This is Cool!

April 25th, 2013 at 10:21 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Grand River Flood 2 Earth ObservatoryGrand River Flood 1 Earth Observatory  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.

5 Responses to “This is Cool!”

  1. Ron Bailey says:

    Wow! Incredible. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Robert Stegmier says:

    Bill Steffen,
    I believe there is an environment lesion or update to be learned from this year’s flooding. What bring me to this thought was your comment earlier this week that the in the 1904 Grand Rapids flood the river flow rate was somewhere around 50,000 gallons or cubic feet (I didn’t catch the exact figures) and this year’s maximum was over 38,000.
    We might review what has happened over 109 to cause so much record high water with 32 % less water.
    The lessons I see could be we need to be more pro active in preventing storm water runoff. Runoff is bad in a number of ways from the contaminants swept into the Great Lakes and adjacent submerged river mouths. Loss of farming top soils and of course the large amounts of property damage when homes and businesses are flooded even the most basic of water management groundwater recharge.
    We need to review and adjust our long term planning to prevent what might be called continuing neglect of our watersheds. Watersheds are now considered the thing to manage even across governmental boundaries but there is a heap of understanding to be learned and turned into action.
    I am not sure who should lead the way but you might start it by repeating your figures and making some initial informational discussions.
    Thanks Bill.
    Robert Stegmier
    National Director, Izaak Walton League of America
    Rockford, MI

    1. Bill Steffen says:

      That’s true – a forest or field puts roughly 20% of rainfall into rivers. A parking lot is 98%. As we become more urbanized storm water gets to rivers faster and in higher quantities. We’ve also built walls to keep rivers in a defined channel in urban areas like downtown G.R. The Bernoulli Effect causes the water to flow faster and climb higher in walled areas in order to get an equal volume of water through the river. When we wall in Grand Rapids, the river climbs higher (note that the water didn’t fall very far over the 6th St. dam during the flood. Flood plains are just that, natural places for the water to expand when there is a flood. The 1904 flood peaked at 54,000 cfs. This flood was 33,700 cfs. We have always had floods. We will some day get a bigger flood than the one we just had. They are part of nature and nature is resilient. It repairs and adjusts (oxbow lakes). But man insists on living in places that are quite pleasant most of the time, but subject to rare catastrophic weather events. We’ve settled almost every square inch of the barrier islands islands of Florida. Every square inch of Sanibel Island was 10 feet underwater during an 1877 hurricane. That’s going to happen again. It’s not “climate change”, it’s part of climate. The very least we can do is make people liable who build out there on the islands. The government through our tax dollars should not be providing insurance for the rich who have their 2nd homes on the islands. If they can get private insurance, OK – if not, they’re on their own. Hurricane Sandy was barely a hurricane when it hit NJ/NY. That area has had worse hurricanes. It’s going to get worse hurricanes. People should choose not to live in areas that are subject to that kind of shoreline damage from a minimal hurricane. Either don’t let them build there (zoning) or thru their contributions (why should people in North Dakota pay for this) build a sea wall (sorry to spoil your view).

  3. GunLakeDeb says:

    If you go to the Shiawassee link Bill provided, they have flood pictures on their Facebook page that are incredible…. they’re worried about how this will affect nesting waterfowl?

    1. Brian(Grandville) says:

      Yes, my grandparents live near the area, and I have seen some pretty amazing pictures of the flooding over there.

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