9:20 PM Walked downtown for a little while after the 6 PM news. Lots of people eating dinner outside, walking…running (getting ready for the Riverbank Run). There must have been 1,000 people (mostly teens/20s) for the swing dance at Rosa Park Circle. Today, Grand Rapids was warmer than New Orleans and Holland (Regional Airport) was warmer than Palm Beach FL. Highs today: 76 Battle Creek, 78 GRR and Kalamazoo, 83 Regional Airport in Holland (which seems to be reading a degree or two too high), 86 Kenosha WI, 88 Janesville WI, 89 Lone Rock WI. Other warm spots: 101 Phoenix AZ, 88 Tampa and Ft. Myers FL. It was only in the low 30s north of Winnipeg, Manitoba. The weather should continue warm and for the most part dry as the ridge builds over the Eastern Lakes tonight and tomorrow. We had literally dozens of hail reports with the early morning storms, inc. Grand Rapids, Holland, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and Big Rapids. Our “24-hour forecast” that we ran at 10 and 11 PM did better than the models at bringing storms thru during the early morning.
A severe storm with hail up to tennis ball size moved east of Dubuque, Iowa and fell apart. A morning storm dumped a narrow hail path with stones as big as eggs in NE Iowa. The high temperature in G.R. and Kalamazoo was 73 on Monday. The high on the Muskegon beach Monday was 61.7 and at the Grand Haven Channel it was 62.6. The warm weather will cause the tulips, blossoms and leaves to come out rather quickly this week into early next week.
The Grand River has now fallen below flood stage at Comstock Park (flood stage is 12 feet – current 11.7 feet). The St. Joseph River at Three Rivers remains near the flood stage of 7 ft. In the U.P., the Sturgeon, Black and Chocolay Rivers are above flood stage at certain points.
Kite in the setting sun at Lake Michigan – from Beachbumjoe at Reportit. Click here to see the picture full screen. 3:15 AM – The t-storm in far S. Wisconsin near Janesville has been producing hail…up to 2″ in size near Waterloo IA. It’s weakened and should continue to weaken as it comes east. The models never get the cool air here…so look for a relatively warm week. Blossomtime is coming. Temperatures are near 70 inland now…but only 52 now at the beach in Muskegon and 59 on the beach in S. Haven with the lake breeze. A deck of high-level cirrus clouds is coming in from the west. Low-mid 70s today…it could be 80 tomorrow and Weds. For Grand Rapids, the European model prints out .17″ of rain tonight into Tues., .02″ Fri and .40″ Sunday. Most of the Lower 48 states is warm (for a change this spring). It was the first 100 of the year at Phoenix on Sunday. Thermal CA hit 107. It was 90 at McCook NE and 89 in Ft. Myers. The high was 78 in Denver and Huron SD and 73 in Traverse City. Much cooler and wet weather will move into the Central Plains, W. Iowa and Missouri with the cold heading south into Texas, where temperatures will be 15-20 deg. cooler than average for midweek.
This is the Peshekee River in the U.P. (image from NWS Marquette). There is still ice in the river and lots of snow on the ground. Temperatures hit the 60s (even a couple of low 70s) in the U.P. over the weekend. In many areas it was the first time it was this warm since October. The warm air and sunshine started a rapid and rather late snowmelt that has triggered flood warnings and a Civil Emergency Message/EAS Alert, “…ASKING RESIDENTS TO SEEK HOUSING AWAY FROM THE STURGEON RIVER NOW…” At 3 PM Sunday, the temperature at Munising was 71. They started the day with 22″ of snow on the ground! Other snow totals this AM: 24″ just ESE of Houghton, 22″ Twin Lakes, 21″ at the Marquette Airport and 6″ at Ironwood (where they hit 67 yesterday and are in the mid-upper 60s again today). Places with even deeper snow cover lake Big Bay and Hoist Basin didn’t report this AM. The late season snow cover has meant an extended ski season. Check out the pics. from Ski Brule, where they say “Unbelievable! Only word to describe conditions and being open for skiing and snowboarding on April 27. Not just open, but 11 of 17 trails open on the front side of the mountain. It seems like just yesterday I said “ SKI BRULE IS OPEN FOR 2012/13″ but it was November 2 .. one more week and it will be 6 months of snow! Been wishing for a season like the one we are having!
Also, Wesloco, Texas had 1.87″ of rain from Jan. 1 thru this morning. This afternoon they had 2.24″ of rain in 2 hours. Laredo had more rain in 6 hours than they have had total up to today since 1/1.
There’s still a few light showers and sprinkles southeast of a line from Kalamazoo to Alma. They’ll move off to the SE and Monday will be partly cloudy and low 70s in the PM. With the clouds it’s been a little cooler today. The overnight models are on board with warm weather for much of this week here, with the cooler air staying mainly off to our west for the next 4 or 5 days. On the European model, the warmest day is Weds., with highs at least into the low 80s, but even Friday is low 70s, then it turns cooler next Sat. The European for Grand Rapids has 0.1″ of rain today (higher amounts south), 1/4″ Monday night into Tues., 1/3rd inch Thurs. night into Friday and 1/4″ on Sat.
This is a frame grab from the Barrow, Alaska sea ice cam (courtesy Univ. of Alaska, Fairbanks). You can see a current picture and a loop of the last day or 10-days at the link. It’s been colder than average over much of the Lower 48 states. Look at the record low temperatures in the U.S. in the last week. Alaska has also seen record and near record cold this month. Fairbanks is 14 degrees colder than average for April 1-27! The cold anomalies have been pretty much statewide: Anchorage 7.2 deg. below average, Juneau 3.8 deg. colder than average, Nome 4.3 deg. colder than average and Barrow 1.2 deg. colder than average. The average temperature at Barrow for April is -0.8F. At least they have the daylight. The “midnight sun” starts May 12 and continues thru August 1. During this time, the sun is above the horizon 24 hours a day in Barrow. This will likely set a record at Nenana for the latest icemelt. They have more ice now than they had on April 1. They’ve had record snowfall in SE Alaska. Snowcover in Alaska: 53″ Valdez, 17″ Fairbanks, 13″ Nome, 7″ Anchorage.
Click the image to enlarge or click here to enlarge. As of 11:20 PM Sat…no tornadoes have been reported in the U.S. today and only 6 reports of minor wind damage. Through 4/26, we’ve had a preliminary count of 227 tornadoes in the U.S. That compares to an average of 507. The preliminary count is usually reduced as duplicate reports of the same tornado are eliminated. In fact, the Storm Prediction Center says that the final count for March may be the fewest number of tornadoes ever in any March. A reason for the low numbers of tornadoes is the cold air that has covered much of the area east of the Rockies. This has set up more large areas of slow-moving overrunning rain rather than severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. Tonight it’s parts of the Houston, Texas area getting hammered with 5-7″ of rain. Check out the Food Mart that collapsed due to the weight of water on the roof. So far this year we have had 3 tornado fatalities in the U.S. (in 3 separate tornadoes, all in Gulf Coast states). Two of the three fatalities occurred to people inside mobile homes. I would expect the overall tornado count to stay below average at least into early May, but pick up in late May and June.
The first picture is a Lake Michigan sunset from Mary at ReportIt. It looks much better full screen. The second picture is the MODIS satellite picture from Friday. Here it is full screen. You can see the muddy water that’s come out of the Grand River along the shore and extending out for a good 3-4 miles. It looks there might still be a little ice in Green Bay. Saturday we had our first 70-degree day in G.R. That was 43 days later than our first 70-degree day of 2012! The GFS has backed off on the cold and our temperatures will be warm early in the week and cooler, but not terribly cold later this week . Here’s the GFS maps. May is the month when you can get these “bowling balls – closed low pressures that are detached from the main Polar Jet and they move very slowly and tend to wobble around. It would be good if this system brought needed an substantial rain to KS and OK. I think west Texas will continue to be the center of the drought into early summer.
G.R. thru 4/27 is 4.7 deg. cooler than avg. for April. Rochester MN had their first 60-degree day of the year on Friday – tying 1951 for the latest first 60 deg. ever. That year turned out to be a cool summer for the Great Lakes. G.R. is at 66″ of snow for the winter and 10.76″ of precipitation for April.
Check out these two images from the MODIS satellite. Click on on the images to enlarge. The first (on the left) is from April 5, before the heavy rain. The second was taken on April 21 during the flood. Click here for a wider view of the S. Great Lakes from April 5 and click here for a wider view of the Great Lakes from April 21. You can see how the land has turned green over the past couple weeks. Look at the increase in water spilling out of the Maple River, which comes in from the ENE meeting the Grand in E. Ionia Co. The Maple joins the Grand in E. Ionia Co. There’s not nearly as much difference in the Grand River south of the junction with the Maple, which comes into E. Ionia Co. from the south (the Grand River starts in N. Hillsdale Co.). Note also how the heavy rain filled up the Shiawassee Wildlife Refuge just southwest of Saginaw. Their facebook page has some aerial views of the flooding there. In fact, go here and you can scroll from one image to the other! Here’s current flood conditions in the Midwest. Note how the Mississippi River has gone from near record low levels last summer, so flood levels this spring. Also, here’s a look at the cold and snow weather records in the Lower 48 states since March 15.
Grand River Flood – helicopter view from WOOD-TV (more helicopter pics. here). Click on the picture to enlarge. The water level of Lake Michigan climbed 3″ in the past week. That’s after going up 3″ in the previous 6 days. So, the water level of Lake Michigan has jumped up 6″ in the last 13 days! That’s a remarkable increase! An inch of water added to Lake Michigan is 390 billion gallons. So, a 6-inch increase means we have added 2.34 TRILLION gallons of water to the lake (and 2.4 trillion gallons to Lake Huron)! With area rivers still at very high levels, we’ll likely add another 2″ to that in the next week. We’ll have very little precipitation in the next 5 days and evaporation rates should be back to average. The past two weeks have also been cloudier than average, with relatively high humidity, cutting down on evaporation. Ice cover hung on until today in Green Bay. So other factors have been favorable for increased lake levels. See the thread below on the satellite pictures where you can actually see the muddy water of the Grand River extending at least 5 miles out into the lake and moving down the shore past Holland with the prevailing NW wind today. Lake Michigan is up 8″ in the last month, but is still down 7″ year-to-year. It’s 21″ below the century average for April, but now 9″ above the lowest April level back in 1964. Question…if the lake levels go up significantly, will we be able to do less dredging?
Lake Superior is up 1″ in the past week and up 3″ in the past month. Superior is still down 2 inches in the last year and is now 11″ below the century average. Much of the snow around Lake Superior hasn’t melted yet (snow cover Thurs. evening: 38″ Hoist Basin and Atlantic Mine, 29″ 1.6 miles ESE of Houghton, 28″ Marquette Airport, 17″ Munising, 11″ Ironwood…in NW Wisconsin: 18″ Bayfield, 21″ at Upson (home of the famous horserace track, Upson Downs)…in Minnesota: 19″ Duluth, 14″ International Falls, 26″ Finland, 25″ Island Lake…with deep snow north of Lake Superior in Canada: 37″ Hearst, 20″ Atikoken, 18″ White River and Geraldton) and Superior is likely to add 2-3″ just from snowmelt in the next 2-3 weeks. Lake Erie is up 6″ in the last month, but remains 6″ below the century average. Lake Ontario is up a whopping 9″ in the last month and is now only 2″ below the century average. Lakes Erie and Ontario should go up in the next few weeks with average rainfall and more inflow from the 3 Great Lakes upstream.