Cold nights here in The OC with temps going down to the 40s. Yet a week ago we were basking in the sun with temps in the high 80s.
No one can deny the weather isn’t what it used to be…colder, hotter…and this year we’ve seen how super storms like Sandy can wreak havoc; they’ve even named the big cold front over the northwest “Brutus” for its brutal power.
Makes me wonder if a ship like the Titanic would hit an iceberg today with the dwindling ice cap.
We can’t change history. The Titanic did hit an iceberg and sink. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the weather conditions back then.
Here we go:
Iceberg right ahead.
When we hear those immortal words in a film about the Titanic, we stop munching our popcorn and hold our breath.
We know whatâ€™s coming. The Titanic is about to hit the iceberg and from that moment on, nothing will ever be the same on that grand ship.
Passengers play with the ice chunks fallen on deck; third class cabins on F deck start to flood, while mail clerks scramble to save the sacks of mail.
In first class, passengers feel a â€œjarâ€ in their staterooms and wonder what the fuss is all about.
The fuss is all about an iceberg four times the size of the Titanic.
Captain Lord Jack Blackthorn, the hero in my novel, “Titanic Rhapsody”, was aware of the danger:
He opened the porthole in his cabin to get a breath of fresh air and a cold breeze blew in, making him shiver. A strange, clammy smell shot up his nostrils.
Over the years, scientists and historians have speculated how the iceberg damaged the Titanic. Was it a growler? (A smaller icebergâ€“melted and mostly underwater.)
Did Captain Smith ignore the iceberg warnings? Iceberg warnings were not unusual in spring, but why did the captain cancel the lifeboat drill? No answer was ever given.
Did Bruce J. Ismay, Chairman and Managing Director of the White Star Line, encourage the captain to put on more speed to reach New York a day earlier?
All of these questions have been studied and written about in books, essays, and commentaries, but thatâ€™s not what weâ€™re about here today.
I find it fascinating that a series of weather events played a crucial part in Titanic hitting that iceberg.
According to the testimonies given by the surviving crew, hereâ€™s what we do know about what happened in April of 1912:
The captain was continuing at full speed that Sunday night in spite of the iceberg warnings. This was not unusual. For example, if he believed a fog was coming on, according to the thinking of that time, the captain was justified in getting through the ice region as quickly as possible.
We know the ship was heading away from what the captain believed was the iceberg field when he changed course from south to west; but he delayed the change by twenty minutes to travel farther south.
So instead of traveling away from the iceberg, that put the ship on a direct collision course with the berg, a huge mass of ice that had traveled farther south than was ever thought possible.
The cold Labrador Current swirled around the iceberg to form a protective layer, which insulated it from the warming effects of the Gulf Stream and prevented it from melting.
Pushing the iceberg into the shipping lanes.
When the Titanic hit that iceberg, a way of life changed forever.
And 1,517 people lost their lives.
We must never forget that.
Read an excerpt from Titanic Rhapsody and see the Video at:
The Titanic has a mystique that never fades, like a piece of Art Deco jewelry that is timeless in its design. I think it's the glamour and the fact it was the end of an era…along with the struggle of the emigrants to find new lives.
Even now there's a new exhibit of the jewelry found on the Titanic in a purser's safe from the 1987 dive…the three-city tour begins in Atlanta.
I wonder if people will ever stop speculating about what happened that night in 1912. But I doubt it would happen now, with the ice melting and warmer waters. Instead the Titanic might be engulfed by a super storm like the one in the movie The Perfect Storm. Who knows?
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