March, 2013

April Starts Cold, 2nd week Warm

March 31st, 2013 at 4:07 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

modis Picture is the MODIS satellite picture from shortly after 2 PM Sunday PM.  Click on the image or click here to enlarge.  1 AM -  We had a nice snow shower here in Alpine Twp. The Ford Airport added 0.1″ of snow prior to midnight, so we are up to 65.3″ of snow for the season.  The ground is (at least temporarily) half white at my house after probably 1/4″ of snow.   It’s about to go below freezing, so watch for an icy spot on a road/driveway/sidewalk in the morning.  It’s only in the low 20s in the U.P. with single digit wind chill factors, so we have a chilly 48-hours coming up.   Check out the surface map – there’s some pretty chilly air across NW Wisc. and Minn. headed our way.   Daytime temperatures will be in the mid-upper 30s, but this is the last of the real cold air.  We’re back at least to mid 40s Weds. Temperatures will reach the 50s later this week.  The Arctic Oscillation has been very negative (which usually means cold air in the Great Lakes) and it’s forecast to go positive – a sign that it’ll be much warmer during the 2nd week of April.   Same thing for the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation)…it has been negativeit’s going to go positive.  Pattern change late this week and 60s and 70s in mid-April and our first good thunderstorms as the warm air comes in.  We’ll catch a couple showers/t-showers next weekend.


March 30th, 2013 at 6:57 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Local  CAN YOU BELIEVE THE MICHIGAN/FLORIDA GAME!   20 points!  Our sports dept. told me Michigan matched up well against Florida and that they’d reach the Final Four!  Showers will be moving thru tonight.  Most will be gone by mid-morning tomorrow…though I can’t totally rule out another light snow shower during the day, most of the daytime should be dry.  Monday and Tuesday will be a solid 10 degrees cooler than average.  The high in G.R. Saturday was 56.  The low temperature this AM was 24.  The high was 5 degrees above average, the low was 8 degrees below average, which would be a mean of 1.5 degrees below average.  However, the NWS now rounds the mean to the warmer value, so it’s only going to go into the record book 1 degree below average.  That’s man-made global warming, I guess.  They ought to do it like the possession arrow in basketball.  The European model gives us .09″ of rain tonight, not much.  It gives us low 50s Sunday afternoon, mid 30s Monday afternoon, back to low-mid 50s by Friday.  For current Michigan weather observations and wind speeds, click here. Here’s NAM model snowfall thru 84 hours, the GFS snowfall thru 120 hours and the HPC snowfall predictions. Here’s WOOD-TV Interactive Radar, looping radar. Check out regional radar, GRR radar, northern Indiana radar, Chicago radar and Milwaukee radar. Here’s the College of DuPage Radar Map, 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, 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.

Easter Weekend

March 30th, 2013 at 4:40 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

<–photo from the University of Dayton. Happy Easter, everyone. We’ve had a pretty thick frost form this Sat. AM and there are some patches of fog for the early morning.  Those will evaporate as the sun comes up and the wind picks up.  We’ll have some high clouds overhead, but partly sunny and warm with highs in the mid 50s (a bit cooler at Lake Michigan).  This should be the warmest day since late Jan.  Rain is likely Sat. night, with the models printing out anywhere from 1/10th inch to 1/3rd inch.  The rain should move east around daybreak Sunday and most of Sunday will be dry.  Monday and Tuesday will be breezy and pretty cool for early April with temperatures mostly in the mid-upper  30s during the day.  Those may very well be the last 2 days that stay that cold.  The air is very dry overall, but with air a mile above ground down to 10 above, we’ll likely get some lake-effect flurries, esp. in NW Lower MI and the U.P.  Temperatures moderate a bit for Weds. PM and Thurs.  Grand Rapids is still at 4.3 deg. cooler than avg. for March.  I’ll put radar and the links up at the top later this evening.

West Michigan Satellite Picture

March 29th, 2013 at 7:13 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

modis lake michigan    Here’s the MODIS Lake Michigan satellite picture from this Good Friday afternoon.  Click on the image or click here to enlarge.  There are some scattered cumulus clouds inland (you can see their shadows) and a few clouds over Lake Michigan west of Oceana Co.  You can see that Gull Lake still has an ice cover.  The deep inland lakes of Wisconsin are still frozen over (Geneva Lake, Green Lake).  There is still a fair amount of ice in Green Bay and up toward the Mackinac Bridge.

Also, check out the MODIS pictures for Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.  Here’s a wider shot of the entire Great Lakes.  Here’s a MODIS image of wave clouds off of Padre Island, Texas and a satellite image of Tristan da Cunha, one of the most remote places on Earth in the South Atlantic.

Good Friday

March 29th, 2013 at 4:30 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Grand Haven Channel March 28 Beach Bum Joe ReportItGrand Haven Channel from Beach Bum Joe at ReportIt.  To see the picture full screen click here.   We have two great days coming up weatherwise.  Mostly sunny today and most of Saturday.  Clouds increase from NW to SE during the late afternoon and evening Saturday with rain Saturday night…about 1/4″. Most of Easter Sunday will be dry and a bit breezy.  Temperatures low-mid 50s today, upper 50s to near 60 on Saturday and back to the mid-upper 40s for most of Sunday.  The warmest 3 days this year all occurred back in January.   The European model gives G.R. around 1/2 inch of snow early Monday and takes our 850 mb temperature to a cold -14C.  Air temperatures may not get past the mid 30s on Tuesday.  We may be back to the low 50s next Thurs.  For those of you heading south, temperatures are warming up.  Early Friday, record low temperatures were reached in Key West (58), Orlando (38), Jacksonville (35) and Gainesville (32).  Temperatures should be back close to 80 by Sat. PM. from Orlando south.  Scattered showers and thunderstorms are likely farther north from Panama City over to Gulf Shores and New Orleans with temperatures in the upper 60s to near 70.  Phoenix, Arizona should see highs in the upper 80s to near 90.  Here’s a look at past Easter Weather courtesy of the GRR NWS.

Check this out.  It’s a story on “Graphene” by John Coleman, who will be 79 years old in October.  He’s a founder of the Weather Channel and for 7 years, he did the weather on Good Morning America.  I did the weather on GMA once.  Here’s Mt. Etna erupting on Sicily.   From the Rutgers Snow Lab.  So far, this winter ranks as the 4th snowiest ever in the N. Hemisphere.  Some interesting articles at   Boston snowfall this winter 63.4″, last winter 9.3″.

Review: Knowing that “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” is weak – is half the battle

March 28th, 2013 at 11:17 pm by under Entertainment

Franchise ruined.

I’m normally nicer about saying these things but… those two words pretty much sum it all up.

After seeing “G.I. Joe: Retaliation”, I have an even greater respect for Bryan Singer (“X-Men”/”X-Men 2″), Joss Whedon (“The Avengers”), and J.J. Abrams (“Star Trek”) who carefully put together a bunch of popular characters into a movie that worked for both fans and people not familiar with the original stories.

“G.I. Joe: Retaliation” is just the latest mistake, see 2011′s “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” that tried and failed to put a  bunch of characters from an 80′s franchise into a movie and make it interesting and satisfy the fans.

"G.I. Joe: Retaliation" poster courtesy Paramount Pictures

“G.I. Joe: Retaliation” poster courtesy Paramount Pictures

(My spoiler-free review)

Let’s start with the good things about the movie, because its a short list.

There is plenty of action – explosions, gun battles, hand-to-hand combat, swordplay, ninjas, reconnaissance, etc.

Sure the action is over-the-top ridiculous and they’re doing things that are basically impossible but so was the 1980s cartoon.

There’s some cool high-tech gadgets, its a little grittier than the first, and there are some new characters and references – familiar to the G.I. Joe cartoons and comics.

The movie leans heavily on the solid charsimatic performance of Dwayne Johnson (Roadblock), the cold and calculating Byung-hun Lee (Storm Shadow), a playful performance by Johnathan Pryce as Zartan playing the president, and convincing new bad guy Ray Stevenson (Firefly).

The best moments in the movie were the interactions of popular characters Storm Shadow (Lee) and his mortal enemy Snake Eyes (Ray Park).   The story arc of these characters will be appreciated by the die hard fans.

Now to the critical stuff:

I am shocked that the Hasbro would put such a potential money making machine of a franchise into the uncapable hands of people that don’t seem to care about the source material… and have therefore, alienated any possible audience they would have left.

I was a fan of the original source material “G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero” (1982), and the first movie – “G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra” (2009) – which I know, I had problems with, but I eventually accepted most of them.  And although the movie looks like a modernized, live action version of the cartoons… I was very disappointed.

If you saw the first movie, this isn’t a spoiler… you’ll quickly notice that there are many characters missing that were in “Rise of Cobra”: General Hawk (Dennis Quaid), Scarlett (Rachel Nichols), Breaker (Saïd Taghmaoui), Heavy Duty (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), RipCord (Marlon Wayans).   They were the main characters… now they are MIA without any explanation.  Many of them were very popular characters back in the day.  Two of them were on the poster/DVD case.  And there is no mention of them at all.  Also, Channing Tatum’s role (Duke) is much smaller in this movie.

At the beginning, there is a very weak and confusing explanation to explain what happened since the events of “Rise of Cobra”.  Its odd because that movie ended in a way that could have been seamless into “Retaliation”.

Some of the acting was as emotionless as the plastic toy figures that were a big seller when I was a kid.  Especially ‘Flint’ (played by D.J. Cotrona).  Also troubling was the accent of Elodie Yung playing martial arts expert “Jinx” … is she British?  Japanese? American?  It seems to change during the movie.  But the most distracting performance is RZA as “Blind Master” – he looks like he’s part of a Saturday Night Live skit making fun of G.I. Joe – but he’s serious!!!  And he’s supposed to be this wise and respected man… but its hard not to laugh at his makeup and performance.

There was a story but its clunky and disjointed… with many holes in the plot.  It goes from one set piece to another and introduces one new character after another and its doesn’t all fit together like a good action/adventure movie puzzle does.

Channing Tatum and Dwayne Johnson in "G.I. Joe" Retaliation" photo courtesy Paramount Pcitures

Channing Tatum and Dwayne Johnson in “G.I. Joe” Retaliation” photo courtesy Paramount Pcitures

I could have written a better story in middle school and the fanboys and non-fans would have loved it.   The screenplay would have had the same amount of action, been a little less over-the-top, not the angle this one took to introduce new good guys, I would keep the global trek to find the bad guys and anyone to support the fight against Cobra.  Back in those days, I probably would have also included something like the effort to destroy the weather dominator.  I definitely would include more memorable charismatic characters to add to this cast: Shipwreck, Mutt and Junkyard, and even Sgt. Slaughter to join with the very popular characters of Roadblock, Flint, and Lady Jaye.  Wild Bill, Snow Job, and Torpedo would have fit perfectly into the series’ conventions of adding characters to transport or train the Joes  for special missions.  Not just a better story, I would also have smoothed out transitions from one subplot to another.

The biggest problem with this movie wasn’t the storyline: the movie has no soul.

“G.I. Joe: Retaliation” is missing any of the chemistry or heart of the first movie.  The characters you may have liked from the first that had developed chemistry are absent.  In their place: a familiar Snake Eyes and a likeable Roadblock plus a hodgepodge of characters that are either not well developed… or poorly acted.

Also, while I’m on my G.I. Joe soapbox - Joseph Gordon-Levitt didn’t return as Cobra Commander… I understand recasting… its a business… but… the new actor needed to be more animated, more maniacal, more over-the-top like the cartoon and comic book version.  Especially since he looks more like that version and less like the Gordon-Levitt version of the first film.


Cooler Near the Lake

March 28th, 2013 at 7:36 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Lake Michgian 3 seasons Little Sable Point Maureen   Today was the first day we’ve seen this much difference between temperatures at the Lake Michigan shoreline and those inland (mostly because we’ve been in a cold pattern).  The high temperature at the Ford Airport was 51 today.  That felt really warm, but the average high temperatures in the low 50s for G.R. now.  At 5 PM, the temperature in G.R. was 49 and at Kalamazoo it was 50.  Also at 5 PM, the airports in Muskegon and Holland showed 44 degrees and the airport at S. Haven was 42.  And, at 5 PM, the temperature at the beach in Muskegon was 39 and the thermometer on the lighthouse at S. Haven read 36.8.  You’ll see this happen often in spring and summer, with significantly cooler temperatures at the beaches then inland with the prevailing west wind.  This should be the case again tomorrow and Saturday.   With a fairly light gradient wind across the area, the west wind lake breeze was prevalent in W. Michigan, while an easterly wind cooled the lakeshore of Eastern Wisconsin.  At 5 PM, Kenosha, WI had a southeast wind off the lake and a temperature of 37.   Lake Michigan water temperatures are in the upper 30s.  (picture by Michelle).

Here’s the latest Great Lakes Water Levels out this Thursday evening:   Lake Michigan/Huron is unchanged in the last month.  The level is 15″ below the level of one year ago and 26″ below the March average.  The level is 2 inches higher than the level of March 1964 and 59″ lower than the highest level for March, reached in 1986.  Lake Superior is down 2″ in the last month (lots of lake-effect snow came out of the lake in the last month and it’s been cold, so it hasn’t melted.  It’ll be interesting to see the level go up over the next 4 weeks.  Superior is four inches below last year at this time and 13″ below the century average.  It’s 6″ higher than the lowest March level, reached in 1926.  Lakes Erie and Ontario are both up one inch in the last month.  Lake Erie is 6″ below the century average and Lake Ontario is 4″ below the century average.

Weds. High Temps.

March 28th, 2013 at 1:11 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

difax   Milder weather and some sunshine for West Michigan for today, Friday and Saturday.  It will be a bit cooler near Lake Michigan, but inland areas should make upper 40s today, near 50 Friday and low-mid 50s on Saturday.  Showers are likely Saturday night into at least early Sunday as a cold front comes thru, with a couple of relatively chilly days to follow on Mon. and Tues.  The days continue to get longer at the rate of nearly 20 minutes per week.  The official sunrise (first tip of the sun appears over a totally flat horizon) is 7:31 AM and the sunset (last tip of the sun disappears over a totally flat horizon) is at 8:05 PM.

The cold is easing up a bit over the country, but some spots remained relatively chilly on Weds.  Here’s some high temperatures from Weds. with the average high in ( ):  Grand Rapids 45 (49), Lafayette IN 40 (54), London KY 42 (62), Bluefield WV 36 (58), Nashville 53 (65), Buffalo 40 (46), Erie 38 (48), Huntsville AL 54 (68), New Orleans 60 (74), Boothville LA (mouth of the Mississippi River) 56 (72), Gulfport MS 55 (72), Atlanta 55 (68), Tampa 59 (79), Key West 64 (79), Havana, Cuba 70 (81), Jonesburo AR 54 (65), Springfield IL 40 (57), Columbia MO 43 (60), Ottumwa IA 46 (55), Watertown SD 37 (44), Minot ND 23 (43), Sidney MT 39 (52)         AND in ALASKA:  Fairbanks had a high of 10 and a low of -30, the average high for Fairbanks is 31.  The mean temperature was 28 deg. below average.  Nome had a high of zero.  The average high temperature is 20.  Anchorage had a high of 20 with an average of 37.   In Hawaii:  Honolulu 78 (82), Lihue 75 (79) – Lihue has had 3.95″ of rain in the last six days!

Grand Rapids has had 12 days in a row with cooler than average temperatures and 15 of 16 below average.  The month is 4.5 deg. cooler than avg. in G.R., 5.1 deg. cooler than average in Battle Creek and 5.2 deg. cooler than avg. in Kalamazoo.    Check out the records in the U.S. in the past week.    In other weather news:  Heavy snow caused a major roof collapse in Saskatchewan, Canada.   A “freak tornado” caused 12 fatalities in the Philippines.   Record cold in ColumbiaTwenty-Five dead from the recent cold in Poland, total for the winter now 175 fatalities.   “Unprecedented cold” in the U.K., where March could be the  coldest in 50 years.  Germany, coldest March since 1987.   Unseasonably cold in Florida.  High temperatures the past 2 days in Tampa 20 degrees below average!

Modis Image – Lake Michigan

March 27th, 2013 at 7:59 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

modis lake michigan   This is the MODIS  satellite image centered over Lake Michigan from Weds. PM (3/27).  Click on the image or click here to see full screen.  Note the “lion’s head” (ice) west of the Mackinac Bridge that looks like it’s about about to devour Hog IsTorch Lake never froze this winter (deep lake).  There is still a lot of ice in Green Bay and up by the Mac. Bridge.  It looks like there is snow in the Allegan St. Game Area, but none north over the open fields of Ottawa Co.  The east end of Lake Macatawa is open water.  My “tornado scar” west of Green Bay is still there!  Check out the MODIS picture of Lake Superior, Lake Huron and Lake Ontario.  One more picture, check out Mt. Edna in Italy.

Also:  U.S. temperatures Jan. 1 – Mar. 26 (from the High Plains Regional Climate Center).

Lots of snow left in the U.S.

March 27th, 2013 at 12:16 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

nohrsc   nohrsc 2012  Click the images to enlarge.  The graphic on the left is snow cover across the U.S. today.  According to NOHRSC (National Operational Hydrologic
Remote Sensing Center
), 39.3% of the U.S. has a snow cover, with an average depth of 5.2″.  The graphic on the right is one year ago (3/27/12), when we had only 8.6% of the U.S. with a snow cover.  This year, there is a solid snow cover north of U.S. 10 ( snow cover this (Weds.) morning:  8″ at Houghton Lake and Cadillac, 9″ at Traverse City, 14″ at Kalkaska and 15″ at Gaylord.  Snow cover is anywhere from 7″ to 51″ across the U.P.  So when we have north or northwest winds, the air will be cool, coming off the snow cover.  Lake Michigan and the inland lakes are also cooler than last year.   The satellite loop shows cumulus clouds developing as temperatures warm (it’s noon as I write this).  Dry and pleasant thru Saturday, rain showers Saturday night could linger into Easter Sunday AM – cooler than average next week.    CHECK OUT the Great Lakes Current Map.

It’s been cold and snowy in Alaska.  Early morning temperatures included -24 at Fairbanks (the last week was 9.3 deg. colder than average in Fairbanks), -28 at McGrath (where they have 31″ of snow on the ground.  They had a record -30 Tue. AM) and +1 at Anchorage (with 26″ of snow on the ground – they had a record daily snowfall on Sunday).  Valdez had 16.8″ of snow last Saturday.  They have 62″ of snow on the ground.   King Salmon AK broke their record low temperature Tue. by 7 degreesBarrow had a daily record snowfall on Tue.