2009
   
  

Severe Hail Risk

Severe Hail Risk

 VALID 251300Z – 261200Z
  
   …THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS OVER PARTS OF THE OH VLY AND
   LWR GRT LKS…
  
   …THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS OVER PARTS OF THE NRN RCKYS…
  
   …SYNOPSIS…
   LITTLE CHANGE IN LARGE SCALE PATTERN EXPECTED THIS PERIOD.  RIDGE
   WILL HOLD FIRM SOUTH OF THE FOUR CORNERS AS LK SUPERIOR UPR LOW
   DRIFTS SLOWLY E TO NEAR SSM AND COMPACT LOW PERSISTS OVER ERN WA.
  
   IMPULSES MOVING SEWD ON SW SIDE OF THE LK SUPERIOR SYSTEM WILL
   MAINTAIN AT LEAST WEAK LARGE SCALE FORCING FOR ASCENT ACROSS THE OH
   VLY AND LWR GRT LKS.  FARTHER SW…SATELLITE AND ECMWF/GFS DATA SHOW
   A SERIES OF WEAK IMPULSES TOPPING WRN RDG THAT WILL MOVE FROM THE
   CNTRL/NRN RCKYS SE INTO THE CNTRL PLNS.
  
   COLD FRONT NOW EXTENDING FROM NRN MI INTO THE MID MS VLY SHOULD
   CONTINUE STEADILY ESE…BUT MAY LOSE SOME IDENTITY AS UPR SYSTEM
   LINGERS OVER LK SUPERIOR AND A SECONDARY FRONTAL SURGE EVOLVES OVER
   WI/IL.  WRN PART OF THE ORIGINAL FRONT SHOULD MOVE S INTO OK AND THE
   TX PANHANDLE…WHERE IT LIKELY WILL STALL TONIGHT/EARLY SUN.
  
   …MID MS VLY/OH VLY TO LWR GRT LKS…
   MESO HIGH WITH PRE-FRONTAL MCS NOW OVER OH/KY HAS WEAKENED
   CONSIDERABLY SINCE EARLIER TODAY…SUGGESTING THAT CONVECTIVE SYSTEM
   IS CLOSE TO DISSIPATION.  NEVERTHELESS…VWP DATA AND MOMENTUM
   CONSIDERATIONS INDICATE THAT REMAINING CONVECTIVE BAND SHOULD
   CONTINUE E/ESE ACROSS ERN OH/ERN KY AND INTO PARTS OF PA/WV BEFORE
   COMPLETELY DISINTEGRATING.  ASSOCIATED CLOUDS AND DISRUPTED LOW LVL
   CONVERGENCE PATTERN WILL COMPLICATE CONVECTIVE EVOLUTION OVER THE
   REGION THROUGH THE DAY.  BUT IT SEEMS PROBABLE THAT ATTENDANT MCV
   AND REMNANT OUTFLOW BOUNDARY WILL SERVE TO FOCUS RENEWED STORM
   DEVELOPMENT BY EARLY AFTN OVER PARTS OF NY/PA AND WV.  ADDITIONAL
   STORMS…MEANWHILE…LIKELY WILL FORM AS SFC HEATING DESTABILIZES
   AREA INVOF COLD FRONT UPSTREAM ACROSS WRN OH…SRN IND…AND SRN IL.
  
   RELATIVELY RICH LOW LVL MOISTURE NOW OVER THE MID MS/LWR OH VLY
   REGION WILL SPREAD ENE WITH WSWLY LLJ INTO THE UPR OH VLY…BOOSTING
   SBCAPE TO AROUND 2000 J/KG FROM WRN OH SW INTO PARTS OF IND/KY.
   SOMEWHAT WEAKER DESTABILIZATION SHOULD OCCUR OVER PARTS OF WV/PA/NY.
    COUPLED WITH 30-40 KT DEEP WSWLY SHEAR…SETUP LIKELY WILL SUPPORT
   A COMPLEX ARRAY OF STORMS…WITH SEVERAL LOOSELY ORGANIZED BANDS AND
   CLUSTERS.  THESE MAY INCLUDE A FEW SUPERCELLS IN ADDITION TO LEWPS
   WITH BOWING SEGMENTS.  DMGG WIND SHOULD BE THE PRIMARY SVR THREAT.
   HOWEVER…0-1 KM SHEAR AND MOISTURE AVAILABILITY ALONG THE LLJ AXIS
   WILL BE SUFFICIENT FOR ISOLD TORNADOES WITH ANY SUSTAINED
   SUPERCELLS.
  
   ALTHOUGH A FEW STRONG STORMS MAY CONTINUE INTO THE OVERNIGHT…MOST
   OF THE CONVECTION SHOULD DIMINISH BY MID/LATE EVE.
  
   …ERN CO/NE NM INTO SRN KS/NRN OK…
   MODERATE INSTABILITY WILL DEVELOP TODAY INVOF CNTRL/SRN PLNS COLD
   FRONT…WITH 1000-1500 J/KG SBCAPE POSSIBLE WHERE EML PLUME
   OVERSPREADS MOIST AXIS.  STRONG CAP…SHALLOW/WEAK FRONTAL
   CONVERGENCE…AND WEAK FORCING FOR ASCENT /ASSOCIATED WITH
   AFOREMENTIONED UPR IMPULSES/ TOGETHER SUGGEST ANY STORMS THAT DO
   FORM OVER SRN KS/NRN OK WILL REMAIN ISOLATED.  MORE CONCENTRATED
   ACTIVITY SHOULD OCCUR IN WEAK UPSLOPE FLOW OVER ERN CO/NE NM.  30+
   KT DEEP WNW SHEAR ACROSS THE REGION MAY SUPPORT A FEW
   ROTATING/SUSTAINED STORMS WITH ISOLD LARGE AND LOCALLY DMGG WINDS.
   OVERALL SVR THREAT SHOULD…HOWEVER…BE LIMITED BY WEAKNESS OF LOW
   LVL FLOW IN THE HI PLNS…AND BY STRENGTH OF CAP OVER THE LWR PLNS.
  
   …WRN MT…
   A SIMILAR SETUP TO FRIDAYS WILL PREVAIL OVER WRN MT…ON ERN SIDE OF
   PERSISTENT WA UPR LO.  MODEST ELY UPSLOPE FLOW AND DEWPOINTS IN THE
   40S TO AROUND 50 BENEATH STEEP MID LVL LAPSE RATES WILL SUPPORT
   MARGINAL INSTABILITY /500-1000 J PER KG MLCAPE/.
   HOWEVER…SATELLITE SUGGESTS THAT HEIGHTS WILL RISE SOMEWHAT OVER
   THE REGION AS FOUR CORNERS RIDGE TEMPORARILY BUILDS NWD.
   NEVERTHELESS…SCTD DIURNALLY-ENHANCED STORMS SHOULD ONCE AGAIN
   FORM…MAINLY OVER THE HIGHER TERRAIN.  30+ KT MID LVL FLOW ON SE
   SIDE OF UPR LOW WILL MAINTAIN SUFFICIENT SHEAR FOR SOME STORMS TO
   POSE A THREAT FOR HAIL AND LOCALLY DMGG WIND.
  
   ..CORFIDI/GRAMS.. 07/25/2009

7 Responses

  1. OK, Bob. What’s up? I’ve commented for the last few days and you’ve not responded back. Was it something I said? I haven’t called you a “Global Warming Denier” (I’m one!) in several weeks!! OK, I’m kidding. Hopefully, you’re busy tracking down the perfect job for a man of your considerable talents.

    Often times in companies the guys who bend the rules a bit and get away with it are rewarded. How much you want to bet that both the Stockholm and Andrea Doria captains were well regarded by the respective companies for being “efficient”. In the end when you take shortcuts it catches up with you. No doubt these captains were both under pressure to be on schedule and were probably rewarded for when they were ahead of schedule. That still happens today with airline pilots and ship captains, no doubt, and it puts everyone at risk.

    It also shows that in spite of all of our modern equipment and ingenuity that life is still lethal. No guarantees, that’s for sure. We need to be ready to go because we never know, in spite of our modern technology, when that time will come.

  2. The reply button became a little more difficult. Besides, I didn’t know anything about the Slocum incident of which you spoke. How about that rain/storms this morning. I think everyone on TV said it would be dry until the afternoon. Whoops! Honestly, I probably would have done the same thing. Hey it happens. Shortcuts…the accountants love them until they lead to the reason why the shortcut was not the proper procedure in the first place…the short cut can lead to disaster. And yes..been pretty busy of late…something good will happen

  3. Glad to hear that things are looking up. I would imagine that one of your problems in life is that you’re OVER-qualified for many things. Yeah, I was a little surprised to wake up to wet streets this morning (I didn’t hear any thunder). Everything I saw yesterday called for late evening / early night storms. Oops. They probably said “50% chance” so it’s OK.
    When I was a kid I happened on a book about the General Slocum disaster. I read the book and looked at the pictures with morbid fascination. It was a pretty nasty event. Of course the Eastland disaster was terrible enough. I guess we go for numbers in such disasters–The Slocum beat the Eastland out by a bit. The Andrea Doria was a pretty small event by comparison. Of course, if it’s one of your loved ones then numbers don’t matter much, I suppose.

  4. The Doria had moving pictures. People actually saw a ship sink. Also it had a dramatic storyline with the girl going from one ship to the other. If you think about it, one might say it was the first modern day news event. Just think what it would be like today with 24 hour cable and the internet. But, probably still not as widely reported as Michael Jackson.

  5. great post, I found it useful where did you stated in historically awful day to travel

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