Pat Shingleton: "The Edmund Fitgerald and Stocking Rate..."
Early November weather events created headlines in days-gone-by. On November 10, 1975, 78 mph winds created waves that caused the 729 foot, 13,600 ton ore carrier, Edmund Fitzgerald, to break-in-half and sink in Lake Superior claiming the crew of 29. November 9, 1982 found seven tornadoes touching down in Los Angeles, CA with three of the twisters originating as waterspouts in Malibu and Long Beach. On November 10, 1998, a "land hurricane" set an all-time record for low pressure for the state of Iowa, measuring 28.54 in Estherville and Spencer. The same system cranked winds of 93 mph at La Crosse and Mackinac Island, WI. November 11, 1995 found one of the oldest trees in Alabama toppled by high winds. The storm system swept through the Kymulga Grist Park in Talladega. The 100 foot tree was six feet in diameter and between 200 and 300 years old. And finally, for cattle and sheep ranchers a “stocking rate” reflects how many animals a designated area of acreage will support. The USDA/Agricultural Research Center reported the unpredictability of precipitation causes difficulty for ranchers in the Great Plains to estimate this rate. Scientists have developed a new computer model to assist the ranchers. By extrapolating National Weather Service seasonal weather predictions a new model tests various scenarios for forage yields and the weight gains of livestock under a variety of weather conditions. Ranchers will now be able to better estimate if precipitation will likely be above or below normal for a given season. This model will also determine the effects of increased carbon dioxide and higher temperatures on pasture forage. Testing on the model will continue through the Central Plains.