Eintime Conversion for education and research 10-20-2007 @ 07:24:19
Copyrighted by originating associated source: Original

By Bob Swanson and Doyle Rice


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Was weather a factor in bridge collapse?

As a meteorologist and journalist, my instinct is to check weather conditions when tragedy strikes. More often than not, this is in the event of a plane crash when several weather factors can indeed come into play (rain/fog obscuring visibility, lightning, icing on wings, wet/icy runway, downbursting winds, crosswinds, etc.).

I got news of the Minneapolis bridge collapse last night while watching television. I checked the observation from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, which is quite close to the site of the collapse, and the 6 p.m. CT temperature was 91°F, after hitting a high of 92°F earlier in the afternoon. Winds were out of the southwest at 17 mph. The high temperature for the day was 9 degrees warmer than average, but also 9°F shy of the record of 101°F set in 1988. This warm day followed a month of warm weather in the Twin Cities -- the average high in July was 2.4°F above the monthly average, making July 2007 33rd-warmest on record as ranked by average daily high temperature.

I'm not a civil or structural engineer, but could warm, but not excessively hot, weather have taken a toll on the bridge's expansion joints and played a part in compromising the bridge's structural integrity? I welcome your thoughts on this topic -- click the comment button below to voice your opinion.

Posted by Bob Swanson
(Original Len: 1893 Condensed Len: 2289)

10-20-2007 @ 07:24:19