Great Lakes Water Levels and Ice Extent

March 27th, 2015 at 4:04 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Lake Michigan ice from an airplane Joe Falicki 3 22 15 two    Here’s a couple of great pics. from Joe Falicki taken last Sunday, showing the ice along the Michigan shore of Lake Michigan.  Great Lakes ice cover as I write this early Friday morning is at 51.2%. The link will give you the latest ice extent. The ice cover on all the Great Lakes is slowly breaking up and melting. Ice extent on the Great Lakes usually peaks in early March. Right now ice extent stands at 24.3% on Lake Michigan…for Lake Superior 63.6%, Lake Huron 52.0%, Lake Erie 82.9% and Lake Ontario (21.1%). Lake Erie is the southernmost Great Lake, but usually gets the highest percentage of surface ice cover, because it’s a relatively shallow lake (average depth 62 feet). Check out the graph of ice extent this season for lakes Superior, Huron, Erie and Ontario. Compare Great Lakes ice today to Great Lakes ice one year ago. Here’s a year-to-year comparison for Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Great Lakes ice cover peaked last year on March 6th at 92.5%, a little below the record of 94.7% in 1979. Zoomed in pic. of West Michigan showing the snow cover and ice on Lake Michigan from 3/11.

The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is steady in the last month, but up 20″ in the last year. The lake(s) are 7″ above the March average water level. Lake Superior is down 2″ in the last month, but up 6″ year-to-year. Superior is still 7″ above the historic average for March. Lake Erie is up 2″ in the last month, at the same level as one year ago and now 2″ below the average for March. Lake Ontario is down 1″ in the last month, down 5″ year-to-year and it’s 10″ below the long term average. Lake St. Clair is up 15″ in the last month (due to ice clogging the Detroit River.  The lake is up 11″ year-to-year and 8″ above average.  Water levels on the St. Mary’s, St. Clair and Detroit rivers are expected to be above average for the next two weeks with the Niagara and St. Lawrence Rivers near average.

The Soo Locks are now open for the seasonstay off the iceGrand Rapids wants 10 million dollars to provide a barrier to block the sea lamprey after they take out the 6th St. dam.  With 192,000 people in G.R., if I did my math right at this late hour, that comes to $52.08 per person in G.R.  or $262.42 for a family of five…The question on everyone’s mind todayMichigan Ski Report.

Snow Up in the U.P.

March 26th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Grand Marais snow from alger co. road commission   Another 3.5″ of snow fell yesterday/last night in Grand Marais, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula.  They are back to 39″ of snow on the ground.  If they melt 1″ per day, their snow would last into May.  That’s on the level, with drifts and piles higher than that.  Other snow cover totals this morning:  28″ Munising, 24″ S. Ste. Marie (3.2″ new), 22″ Ishpeming (4.5″ new), 18″ Marquette airport (2″ new).  In Northern Lower Michigan, we have 4″ of snow on the ground in Gaylord, Honor (Benzie Co.) and Harbor Springs.  Snow showers are still occurring in Northern Michigan and even Southern Michigan will have a chance of a few light snow showers tonight as another Arctic front comes through and on Sunday, when we’ll get probably a mix of rain and snow.   Cold at this time of year isn’t a bad thing…it keeps the tornadoes to our south and it keeps the blossoms from coming out too soon and then getting clipped by a frost.

Frost is likely with this Arctic plunge all the way to SE Georgia with temperatures in the mid-upper 20s down to Charlotte NC.  Near record heat will build in the Southwest with Phoenix AZ forecast to reach 90 on 6 of the next 7 days.  Snow is falling in the mountains of Colorado, with 4″ of new snow in Dickinson ND.  Snow possible in MO/AR?   Flooding in Northern Chile…most likely in El Nino years.  Map of yesterday’s lightning in the Plains.  Snow and cold in Greenland!  Drifts to the roof at Summit Stn. with a temp. of -29C (happy spring in “Green”land).   Sunrise in Palm Beach, Florida - note the thunderstorm to the east over the warmer water in the Gulf Stream.  Wow!  Look at the snow hereTruck hits bridge on I-35 – bridge collapses.



1 Dead, Dozens Injured in OK Twisters

March 25th, 2015 at 8:27 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Mammatus better KFOR 3 25 15   Oklahoma Hail KFOR 3 25 15 WOW!  Check out the hail here!    Tornadoes, large hail and strong winds have hit Oklahoma, SE Kansas, SW Missouri and NW Arkansas.  Seven tornadoes have been reported…one in Sand Springs resulted in one fatality at a mobile home park and dozens of injuries…and another in Moore (a town that has had 2 EF5 tornadoes in 1999 and again in 2013 – path of Weds. tornado at link, the twister crossed I-35.  Cars were flipped on in both directions on I-35).  Three other tornadoes touched down in NW Arkansas.  Hail as large has softballs was reported in Tulsa, where schools will be closed today (Thurs.), winds hit 80 mph in the town of Westport and over 78,000 customers are without power in Oklahoma.  Flooding is also reported  Here’s SPC storm reports.  Follow the storms on KFOR in Oklahoma City and KJRH in Tulsa.  (pics. from KFOR).  SSEO forecast tornado likelihood wellRadio tower destroyedGas station destroyedGymnastics studio destroyedPic. of Tulsa/Sand Springs tornado.

2.9 magnitide earthquake northwest of Chicago.  Wednesday, Verkhoyansk, Siberia, saw its first day above freezing since Oct. 5, that’s 171 days ago!  Cherry blossoms in Birmingham ALWhat a difference a day makes – in Colorado.

First Tornado, First Moderate Risk

March 25th, 2015 at 2:39 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

day1otlk_1630   First Moderate Risk of the year.  Notice the new weather outooks from SPC have five levels now instead of just three.  The first tornado of the year in the U.S. was confirmed, a small EFO in Bull Shoals AR yesterday evening.

Here in Michigan, we never did get into the sunshine or warm air.  We peaked in the low 40s in G.R. and only 36 on the beach at Muskegon.  Gusts to around 30 mph this aftn.  G.R. had 0.32″ of rain, 0.45″ at Muskegon, only 0.11″ at Kalamazoo and Battle Creek.  There was some icing up north of Kent Co. and a few school closings/delays.  The temperature a mile above ground Friday AM will be near 0F – that’s really cold air for the last week of March.   No big storms for us, but another decent snow event for parts of the U.P.  From the Marquette Forecast Discussion:  “WITH THE POOL OF COLD AIR ACROSS CANADA…POTENTIAL WILL ALSO BE THERE FOR SIGNIFICANT LATE SEASON SNOWFALLS IN UPPER MI.”  Snow cover this morning:  16″ Marquette and Houghton, 22″ S. Ste. Marie, 26″ Munising and Big Bay, 35″ at Grand Marais.

Weds. Morning Rain Ends

March 25th, 2015 at 2:28 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

  Rain – possibly a period of freezing rain, windy (wind shift to the southwest), a little sun as we get into the “dry tongue” during the afternoon, especially southeast of a line from Kalamazoo to Lansing.  At 2 am last night there was thunder reported in the northwest Chicago suburbs – getting closer.  Temps. in the low-mid 30s early this AM – very dry air at the surface.  At 2 am, G.R. had a dewpoint of 16, Battle Creek just 11.  Leave a comment if the roads are getting slick in your area.  We went 21 days without measurable precipitation in G.R. (ending today).  Here’s the closing/delay list.   CPC has Michigan cool for the first week of April45+ severe hail reports yesterday, mostly from SW Missouri.  SPC did a nice job with their severe t-storm watch box yesterday.

Here’s Grand Rapids radar and Northern Michigan radar, NAM model 3-day snowfall forecast and GFS model 5-day snowfall forecast. Storm Total Snowfall will show the heaviest snow and Milwaukee looping radar. Regional radar and the Updated GRR NWS Short Term Discussion. More links: Northern Indiana radar, Chicago radar, Detroit radar and Milwaukee radar. Here’s College of DuPage Radar Map (pick any radar in the U.S.), College of DuPage Grand Rapids radar, the West Michigan Lightning Tracker, National Lightning Tracker, the local warning/advisory map and the National warning/watch/advisory map, a surface weather map. You can checkout the latest Grand Rapids NWS discussion, the Northern Indiana NWS discussion (includes the Michigan Counties that border Indiana), the discussion for Northern Lower Michigan, and Eastern Lower Michigan. Here’s the Spyglass Condos Weather Station the S. Haven GLERL station, the Muskegon GLERL station, the Grand Haven Steelheaders webcam and weather station, and the weather station at Holland State Park. Check out the Maranatha Webcam at Lake Michigan and links to webcams. Here’s the infrared satellite loop (night) and the visible satellite loop (daytime), Lake Michigan water temperatures (summer). Here’s recent storm reports from SW Michigan, Northern Michigan, NE Illinois, SE. Wisconsin, Upper Michigan and E. Michigan. Check out the wind and wave height at the South Mid-Lake Michigan Buoy (Apr. to Nov. only), the North Mid-Lake Michigan Buoy (Apr. to Nov. only), the buoy at Big Sable Point near Ludington and the weather station on the beach at St. Joseph. Here’s Michigan wind gusts from MesoWest, data from the MAWN agricultural weather stations and Weather Underground (data at the bottom from private weather stations). Here’s the Consumers Energy Power Outage Map, Here’s

Freezing Rain Advisory

March 24th, 2015 at 3:46 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

advisory  The G.R. National Weather Service has issued a Winter Wather Advisory, essentially north of a line from Muskegon to Greenville.  The Advisory will be in effect from 2 am to 11 am tomorrow.  The Advisory is for roughly 1/10th inch of freezing rain before temperatures rise above freezing from south to north across the area during the mid-morning.  There certainly could be icy spots, though the sun on the pavement today and any residual salt that hasn’t washed off with the dry weather over the past 3 weeks may help the situation.  Watch me on the news tonight for more.   Here’s the National Weather Service impact map.   Dry air over us now…at 5 pm, Muskegon had a dewpoint of +2 and a relative humidity of 17%.  Fremont had a dewpoint of -2 and a relative humidity of 15%.   There was a significant brush fire in western Ionia Co. this PM.

There’s a Severe T-Storm Watch for SW Missouri, where they have had over 20 reports of severe criteria hail.  Here’s a pic. of hail in Neosho, MissouriGolfball-sized hail here.   Snow on the beach in Chicago late afternoon today.  Note – My dad used to play in the band at the Edgewater Hotel.  My dad could play any percussion, harmonica – even a little violin.  Lots of sun at the Grand Canyon this PMCherry trees in bloom in AlabamaSunset between the spires of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Cullman, Alabama.  The top 3 US snowiest cities (as of March 21) for this winter: 3. Bangor, ME -131.5″, 2. Marquette, MI -157″, & 1. Sault St. Marie, MI -158.7″.   Cutting thru ice that formed last night in Green Bay.  It’s nice in Nice.

Sun Today, Rain Tonight, Wind Tomorrow

March 24th, 2015 at 2:23 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Lake Michigan Sunset Holland Beach Bum Joe 3 23 15   Chicago snow nbc5  Nice contrast here.  No snow in Holland yesterday, with a nice sunset (pic. from Beach Bum Joe thru ReportIt).  Pic. on the right from NBC5 in Chicago, where they got 5.6″ of snow officially at O’Hare.

We’ll see sunshine today, clouds come in from the SW this evening.  Rain starts from SW to NE between 1 am and 5 am…you’ll get about 4-6 hours of significant rain.  The overnight NAM has 0.54″ for G.R., the GFS-plot has 0.47″ – pretty similar, with most of the rain in G.R. from 3 am to 9 pm.  The European has a similar 0.49″ for G.R.  We get to 20 mph midday Weds. on the NAM and 25 mph on the GFS – probably a gust to 35-40 mph. early PM.  The GFS-plot has a sprinkle Thurs. and a mix on Sunday that includes 0.7″ snow and strong winds up to 29 mph at midday.  The GFS-plot doesn’t have us getting out of the upper 20s on Friday with a stiff north wind.  The European also has our temperatures at or below freezing Fri. PM.  -17.9 at 850mb Fri. am is impressive cold for the last week of March.  The Euro. also has temps. at least in the mid 60s on 4/1 with a chance of t-storms.

March is 2 deg. colder than average for G.R. so far, but with a whopping 66% sunshine. Today is the 21st day in a row without measurable precipitation (it probably won’t rain in G.R. until after midnight).

Also, one 1 day out of 23 this month when we’ve had any severe weather in the U.S.  That was 3/11 with 2 severe hail reports and 4 wind damage reports in Eastern NC and one power line down in NE Florida.  The sum total of wind damage that day was 5 power poles knocked down, two power outages, 4 trees down, one chair and one dog house destroyed.  That’s it for the whole country in the 23 days of March.  We do expect some severe weather in the S. Plains and Ohio Valley this midweek.

Deep freeze on the Great Lakes halts cargo shipping.  Great MODIS shot of Lake Ontario Monday PM.   Lots of ice on Lake Erie, but it is breaking up.  Cherry blossoms coming out in Alabama.   Sunset in Brouwershaven, Netherlands (is that a bird on the blade of the windmill?  like a stork sitting on a mini-volcano?

Monday Night

March 23rd, 2015 at 1:51 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

   The snow has exited and skies have cleared. Snow is passed just to the southwest and south of most of us.  Kalamazoo had about 1/2″.  Anywhere from 1-4′ fell in the counties that border Indiana with 2-5″ in N. Indiana.  Here’s snowfall totals from NE Illinois.  13.5″ new snow at Hollandale WI.    This system produced 6.5″ of new snow at Rochester MN. Here’s snowfall reports from S. Wisconsin.  Minnesota St. Police reported 164 separate vehicle crashes from noon to 8:30 pm Sunday – 20 injured, no fatalities.  GRR is 1.8 deg. colder than avg. for March – we’re virtually assured of ending colder than average.  That’s 11 months out of the last 15 months colder than average.  Monday is the 20th day in a row without measurable precipitation in G.R.  If you’re going to have a 3-week dry spell – early March isn’t a bad time to have that happen…better than late July or August.

Also:  6.1 magnitude e-quake in N. ChileCyclone Nathan continues to move across northern Australia.  Two weeks to MLB regular season and look at these tempsAnother shot of significantly cold air to follow the Weds. showers.  The entire state of Maine still has at least 8″ of snow on the ground. 95%, more than a foot and some over 40″!   The crescent moon seen from the Intl. Space Station (note what looks like a remnant t-storm anvil moving from left to right along the horizon).  Wildfire in ChinaFlooding somewhere in the Arab World.   Landslide in Montenegro.

How Long Since Last Tornado Warning

March 22nd, 2015 at 1:28 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

modis lake michigan  Tornado Warning days since   Here’s the MODIS satellite picture of Lake Michigan from Sat. PM (from NOAA Coastwatch).  You can see the (shrinking) area of ice along the Michigan shore (prevailing west wind blows it to the Michigan side of the lake).  The ice is getting thin in Green Bay – still thick up by the Mac. Bridge.  There is still some snow north of a line from Grand Haven to Higgins Lake.  Here’s a picture of Lake SuperiorLake HuronLake Erie (Thurs. pic.)…Lake Ontario (Thurs. pic.)…and a wider view of the Great Lakes.

Remember I mentioned Siberian snowfall in October as a predictor of what kind of winter we were going to have in the NE U.S.?   Here’s more.

The second map is the number of days since the last tornado warning within the County Warning Area (CWA) of each National Weather Service Office.  If you want to live in a place that just doesn’t get tornadoes…try the Northwest Coast of California.  No tornado warnings last year in the U.P.

Also, 6.89″ rain in Chambers, Texas – lots of +3″ totals.  18 days without measurable precipitation in G.R….longest stretch since 2002.  Dry weather leading to wildfires like this one…be VERY careful disposing of cigarettes, matches and any outdoor fires….loading the first cargo of the year at Lake Michigan.


March 21st, 2015 at 5:38 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Erase this   We have the first 4-8 Day SPC outlook area of 2015.  This is for next Tuesday.  It’s a 15% area under the new guidlines this year.  The old guidline was 30% for a Day 4-8 area.

We have had a few scattered showers move through during the early morning with a cool front.  That’ll usher in a little cooler air for the next 3 days.  The time for showers is Tuesday night into Wednesday…probably 1/4 to 1/2″…not enough to cause any significant flooding.

I don’t have a thread up for it…but feel free to comment on the NCAA Basketball Tournament, Tigers, Redwings, Cornerstone’s National Championship or whatever sport I missed.  Tigers open April 6 and Whitecaps April 9.

Snowing in Boston again…NYC has had 2-5″ of wet, slushy snow.  Cyclone Nathan has crossed the York Peninsula and is over the Gulf of CarpentariaShip leaving Sturgeon Bay Wisconsin going out into Lake Michigan at sunrise.  Nice shot of the solar eclipse from Svalbard, Norway.  More pics. here.  Shadow of the Moon on the Earth viewed from the Intl. Space Stn.  Happy face during the eclipse5.3 magnitude e-quake 100 mi SE of Mexico City.