Wind Advisory – Storm Warnings

October 28th, 2012 at 7:25 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

This thread deals with the effects of “Sandy” on West Michigan and Lake Michigan. A Wind Advisory will be in effect from 5 PM Monday to 8 PM Tuesday. Wind gusts will reach 35-50 mph with the strongest winds along the Lake Michigan shore, especially from Allegan Co. to the south, where a north wind comes off the water. Cold air coming over relatively warm water will make stronger winds and bigger waves than warm air coming over cold water. That’s physics. There will be Gale Warnings (34 to 47 knots or 39-54 mph) for Lake Michigan from 2 PM Monday to 5 AM Tuesday EDT. At 5 AM, the Gale Warning is upgraded to a Storm Warning, which will be in effect from 5 AM to 5 PM. At 5 PM Tuesday, the Storm Warning will go back to a Gale Warning. Storm Warnings are rare. A STORM WARNING MEANS WINDS OF 48 TO 63 KNOTS ARE IMMINENT. A “knot” is a nautical mile per hour. One knot is 1.15077945 mph. So when they say 48 to 63 knots, that’s 55.2 to 72.5 mph. The National Weather Service says: “* WINDS…NORTH GALES TO 35 KT STARTING MONDAY AFTERNOON INCREASING TO 50 KT STORM FORCE WINDS LATE MONDAY NIGHT THROUGH LATE TUESDAY AFTERNOON. GALES WILL THEN CONTINUE THROUGH WEDNESDAY EVENING. * SIGNIFICANT WAVES…12 TO 16 FT MONDAY AFTERNOON BUILDING TO 20 TO 25 FT TUESDAY MORNING…THEN SUBSIDING TO 12 TO 16 FT LATE WEDNESDAY NIGHT. * OCCASIONAL WAVES…TO 20 FT MONDAY AFTERNOON…BUILDING TO 33 FT TUESDAY MORNING…THEN SUBSIDING TO 28 FT WEDNESDAY NIGHT. You would not get a 33-foot wave at shore. A wave is as deep as it is high above the water, and as the wave comes into shallower water, the wave “breaks” (the top falls over as the bottom drags). The strong north wind will will cause what’s called a “standing seiche” on Lake Michigan (similar to what occurred in Oct. 2010) from a similar deep low pressure center), with water piling up at the south end of the lake. Expect the water level (which fortunately is low right now) to rise up to 2-3 feet at the south end of Lake Michigan (and to fall 2-3 feet at the north end of Lake Michigan). Then add the huge waves on top of that and there is the potential for significant beach erosion and damage to whatever is at the shore. We’ll also have cloudy skies, a good chance of a period of rain and chilly temperatures. The cold air (temperatures in the upper 30s to mid 40s) combined with the strong wind, will result in wind chill readings in the upper 20s to low 30s.

Latest model data: 00Z Monday NAM (Caribou) wind forecast is very similar to past runs of the model…15-20 mph winds this Monday midday-afternoon, peaking at a steady 25 mph Tues. mid-morning.  The model gives us a fairly steady light rain starting later Tuesday AM thru Weds. evening with  1/2″ total for G.R. The model does print out a brief mix of sleet/ice pellets at the start of the precipitation.  I mentioned that the winds would be stronger near Lake Michigan.  The model gives S. Haven a steady wind of 33 knots late Monday night and  Tuesday morning, that’s 37 mph!  That’s about 10 mph faster than Grand Rapids.  The GFS model give G.R. a steady 25-29 mph wind for Tues.

Links:  WOOD-TV Interactive Radar, looping radar. Check out the current conditions in Michigan, current conditions in Indiana, current conditions in Illinois, regional radar, GRR radar, northern Indiana radar, Chicago radar and Milwaukee radar. Here’s the College of DuPage Radar Map, Storm total rainfall, 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 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 (night) and the visible satellite loop (daytime). Here’s Lake Michigan water temperatures. Here’s storm total rainfall for W. Michigan and E. Michigan. Here’s data from the mid-lake buoy, the GLERL Weather Station at Michigan City, Indiana…and the Harrison Crib (Chicago Water Intake), 3 miles east of downtown Chicago out in the lake.  Both of these last two stations will really show some wild winds.  The Michigan City, IN beach station was already showing 35-40 mph wind gusts Sunday evening.

31 Responses to “Wind Advisory – Storm Warnings”

  1. Paul says:

    This should be fun to watch.

  2. WMUPilot90 says:

    Welp, guess I won’t be flying on Monday night or Wednesday night…

    1. Swatz_Zoo(Cedar Springs) says:

      I’m sure there will be delays or cancelations, I’m glad I won’t be flyin as well. I thought there was a chance of snow with this system. I’m sure Jack will be out with his camera over the next couple of days, I’m going to try to talk my dh in to going out to the lake to take pictures, and of course bundle up and wear gloves.

    2. Bill Steffen says:

      7500 Flights cancelled already.

      1. Bryan says:


        I would love to see actual pictures of what the northern side of Lake Michigan will look like with the predicted water level drop on the north end and surge of water on the south end due to the sustained wind event.

        Are we talking about “walking on water” on the land bridge from the UP to Bever Island or Sturgeon Bay?


        1. Cort S. says:

          No, it won’t be that crazy. The drop in water levels will be a foot or two at most.

    3. Allegan Joe says:

      Neither will the “Flying Nun”…LOL :)

  3. Jack Martin - Fennville, Michigan says:

    These are going to be some really awesome waves. Looks like Gale season is starting on time this year .

  4. INDY says:

    Only in Michigan! Bill are u ready????INDYY…..

    1. Barry in Zeeland says:

      Only Michigan? What about the rest of the eastern third of the country?

  5. ~Sherry~ Comstock Park says:

    I just might have to take a trip to Grand Haven and get some pics!!!

  6. DerekS says:

    The Weather Channel now saying power outages possible all the way to Chicago.

    1. bnoppe(Albion) says:

      I would say you have about a 3o% chance of losing power with the storm maybe less

  7. Brian(Grandville) says:

    I will be taking a drive out to Holland State Park on Tuesday for sure.
    What wind direction are we talking here Bill?

    1. Jordan (Twin Lake) says:

      The entire event will be a northerly wind hope that helps :)

  8. INDY says:

    Get outside and get your yard ready now I hope all my leafs blow away!!! TWC is saying over 60 mph+ winds back 2 Chitown now with power outages flashlights radio and gun, sprites lots of ice check!!! Thee YARDofBRICKS is on wind watch!! Stay tuned all eyes on SANDYY….INDYY…

  9. Barbara Egeler-Bailey says:

    I was up in Cheboygan this weekend. There is already a pretty good northerly wind blowing with white caps on the lake. Good thing the lake is really low or there would be beach erosion there also.

  10. Rocky (Rockford) says:

    A little breezy and rain showers. No golf the next few days.

    1. GunLakeDeb says:

      If you could find a south-facing tee, your drive should go about 1/4 mile…..LOL!!

  11. fixxxer says:

    We shall see.

    1. Jordan (Twin Lake) says:

      We shall see or we will see it’s going to be a heck of a wind event if you have not yet already read the wind advisory!

    2. INDY says:


      1. Jack says:

        Indy I need SPRITES to Drowned My Sorrows :-( Darn Tigers. :-(

        1. Katie in Kentwood says:


  12. Jack says: Listening To This Getting Ready for The WIND

    1. GunLakeDeb says:

      Anyone thinking of taking a boat/ship out, needs to listen to THIS:

  13. Sam says:

    Stupid question of the day =)

    Would it ever be possible for Michigan to be put in a Tropical Storm watch/warning? Wouldn’t it be if it were a strong storm and took a path at Michigan from the east coast? I try to think of the most illogical questions!

  14. Ryan says:

    Bill, thanks for the info, but I’m afraid you are wrong about how wave height and depth are related. While you are correct that waves break in a water depth that is about as deep as their height, you are incorrect when you say that “is as deep as it is high above the water.” This actually depends on the period length of the wave. A long-period wave, 20 second intervals, for example, actually “feels” the bottom of the ocean at about one thousand feet of depth. Crazy, huh? For a more thorough understanding, please go to the following Surfline page:

    Wave Nerd

  15. Jordan (Twin Lake) says:

    Gust could get too 55MPH here in Twin lake tomorrow WOW I better button down the hatches lol no I am actually more concerned about my power :/

  16. Paul says:

    This is the type of storm that has claimed so many boats and lives in the past on the Great Lakes. It is interesting to check out the vessel-passage link at to see how many ships have found shelter in bays and ports in the lee of the wind. Normally, many ships are underway mid-lake, but few are taking chances in this weather. The 1000 footer, Stewart J. Cort, is spending a second night anchored north of Mackinac Island.

Leave a Reply