September, 2012

Crazy Car Video

September 30th, 2012 at 11:41 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

  Check out this video of a “flying car” in the fast wind of Typhoon Jelawat (The name was submitted by Malaysia and refers to a species of fish that lives in fresh water).  One death was blamed on the storm (a 29-year old fisherman) and at least 145 were injured.  More than half the injured were on Okinawa and most of the injures were minor.   Winds of 78 mph were clocked at Nagoya.   Tens of thousands lost power and trains were halted for a time in Tokyo.  Over 600 flights were cancelled.  Nagoya issued an evacuation advisory to more than 50,000 residents because of fear of flooding from a swollen river.  Jelawat reached Category 4 status while east of Taiwan (see satellite image here from the Earth Observatory).  The storm is now a tropical depression racing ENE across the northern Pacific.  Remember, recurving Pacific typhoons often bring cooler weather about a week down the road for the Eastern U.S. (and that’s going to start on Friday here in W. Michigan).


Weekend Sports Thread

September 28th, 2012 at 11:33 pm by under Bill's Blog, Sports, Weather

   The Tigers magic number is just one (either one Tiger win or one White Sox loss).  The Tigers won a close one Sunday, 2-1 on a Fielder homer in the 8th.  The Tigers have 3 road games left in Kansas City, starting Porcello Monday evening.  The Chicago White Sox have faded like the ’69 Cubs, losing to Tampa Bay 6-2 Sunday aftn.  The White Sox have now lost 10 of their last 12, while Tampa Bay was won 10 of the last 11.   Miguel Cabrera continues to have a decent chance being the first Triple Crown (home runs, runs-batted-in and batting average) winner since Carl Yastremski in 1967.

This sure was a week that “our guys” lost.    Michigan State came up a point shy in a 17-16 loss to Ohio State at East Lansing.   Michigan State had only 34 total yards rushing.    Central Michigan got blown out by Northern Illinois 55-24.  NIU had 407 yards rushing.  Toledo thumped Western Michigan 37-17.   Hope College lost their 4th in a row, getting shut out by Adrian 24-0.  Kalamazoo College dropped a 30-20 decision to Trine.  My Wisconsin Badgers blew a 17-point lead in a 30-27 loss at Nebraska.  Ferris St. lost to Saginaw Valley 31-24Grand Valley held on to score a 51-43 win over Michigan Tech.   They were up 51-14, then gave up 29 consecutive points.  Also, how do you score 63 points and still lose?   The U.S. team sure crashed in golf’s Ryder Cup at Medinah C.C. just west of Chicago.  I played golf a couple times before as an Evans Scholar.

Then there’s the Lions…losers of 10 of their last 16 games since they started last year 5-0.  They are 1-3 for 2012 so far.  They have a bye week and won’t play next Sunday.


Sky Lanterns

September 28th, 2012 at 10:58 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

  Picture 1, Picture 2, Picture 3.  I watched the sky lanterns from the Art Museum, while I was doing a meet and greet (gave out another 500+ Bill’s moustaches).   It was pretty spectacular, with each lantern moving just a little bit differently depending on the heat from the flame and the altitude of each lantern.   Here’s pictures and video.  At 8 PM the wind in Grand Rapids was northwest at 7 mph.  The wind about a mile above the ground was northwest at about 14 mph.  In the past, I’ve had calls from people reporting UFOs and they are really seeing sky lanterns.  Here’s downtown in the full moonlight.


Next week – warm early, cool late

September 28th, 2012 at 1:38 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

  Click the image to enlarge.  This is the GFS model for next Friday morning, Oct. 5th.  We remain in a dry pattern here in Western Lower Michigan.  Temperatures will be mild through the weekend, the warmest day will likely be next Weds. (a few spots could approach 80 Weds. PM), then a cold front will come through and send our temperatures down to a little below normal for next Thursday/Friday/Saturday.  This ties in with the re-curving typhoon (Jelawat:  http://www.usno.navy.mil/NOOC/nmfc-ph/RSS/jtwc/warnings/wp1812.gif) that’s going to hit Japan.   The models still have the higher probability of dry weather for our area this weekend.  The NAM (caribou) gives G.R. 70 for a high temp. on Saturday, 65.7 on Sunday and 67.3 on Monday.  The NAM MOS shows a high of 69 for Saturday and 67 on Sunday and the GFS is 69 for Saturday and 64 for Sunday.  I don’t have the morning European numbers yet, but I’ll get a look at those before the 5 PM news.  Looks like good weather for Football Frenzy, ArtPrize and all your weekend activities.


Great Lakes Water Levels

September 27th, 2012 at 5:48 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

   Dry weather and high evaporation continue to cause the water level of Lake Michigan to go down.  The water level of  Lake Michigan/Huron is down 6″ in the last month (a very large drop in a month’s time).  The lake is down 12″ in the last year and is now 28″ below the century average.  The lake is 2 inches above the level of September 1964.  Lake Superior is down 3″ in the last month and is down 2″ in the last year.  Superior is 14″ below the century average.  Lake Erie is down 4″ in the last month and is now 15″ lower than one year ago.  Erie is 10″ below the century average.  Lake Ontario has fallen 6″ in the last month and is now 10″ below the level of one year ago.  Ontario is 12″ below the century average.  When you come down to Art Prize and see the Grand River, you can see the water level is lower than average.  As of this Thurs. evening, the flow of the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids was 1170 cubic feet per second.  The average flow is 2200 cubic feet per second, so that means that the water flow is 53% of average.  Same story on the Rogue River at Rockford, which is now at 52% of average flow.


Tigers in 1st Place – Sox Lose AGAIN!

September 27th, 2012 at 5:21 am by under Bill's Blog, Sports, Weather

   WOO HOO!  Tigers win Thursday afternoon.  Doug Fister set an American League record with nine consecutive strikeouts.  The Tigers are in first place now by two games, as the White Sox continue to implode.  Immitating the 1969 Chicago Cubs…the White Sox dropped out of first place for the first time in 2 months.  The Sox gave up 12 walks Weds. night and lost again Thursday night on the way to their 8th loss in 9 games Weds. night.  The Tigers have won 6 of the last 9 games.

I usually stay at the Art Prize Studio until around 2:15 AM until Matt comes in to start working on the morning show.  I look at and print out the new data coming in.  When I leave, it’s usually very quiet downtown and I can’t see a soul as I head to my car.  I may come down early today and look around a bit.  There’s a guy from my hometown of Wilmette, IL who’s made the top 25 (Jack Nixon).  I’ve been told that his drawings of Chicago landmarks are awesome over in DeVos Place.  I also want to see the pics. of Stacy Niedzwiecki over at Peaches.  She’s let me use a couple of her photos on the blog.

Also, check out the sea foam that’s come onshore in Scotland and tornadoes, 3″ diameter hail and an overturned semi from severe storms in Illinois.


Freeze Warning/Frost Advisory

September 26th, 2012 at 4:09 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

  There’s a Freeze Warning for Lake, Osceola and Clare counties to the north and a Frost Advisory for Manistee, Mason, Oceana, Newaygo, Mecosta, Montcalm, Isabella and Gratiot Counties.  Temperatures in the usual cool spots north and northeast of G.R. will likely hit the low 30s.  We’ll hold in the upper 30s to low 40s from Grand Rapids to the southwest.  There could be a touch of frost in the cool spots again Thursday night.


Harvest Moon

September 26th, 2012 at 3:00 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

   This weekend, we have the most famous of full moons, the “Harvest Moon“. The Harvest Moon is the full moon that is closest to the Autumnal Equinox (which occurred last Saturday). This will get you in the mood (a 40-second classic from over 30 years ago). About 2/3rds of the time, the Harvest Moon comes in September and about 1/3rd of the time it comes in early October. In general, the same names for full moons were used by Algonquin tribes from New England to Lake Superior. The moon is about 239,500  miles from the Earth today.  The Harvest Moon this year will be ever so slightly smaller than an average full moon.   The full moon after the Harvest Moon is called the Hunter’s Moon.  That will occur on Oct. 29th (which means the moon will be pretty full for Halloween).  The distance between the earth and moon varies by about 30,000 miles.  If you wanted to drive to the moon at 55 mph, you’d have to drive for approximately 6 months (without stopping) to get there. If you were on the moon, you would only weigh 1/6th of what you weigh on earth. Think how high you could jump on the moon, or how far you could hit a golf ball or baseball (why does golf ball have a space in the middle, while baseball doesn’t?). The same full moon shines down on everyone on Earth.  (picture from Milwaukee NWS)


Fewer Tornadoes in 2012

September 26th, 2012 at 12:48 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

    Click on the graphic or click here to enlarge.   NOAA/Storm Prediction Center released this statement:  ““After a busy start, tornado events in the U.S. in 2012 have dropped well below the expected normal. The preliminary total of 757 tornadoes is about 400 tornadoes below what might be expected in a typical year. This chart shows that in late 2011, the annual running total was over 400 tornadoes above normal. This depicts the dramatic variability that can occur in tornado numbers from one year to the next.”   The state with the most tornadoes this year has been Kansas with 145 (or 19.2% of U.S. tornadoes).  Second is Texas (100), followed by Kentucky (64) and Alabama (61).  Michigan has reported 7 tornadoes in 2012 (none in the WOOD viewing area), 114 reports of hail 1″ or greater, and 252 reports of wind damage.  Forty of the 68 tornado fatalities this year occurred on March 2nd.  Of the 68 fatalities, 48 were people who were in mobile homes, 16 were in permanent home, 2 were in vehicles and 2 out in the open.  Here’s a graph of the number of strong to severe tornadoes (EF3, EF4, EF5) since 1950.


Weak El Nino

September 24th, 2012 at 8:00 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Tropical Pacific Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies Animation   We have a weak El Nino as we head into the Autumn Season. You can see the slightly warmer than average water along the Equator in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean in the looping graphic. We’ve come out of a relatively strong and long La Nina into a weak El Nino. You can look at the list of La Nina months/years (in blue) and El Nino months/years (in red) here.   Which years do you think are most similar?  You can see there is some similarity to the very cold winter of 1976-77 when a deep trough covered much of the Eastern U.S. for much of the winter, along with strong blocking near Greenland/NE Canada.  Also, the latest JAMSTEC model forecast (for the central Pacific – Nino 3.4 region) has our El Nino fading to neutral about next August and then go back to La Nina (colder than average water along the Pacific Equator) for the late fall/winter/spring of 2014.

Our weekend cool pattern moderates early this work week and I think we’re back to an overall dry and mild (not warm/hot) pattern for the next 8 or 9 days.  After that we probably go back to a cooler and wetter pattern with the mean upper-level trough back over the Great Lakes.  (Graphic from the Climate Prediction Center).    Final note….windy this midday/PM with gusts up to 30-40 mph.

Also:  Here’s a nice MODIS satellite picture of the East Coast from earlier this month and a picture of smoke from forest fires in Washington and Idaho.