June, 2012

Lake/River Water Levels

June 30th, 2012 at 8:13 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

  Lake Michigan sunset by Ted Swoboda.  The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron (they are connected up by the Mac Bridge, so for level purposes, it’s one big lake) is unchanged from one month ago.  However, the lake level is down 7 inches from June 30, 2011.  The lake is 19″ below the century average, but still a foot higher than the low water point of 1964.  The highest water level Lake Michigan has had in recent decades was in the fall of 1986.  From 1964 to 1986, the lake level rose over five feet.  Lake Superior picked up a lot of water from the system that dumped 9″ of rain on Duluth in just 48 hours.  Lake Superior added 2″ of water in 24-hours (that’s 1.1 TRILLION) gallons).  Superior is 5″ in the past month and is 2″ above the level of one year ago.  Superior is still 7″ below the century average.  Lake Erie is down 3″ in the last month and is now 15″ below the level of one year ago.  The lake is 6″ below the century average.  Lake Ontario is down 1″ in the past month and is 15″ below the level of one year ago.


Gas Prices

June 30th, 2012 at 11:36 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

   The latest from Ed: “Saturday, June 30, 2012, 8:30AM:  Yesterday, due to some relief among speculators about financial events in Europe (which may be short-lived), and I suspect some Federal Reserve goosing of the markets, stocks soared.  Of course, that means oil and gas wholesale prices soared, too.  A barrel of oil cost almost 10% more by the end of the day versus the end of the day Tuesday, and Chicago wholesale prices jumped 18 cents.  Dropping retail prices plus soaring wholesale prices equals a price hike coming Monday.”


Severe Risk

June 30th, 2012 at 11:05 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

1630 UTC Day 1 Outlook 1630 UTC Day 2 Outlook 1630 UTC Day 3 Outlook These are the Severe Weather Outlooks from the Storm Prediction Center for Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3. The Slight Risk area for this Saturday covers the same area that got blasted by the derecho on Friday (read thread below – 4 dead, tens of millions in damage, 4 million without power).   Regional radar shows the storms to our south from Illinois to the East Coast. The best chance for storms in Lower Michigan will be Tues. into maybe early Weds. The overall hot weather pattern will persist.  The Saturday morning run of the NAM model is in (it’s 11:10 AM as I write this) and it gives G.R. a comfortable low of 62 tonight, 92 tomorrow, 90 on Monday, a chance of rain (less than 1/10 inch) Tues. AM and they 97 for a high Tues. PM (Kalamazoo and Lansing get 99.3).  We have to hope for rain – we need it – without the rain, we’ll have a better chance of reaching 100 degrees later next week or the week after.

3 PM – It’s 90 in Mt. Pleasant, Big Rapids and Ionia, 89 in Grand Rapids, 87 in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek (a bit more cloud cover south of G.R.  Beach temperatures much cooler.  Muskegon Lighthouse 72, S. Haven Lighthouse 70, Holland St. Park (at the water’s edge) 70.


Saturday AM Rain

June 29th, 2012 at 9:30 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Local 10:45 AM  Full sun north of G.R. and becoming partly cloudy south of Grand Rapids.  With sun on very dry ground, we should see temperatures back to at least the low 90s inland today, with the WSW wind making it 15 degrees cooler at the Lake Michigan beaches.  The NAM model takes us back to 96 on Monday and the European model has Grand Rapids in the low 100s next Friday (it tried to do that before and we only got to 97)…but if we’re solidly in the warm air and the ground is still dry, 100 would be doable.  At this hour, one batch of showers/storms is in Illinois.  That will pass south of Chicago into Indiana this PM.  There are a couple other upper level disturbances in the Dakotas that we’ll be tracking as storms move into Minnesota.   Check out these links: to the current conditions, regional radar, GRR radar, northern Indiana radar, and Chicago radar and Milwaukee radar. Here’s the local warning/advisory map and the National warning/watch/advisory 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 closings, 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 WOOD lightning tracker and U.S. lightning and links to webcams. Here’s the infrared satellite loop and the visible loop (daytime).

ADD:   Interesting video from NASA about the Coronal Mass Ejection that hit the Earth back on March 8-10.  They say it produced enough heat in the atmosphere to power/heat all of New York City for two years (2.6 Billion kw/hours).  Not that I’m implying a connection, but this was right before the big “heat wave” of March 14-22.

Also…we’ve had a lot of record high temperatures (110 at Bowling Green KY and 109 in Nashville TN Friday… the hottest EVER there), but we’ve also had quite a few record low temperatures.  There were 57 weather stations that set records for the coolest high temperature ever on that date, including Waterville, Washington, where the high was only 51.  Their previous daily lowest high temperature was 60.   Keep in mind that weather stations have different periods of records.  A weather station that has been there for over 100 years would be less likely to set an “all-time record high temperature” than one that has only been in existence for 10 years.


Derecho Blasts from Chicago to D.C. – 26 Dead

June 29th, 2012 at 12:53 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

  Here’s a satellite loop of the storm system.  Click the image and graphic to enlarge.     MORE THAN 1.5 MILLION CUSTOMERS WITHOUT POWER IN THE WASHINGTON D.C. AREA ALONE!! – Over 5.2 Million customers lost power from this deadly line of storms.  ONE REPORT SAID MORE THAN HALF OF THE STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA WAS WITHOUT POWER!!  26 DEAD and dozens injured. Cherry trees around the Tidal Basin were snapped in half due to the strong winds.   Over 500,000 customers without power in W.Virginia, where a State of Emergency has been declared.   A State of Emergency in Ohio, where 900,000 lost power.   It could take two weeks to get everyone back on!  Evening wind gust to 87 mph at Romeoville IL, just SW of Chicago.  From the first band of storms:  Measured gust to 91 mph at the Fort Wayne Airport, 84 mph at Paulding OH, 76 mph at Antwerp, OH, 76 mph at a weather station southwest of New Buffalo MI -  EVENING wind gusts:  71 mph Washington D.C. (Reagan Natl.), 70 mph (Dulles), 80 mph Frederick VA,82 mph Reston VA….247,000 without power in central Ohio and 151,000 without power in Indiana…at least one injury there…shingles blown off at Bunker Hill…radio towers blown down in Columbia City IN.  Gust to 82 mph on the north side of Columbus, Ohio.  Adams Co. Indiana:  “MASSIVE DAMAGE…fires, trucks blown over, roofs blown off”.   Many roads are blocked by fallen trees and wires.  Three semis were blown off I-75 near Findlay OH.  One official called it a “war zone”.  911 call centers were “overwhelmed”.  Hartford City IN reports windows blown out through the county, roofs blown off, siding off buildings, five-foot diameter trees uprooted.  Damage in the tens of millions of dollars.   Pictures hereCheck out the Severe Reports from SPC!   A severe, fast-moving bowing arc of thunderstorms called a “derecho” blasted areas from N. Illinois to the Atlantic Coast.  Widespread, significant wind damage occurred with literally tens of thousands of trees doppled.     Storms in Iowa also caused 90 mph at Marengo IA and 75 mph at Norway IA.  If any of those storms get to SW Michigan it will be after midnight…best chance SW corner of the state.   The storms around midday produced 62 mph winds and 1″ diameter hail in the Chicago area.  Crown Point, Indiana is getting more heavy rain after they got 1.6″ yesterday evening.  Here’s  regional radar, GRR radar, northern Indiana radar, and Chicago radar Lake Michigan water temperatures (inland lakes are mostly low 80s), a satellite loop (daytime).  Here’s current Michigan temperatures, a surface weather map, and current weather for the Muskegon beach, Grand Haven channel, Holland St. Park, South Haven Beach, Lake Michigan water temperatures and rip current forecast, the Grand Rapids NWS discussionNorthern Indiana NWS discussion (includes the Michigan border counties), SE Michigan NWS discussion, Northern Michigan NWS discussion, local W. Michigan radar, regional radar, Lake Michigan beach webcams, tips to beat the summer heatRecord high temperatures are possible.  Here’s the Michigan Drought Monitor and a dry weather update for the Michiana area.     Here’s where you can check on the large wildfires going on out West.  Here’s a National Weather Map and the Thunderstorm Outlooks for the next 3 days from the Storm Prediction Center (Slight Risk area to Lake Michigan Thursday PM).   It’s 88 in G.R. at 2 PM. (87 Kalamazoo and 89 Big Rapids where there is a bit more sun).  Air temperatures at the beaches:  72 S. Haven, 70 Holland, 71 Muskegon, 71 Ludington.  Check out the WOOD lightning tracker and U.S. lightning and links to webcams.  Picture on left is storm coming into Chicago this AM from Patrick DeHaan.  Graph on the right from Greg Carbin and the Storm Prediction Center.

And…while we have a heat wave, New Zealand’s had record cold and snow (good train video).


Friday Thread

June 29th, 2012 at 1:52 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

  Thermometer in Fort Wayne, Indiana – where  the temperature reached 106 Thursday afternoon, tying the hottest day ever.   Many cities (Indianapolis, St. Louis, etc.) had their hottest day ever in June.   This is the high temperature map from yesterday.   By my count that’s 25 states that had at least one city in triple-digits.  The hottest in the U.S. was Needles CA at 113.  Notable temperatures in Michigan:  105 Ypsilanti, 103 Adrian, 102 Hillsdale, 100 Marshall, Coldwater and Flint.  Battle Creek was 99, Kalamazoo peaked at 98 and so did Lansing (record).  Grand Rapids stopped at 97, tying a record for the date.  We did hit 97 last year on July 20th, part of a string of days from the 18th on that had highs of 92, 91, 95, 97, 96.  It was much cooler by Lake Michigan where the high temperature on the beach at Muskegon was 73.4 (at 11 AM), Holland reached only 73.0 and the S. Haven lighthouse topped out at 77.1 at 6 PM.  Other high temperatures of note:  111 Hill City KS, 108 St. Louis MO and Mt. Vernon IL,  107 Evansville IN and Little Rock AR, 106 Muncie and Terre Haute IN and Bowling Green KY, 105 Nashville TN, 104 Tupelo.  Craig James sent me an email saying that the last time we made 100 in G.R. (July 1988) the average dewpoint that day was 54 (relatively dry).  Today is another Clean Air Action Day.  We should be dry during the day.  Here’s the convective outlooks from SPC.  Severe T-Storms may be rumbling just to our south the next three days and maybe up to I-96 on Saturday.   Both the NAM and GFS give G.R. a high of 92 today (Fri.).  The NAM has the highest chance of rain Friday night and the GFS on Sunday.   The European would give G.R. .03″ of rain next Tuesday and .05″ on Thursday.  It gives Kalamazoo .06″ on Saturday.  The European has high temperatures in the low-mid 90s through next Thursday with next Wednesday the hottest (at least upper 90s).  On the 500 mb map you can see the huge bubble of high heights stretching from Arizona to the East Coast.  Looks like the ice is approaching half gone on Hudson Bay.  Grand Rapids is +2.2 degrees above average for June so far.  If you want to cool off, head to Lake Michigan..or…Mt. McKinley.


Severe Weather Update

June 28th, 2012 at 7:31 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

    Here’s video of the huge (2″ in diameter) hail in NW Indiana….and look at the hailstorm in England on Thursday!  Here’s the way that storm looked from inside a car, with a broken windshield.  Picture and story about the England severe storm here.   There was a tiny Severe T-Storm Watch for NW Indiana.   Here’s Chicago radar.    These storms formed on the edge of the lake-breeze in the Chicago area.  Hail up to the size of ping-pong balls fell in Elgin, just west of Chicago.  Golfball-sized hail fell at Lansing, Midlothian and Crestwood.  Dyer, Indiana reported 2″ diameter hail.   Cars were dented and leaves were knocked off trees by the hail.   The storm that tried to cross the cooler Lake Michigan waters  faded out.


Severe Risk

June 28th, 2012 at 4:18 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

1730 UTC Day 1 Outlook We are in the General Thunderstorm Outlook from the Storm Prediction Center this afternoon and there is a “See Text” over Southern Lower Michigan.   They say:  “SHORTWAVE TROUGH NOW LOCATED OVER CO/WRN NEB/SD IS FCST TO MOVE ENEWD ACROSS UPPER MS VALLEY EARLY IN PERIOD TO WI…THEN CROSS LOWER MI BETWEEN 2 PM and 8 PM.   SCATTERED TO WIDELY SCATTERED TSTMS IN CLUSTERS ARE POSSIBLE…PRIMARILY INVOF SFC COLD FRONT WHERE LIFT PROVIDED BY FRONT WILL HELP TO OVERCOME STG CAPPING AS IT IMPINGES UPON DIABATICALLY DESTABILIZING DIURNAL BOUNDARY LAYER. ACTIVITY MAY DEVELOP  MORE PROBABLY NEAR LM AND LOWER MI IN THE AFTERNOON. TSTMS SHOULD INCREASE IN COVERAGE THROUGH AFTERNOON AS REGIME SHIFTS EWD ACROSS LOWER MI.. POTENTIAL FOR AT LEAST ISOLATED DAMAGING GUSTS AND SVR HAIL WARRANTS 5% PROBABILITIES FOR THOSE SVR MODES.

8:25 PM update:  Thunderstorms pounding part of the Chicago area where there was surface convergence with the lake breeze that kicked in.  They haven’t been able to make it across Lake Michigan.  High temperatures today were 100 in Coldwater, Marshall and Flint, 102 in Hillsdale, 103 in Adrian, 105 in Ypsilanti and 106 in Fort Wayne, Muncie and Terre Haute IN.  Grand Rapids tied a record high of 97.  Lansing set a record with 98.  Kalamazoo also made 98.   Battle Creek made it to 99 this PM.  It was MUCH cooler at the lake, where beach air temperatures were in the low-mid 70s.   Check the surface map.  Lower dewpoint air will make it slightly more comfortable tomorrow.  Here’s current conditions, Lake Michigan water temperatures (inland lakes are mostly low 80s), a satellite loop (daytime).   We have a Heat Advisory in for all areas except the lakeshore, where it is cooler.  This is also a Clean Air Action Day, so free rides on the RAPID on G.R. and the MAX in Holland.   The European model gives us a 2 PM temperature of 98.8 next Tuesday, which would be a high of about 102 in G.R.


Rotary Chicken (and more) BBQ

June 28th, 2012 at 4:07 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

rotary-with-gayle The second Comstock Park Rotary Chicken BBQ fundraiser of the summer is this PM running until 7 PM (my wife is a member). This year they are doing ribs (they sold out of ribs at the May BBQ) and sausage (they sold out of that, too in May) as well as chicken. They sold 250 dinners in the first hour last time and that’s good and only had 80 chicken dinners left at the end, so they were pleased. Thanks to the half dozen (that I know of) people who saw about the dinner on the blog and showed up!  Today I was down at Noon and John was there with his Bill’s Blog t-shirt.  Hope a few of you will stop by on the way home for work or if you’re looking for dinner and help them out. The Comstock Park Rotary does a lot of good work in the community. They built and are helping to maintain the new Grotto Park on the North Side of the Veterans Home on Monroe, NW and with the help of Amway Employees built a new park in the York Creek Area. I plan on being there around Noon. I hope to have a Bill’s Blog T-shirt for the first person to ask. If you want one…ask at the money table or ask for my wife (Gayle Steffen) and she can set you up with the shirt. Again, the BBQ is 11 AM to 7 PM like it says on the sign at Dwight Lydell Park in “downtown” Comstock Park on West River Drive, just down the road from 5th/3rd Park, with an easy on and off to US 131. They do three of these during the summer…the last Thursday of May, June and August. Advance Orders will be taken for pick up. Call (616) 437-5567 or e-mail gregwares@charter.net by mid-morning. If you order 15 or more dinners, they’ll deliver within 10 miles. They’ve got a thousand dinners to sell and I hope they sell them all by 7 PM. There’s a gazebo there and we’ll have a tent up to get out of the sun. It’ll be a good day to spend some time at the park, where they have everything from baseball diamonds to playground equipment to a nice path for walking or jogging by the creek. Hope some of you will consider stopping by. Click here for pictures of the event from last year.


Thursday AM

June 28th, 2012 at 2:30 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

  Sunset at S. Haven from Rick at ReportIt.  Check it out full screen.  Look at the high temperature map from yesterday.  You can see the core of the heat.  Highs reached 115 at Hill City and Phillipsburg KS, 113 at Hays and Russell KS and 112 at La Junta CO.  Our winds go west tomorrow and you can see west of us, highs were only in the low-mid 90s.  Factor in the wind coming off Lake Michigan and it looks doubtful that we can reach the 100s.  The lake water temperatures Weds. were 58 in MKG, 57 in Grand Haven and 56 in Holland.  You can see the difference the wind off  the water made.  The high temperature Weds. was 90 in G.R., 91 in Kalamazoo…but it was only 75 at the Grand Haven Channel, 74 at the Muskegon Beach, 73 at the S. Haven beach (it went up to 79 there at 10 PM when the wind started coming off the land) and 72 at Holland St. Park (note how the air temperature mimicked the water temperature…coolest at Holland St. Park).   The NAM model has now backed off, giving G.R. a high of 94 instead of 97.  The European would still give us upper 90s, but now has the warmest day next Weds. and pretty much upper 80s to upper 90′s for the next week.  With the wind coming off the water, it’ll be hard-pressed to reach 80 at the lake beaches and low-mid 90s well inland looks good.  The chance of rain isn’t zero, but it’s small.

Someone asked about 1988.  We had just 1/4″ of rain in June that year and 10 90-degree days in June.  In July we had a stretch of 11 of 14 days of 90 or better.  That summer we had 14 days hit 95 or more.  The average high in July was 88.1.  We stayed warm through August 17, when we hit 98.  We had storms that night and over an inch of rain.  The next day was only in the low 70s and it never got above 80 the rest of the summer.  September was cooler than average and October was the 5th coldest October ever, never getting above 53 in the last 2 weeks of the month.

If you’re looking for someplace cool, Mt. Washington NH has had highs in the mid 40s the last 3 days along with 5.46″ of rain in the last 3 days and wind gusts over 60 mph.  Spokane, WA has had rain on 17 of the last 27 days.  Wenatchee in the apple-growing center of Washington State is 4.9 degrees cooler than average for June.  The high there on Weds. was only 60.   They say the apple crop is running about 2 weeks behind normal growth.  Portland OR has already had 3.77″ of rain this month, 242% of average and Seattle has had double average rainfall this month.

Maranda’s Park Party is Noon to 2 PM at Lamar Park in Wyoming. Kids 18 and under will get a free lunch.  From Noon to 2 PM we’ll have free rides, free entertainment up on the stage, face-painting, free games, apple-dippers, and lots of giveaways. We’ll have free Ice Mt. water, snacks from McDonald’s, apples, free ice cream from Country Fresh and a ton of fun.   Prizes , t-shirts, passes to Celebration Cinema, Craig’s Cruisers, Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, Michigan’s Adventure, Boyne Mountain.   You can also get a free Priority Health backpack. Here’s a schedule of this year’s Park Parties.   LOTS of free stuff, games, entertainment.   Enjoy.