Titanic's fateful weather path - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Titanic's fateful weather path

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The Titanic was thought indestructible in its time and after it sank into the frigid Atlantic, much of the blame went to construction and navigation.  While weather data was much scarcer a century ago, the numbers are there if you know where to look. 

Footage from submersibles show our modern-day displays in their original home.  While passenger's final minutes were no doubt dramatic, the weather just before was anything but. 

Seas were placid and conditions were deceptively calm.  Strong north winds from late that winter pushed icebergs far south into the Atlantic.  With Greenland icebergs a known, numerous ice warnings were sent from other liners. By then, the Titanic was already dealing with slushy seas.  Several cold fronts passed through but one early on the morning of the 14th was especially strong.

With that cold front passing through, temperatures dropped from 60 to 33 in just a matter of hours.  The sea water, at 28 degrees, was easily could enough for icebergs to linger.  An Arctic dome of high pressure formed right behind that front.  It's been calculated at 1037 millibars, very strong for April in that area.  That kept seas glassy and winds light.  Those calm seas may have helped survivors cling onto overturned lifeboats. 

That may not have been the only oddity.  Theories hold that there although no moon was visible, there was actually a supermoon in place, with the moon close to earth.  That could have caused iceberg traffic, as Carl Nelson explains.

"Many of them come off of the glaciers and then get stuck in shallower water near Newfoundland.  But a greater tide, a higher tide, could have liberated more of those, shooting them into the ocean, creating a more dangerous situation."

Others believe there was a mirage created by a false horizon and that the iceberg wasn't seen until it was too late.  Lookouts spotted a haze that may have come from bending light.  The same rarity has actually been spotted along the Lake Erie shoreline in past weeks, with the sun appearing to rise twice.

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