May, 2013

Tornado Watch – much of Indiana, parts of NE IL and W Ohio

May 31st, 2013 at 11:25 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

WW0267 RADAR Thumbnail Image   Tornado Watch until 6 AM EDT for much of Indiana and parts of NE IL and NW Ohio.  I’m on the southern edge of the Watch here in Seymour.  SPC says “PRIMARY THREATS INCLUDE… SEVERAL TORNADOES POSSIBLE NUMEROUS DAMAGING WIND GUSTS LIKELY WITH A FEW SIGNIFICANT GUSTS TO 80 MPH POSSIBLE SEVERAL LARGE HAIL EVENTS TO 1.5 INCHES IN DIAMETER POSSIBLE.”  Latest observation at Decatur has the wind south at 37 mph with a gust to 58 mph.  Taylorville’s wind is north at 24 mph with a gust to 43 mph.  Gust to 70 mph reported at Kincaid IL, 65 mph at Mt. Ayr IN, 62 mph at Danville IL, 60 mph at Bethany and Cisco IL.  Semi blown off road at Chatsworth IL.  Cars stranded in floodwaters at multiple locations in Springfield IL.

Also, Weather Channel Meteorologist injured when chase vehicle gets flipped by tornado.    NWS confirms straight-line winds of over 75 mph in Clinton Co.

Rainfall:  5.28″ Coffeyville KS, 4.72″ Fargo ND, 4.50″ Mena AR, 4.15″ Columbia MO, 3.41″ Little Rock AR, 3.39″ Miles City MT, 3.15″ Red Oak IA, 3.14″ Bartlesville OK, 2.34″ Chicago, 1.83″ Saginaw.


Multiple Tornado Deaths in Oklahoma City Area

May 31st, 2013 at 9:56 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

hail el reno   tornado okc Hail this Fri. evening the size of grapefruits in El Reno, Oklahoma.  Here’s a preliminary path of the El Reno TornadoVideo from inside the tornado.   Preliminary path of Oklahoma City tornadoes.   Second picture is one of at least several tornadoes that have hit the Oklahoma City Area. So far, there are five fatalities, inc. a mother and baby that were in a car that was blown off I-40.  Two other fatalities were in vehicles.  14 people have been admitted to the hospital in Yukon OK with 3 in critical condition.   At least 6 semis have been blown over on I-40.  67,000 are without power in the OKC area. Winds hit 70 mph at the Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City. Cells are training over the same area, producing very heavy rain. Tornadoes have been reported at Minco, Newcastle, Tuttle and perhaps near Moore (again). The town of El Reno has been hard hit. A Tornado Hunt vehicle was rolled with injuries. A Tornado Emergency has been declared for the Oklahoma City area. I-40 has been closed.  Here’s tornado/storm pics. from the Oklahoma City area.  Oklahoma City Police Lt. Jay Barnett::  “We are overwhelmed right now with calls of people trapped in vehicles in high water, to the point that we are having grave difficulty even responding to all of them. The flooding is the major problem in the Oklahoma City metro. Check out this picture of the flooding.   Wind Gusts:  87 mph at Tinker AFB SE of Oklahoma City, 66 mph at the National Weather Service in Norman. OK.   Windows blown out of KFOR vehicle from 100 mph winds.

Tornadoes have hit near St. Louis. Serious damage reported. Damage is on the northern side of the city, near Lambert Field. Possible injuries.  There has been some damage at Busch Stadium, where the Cardinals game was canceled.   Towns reporting tornadoes: Weldon Springs, Wood River, Earth City (injuries at the Holiday Inn at Earth City) and Maryland Heights where there was damage to the Hollywood Casino. Five tornado warnings now in Illinois.  Semis blown off I-55 in central Illinois.   Here’s storm pictures from the St. Louis area.  (This is Bill Steffen writing from the TravelLodge in Seymour, Indiana – cheap with a coupon from the rest stop).

Radar showing storms moving across N. Indiana.   Bow echo moving across central Illinois.


Confirmed: Six Tornadoes

May 29th, 2013 at 10:43 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

tornado byron michigan mark l. rowell jr.   The National Weather Service survey teams have confirmed six separate tornado touchdowns between 8:30 and 10: 30 pm Tuesday evening.   Here’s their summary of the tornadoes.   On the Enhanced Fujita Scale, there were 2 EFO tornadoes, 2 EF1 tornadoes, and 2 EF2 tornadoes.  The tornado east of Grand Blanc had an estimated maximum wind speed of 130 mph.   There were no serious injuries from the twisters.  Note that there were also no serious injuries from the Dexter tornado last year.  People are heading warnings and taking action, moving to relatively safer locations.  Here’s a helicopter view of some of the damage.  Rainfall this month is up to 3.24″ for G.R. and 3.92″ for Lansing.   Grand Rapids is now 9.01″ above average for precipitation this year.   Two EF1 tornadoes hit NW Pennsylvania.  Seven people were injured by these tornadoes.  Pictures here.  Wednesday was a busy day for severe weather in the U.S. with nearly two dozen tornadoes and over 325 severe reports from Massachusetts to Colorado and Wisconsin to Texas.

It was a mostly sunny and warm day here in E. Tennessee.  The high temperature in Knoxville was 88.  We spent most of the day inside talking with my mother.  Mom will be 94 in July.  She still loves to cook and we had a nice beef stew this evening.  I’m over at my sister’s now, where they have WI-FI.  We did get out for a nice walk.  Looks like we may drive mom back to Illinois, then come back to Michigan.  The Storm Prediction Center reports nearly two dozen tornadoes and over 325 severe reports in the U.S. on Weds. with severe reports from Massachusetts to E. Colorado and Wisconsin to N Texas.  Hurricane Barbara with a well-developed  eye hits the SW coast of Mexico.   I did get a chance to see the overnight NAM (caribou) and the model gives G.R. 1.36″ of rain from Friday PM thru Saturday AM.

Boy, the Red Wings gave it quite a run…so close.   OH, and gas is as low as $3.21 in Clinton, Tenn. – that’s the cheapest I’ve seen it on this trip.


Live Radar Blog Thread

May 29th, 2013 at 1:32 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Local  8:30 AM Weds. – writing from Richmond KY on the way to see my mother in Oak Ridge TN.  88 degrees here today.  Got a nice motel for $50 (inc. tax) with breakfast and a pool.  The deal was with a coupon from a pamphlet at a rest stop on I-75.    They had just filled the pool and the water was a little chilly, but I got to swim around for 20 minutes.  I’ve seen gas as cheap as $3.49 in OH and KY.  With chances for rain/storms each day, I’ll leave the radar toward the top of the blog with the Severe Weather Outlooks and links below.  My posts will be few this week, as I’ll concentrate on mom.  Here’s the GRR NWS discussion. Use the links below and in the next couple threads to keep up with the weather. Watch for updates on WOOD-TV. For current Michigan weather observations and wind speeds, click here. 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, and a surface weather 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. Links for watches and warnings in the thread below this one regarding severe weather and the latest from the Storm Prediction Center.

Also, here’s a MODIS satellite picture of the thunderstorms in Oklahoma right about the time of the Moore Tornado. Check out the video of the snow at Whiteface Mt., New York from this weekend!


Tornado Warnings/Severe T-Storm Watch

May 28th, 2013 at 11:02 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

WW0236 RADAR Thumbnail Image   Here’s video of one of the Flint area Tornadoes (electric flash around 1:39 into the video).   More pictures here and hereDamage video here.  Schools are closed today (Weds.) in Byron, Beecher and Goodrich.   From Tues. Evening/Night:  MAJOR DAMAGE REPORTED AT MPC CASHWAY LUMBER YARD IN DELTA TOWNSHIP (just WNW of Lansing). SEMI TRUCK ROLLED OVER.   A funnel cloud was reported NW of Battle Creek by the Fire Dept.  No confirmed tornadoes in SW Michigan as I write this early Weds. AM.  Trees down near Bath  in Clinton Co. and Dansville in Ingham Co.  Hail fell in Eaton Rapids.   Numerous large tree limbs down in Berrien Co.   Spotters report torrential rain in S. Barry Co. and power outages in Cooper, Bedford, Johnstown and Assyria Townships.  Flood Advisories continue for Ingham, Clinton and Ionia Counties.  Here’s storm reports from SW Michigan, SE Michigan, Indiana border counties down into N. Indiana (gusts to 62 mph at S. Bend and 64 mph at Mishawaka IN). Rainfall:  2.58″ Lansing, 2.24″ Entrican (Montcalm Co.), 1.48″ Big Rapids, 1.68″ Alma.

It looks like there have been at least  3 tornado reports…from Goodrich (significant damage), 4 miles north of Flint and east of Grand Blanc. Damage reports: “HOMES DESTROYED ON HEGEL ROAD. PEOPLE REPORTED TRAPPED IN HOMES. TREES AND WIRES DOWNED ON EAST HEGEL. UNABLE TO GO NORTH TOWARDS ATLAS DUE TO TREES AND WIRES DOWN. PEOPLE REPORTED TRAPPED IN HIGH SCHOOLBAR COLLAPSED,PEOPLE TRAPPED, EMERGENCY PERSONNEL ON SCENE.  DEBRIS ON M15 BETWEEN GREEN AND KIPP ROADS. HOUSE LEVELED ON SOUTH JENNINGS ROAD, 5 MILES SE SWARTZ CREEK. OVER A DOZEN TREES DOWNED ACROSS A QUARTER MILE STRETCH OF BALDWIN ROAD JUST WEST OF FENTON ROAD. POSSIBLE TORNADO DAMAGE, 5 MILES WSW GRAND BLANC.”  Here’s a map of the area around Goodrich hit by the tornado this evening.  Goodrich is southeast of Flint.  Severe T-Storm Warnings for Van Buren and Kalamazoo Counties until midnight.  Comments from  WJRT facebook:  “Byron got hit, my son called and told me lots of trees down after freight train ear popping sounds, no power, he says it was real bad!”   “York & Harvard…Trees down …lines down…no power…Her neighbor can’t get out the front door!”  “…trees down people trapped command center at the Church at Carpenter and Saginaw.”  “In Goodrich- My friend went up to the schools, Oaktree and the Middle School have debris and the football field’s soccer nets are gone and the high school is fine. There is a house across from the middle school that got hit bad”  “there are down power lines by the high school but no severe damage.” “I live in Lake Fenton and they have that area blocked off.”  “…a tornado did hit Thompson road and other areas…my friends family lost their home.”  “In Grand Blanc / Gaines there is some very significant damage. All but a few structures are still standing but exterior walls are collapsed and garage blown away on at least one home. Roofs torn off on several others. Vinyl siding wrapped around trees and poles, 1.5 ft thick tree limbs snapped off and deposited 40 ft away on top of a willow tree, debris scattered in all directions…”

Check out this video from Sean Casey from a Monday twister in KS.  and Reed Timmer chases down a monster twister near Salina KS.


Severe Weather Outlook Areas

May 28th, 2013 at 11:04 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

1630 UTC Day 1 Outlook 1630 UTC Day 2 Outlook 1630 UTC Day 3 Outlook These are the current Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 severe t-storm outlook from the Storm Prediction Center. Click the links below for the latest from the Storm Prediction Center and the

Check out the GRR NWS discussion and the latest surface map.

Check out Regional radar to see the rain across the Great Lakes. Here’s GRR radar, local lightning data, meso-discussions and current watches from SPC and a satellite loop. Here’s current Michigan temperatures, National lightning data. Here’s National Storm Reports for today and yesterday. Here’s a live pic. of the beach at Grand Haven,

Good Luck to the Red Wings in Game 7 – It’s been a great run to this point.


Chance of Severe Storms

May 27th, 2013 at 7:15 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

1630 UTC Day 1 Outlook 1630 UTC Day 2 Outlook 1630 UTC Day 3 Outlook  This is the current Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 severe t-storm outlook from the Storm Prediction Center. After a quiet few days, things are going to get more interesting, with several chances for strong to even severe storms this week.  If things get rolling, they may have to bump up N. KS, S. NE and maybe NW MO and SW IA into a moderate risk for today.  Part of that area has seen a lot of rain.  The west side of Sioux City IA had 6.6″ of rain and Grinnell, IA had 5.7″.  Here’s what SPC says about Tues. PM:  “POSSIBILITY FOR A FORWARD PROPAGATING MCS AS IT MOVES TOWARDS THE SRN GREAT LAKES.”

Check out the GRR NWS discussion and the latest surface map.

Check out Regional radar to see the rain across the Great Lakes. Here’s GRR radar, local lightning data, meso-discussions and current watches from SPC and a satellite loop. Here’s current Michigan temperatures, National lightning data and the latest discussion from GRR NWS. Here’s National Storm Reports for today and yesterday. Here’s a live pic. of the beach at Grand Haven, Here’s the latest Grand Rapids NWS discussion.

RED WINGS WIN, 4-1. They have a 2-1 game lead on Chicago heading into game 3.


Chance of a Shower

May 27th, 2013 at 5:00 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Local   8PM – Still a few showers – mainly SE of G.R. and some pockets of drizzle.  Heavier storms in Indiana are moving east.  We could see a t-storm sneak in from the SW late tonight, but there’s a better chance of a storm tomorrow or tomorrow night.  We’ve had five days in a row with high temperatures in the 60s in G.R. and five days with cooler than average temperatures.   Despite that, G.R. is still 3.3 deg. warmer than average for May.  It’s a different story in the U.P., where Maruquette is 4.2 deg. colder than average for May.  They’ve had cooler than average temperatures on 21 of 27 days.  They’ve been below freezing on 11 days, incl the 24th, 25th and 26th.  Here’s the GRR NWS discussion. Use the links below and in the next couple threads to keep up with the weather. Watch for updates on WOOD-TV. For current Michigan weather observations and wind speeds, click here. 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, and a surface weather 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. Links for watches and warnings in the thread below this one regarding severe weather and the latest from the Storm Prediction Center.

Also, here’s a MODIS satellite picture of the thunderstorms in Oklahoma right about the time of the Moore Tornado.   Check out the video of the snow at Whiteface Mt., New York from this weekend!


Memorial Day – My father in WWII

May 27th, 2013 at 1:23 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

John Steffen WWII with gun  Click the pics. to enlarge.  john steffen WWII at deskHere’s a couple pictures of my dad (John Steffen 1913-2004, probably about age 28-29 in the pictures) from WWII.  Dad is the guy in the lower right in the first picture (does anyone know what type of gun he was holding?)  My father was a big band, swing and jazz drummer in Chicago during the 1930s.  Side note:  he played some gigs with Walt Perry (Parazaider), the father of Walt Parazaider of the group “Chicago”.  Walt Sr. was a tall trumpet player.   Dad played at the big hotels, for private parties and at some of the jazz clubs around 31st and State and 35th and State on the S. Side of Chicago.  He was actually called “Whitey” before anyone dreamed that might not be anything but a descriptive and fond nickname.  He loved jazz because it was so creative and you didn’t play the same songs the same way every time.  Dad was part of a band that Northwestern Univ. put together to tour Europe in 1938 and demonstrate current popular American music.  They were in Europe for around 5 months.  There’s a movie very loosely based on this time called “Swing Kids”.  The NAZIs were clamping down on swing and jazz, but their definition of “jazz” was so vague that it was easy to get around the authorities by doing things like changing the name of the songs.  My dad came back and told everyone that there was this maniac named “Hitler” and he “wants to take over the world – we’re going to be at war with this guy”.  People here thought that we had crushed Germany in WWI and they didn’t consider them that much of a threat.  So, my dad went and enlisted in the Army in 1940.  He thought he’d be higher up the food chain when the war came if he enlisted early.  He went out to basic training at Rockford, Illinois.  They found out he had taken a couple of aviation classes, so they moved him to the Army Air Corps.  He went to Missouri, living in a cold tent even during the winter.  During maneuvers, when the guys were jumping off a cliff one right after the other, the guy behind my dad jumped to soon and landed on his back.  Dad was in the hospital in St. Louis for weeks, but eventually made a 99% recovery (could only make about a 80% golf swing).  After that, though, he couldn’t be a pilot.  He spent two years at Frederick Army Air Field in Oklahoma (he did fly in B24s and B25s) and after that he was part of a crew that set up supply depots around the U.S.  The picture on the right is probably from Fort Bragg in N.C.  His brother, Felix, was the top motorcycle mechanic in Chicago (he married Dorothy Johnson from Fennville MI) and after enlisting in the Army after Pearl Harbor, Felix wound up in India with the Brits, where they ran motorcycles thru the jungles.  Both my father and Felix were excellent harmonica players.  Felix asked his wife to send harmonicas to India.  Felix then gave them out to the natives and taught them to play American songs.   My dad thought about making the Army a career, but decided to go back to Chicago to help his parents after the war ended.   He put his life and his music on hold for over five years to make sure his kids didn’t have to wear swastikas and for that I am very grateful.    M


Shiverin’ Snowman!!

May 26th, 2013 at 11:55 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

snow new hampshire   Check out the snow they had in at Whiteface Mountain in New York !  AND..HERE’S VIDEO!   By Sunday afternoon, they reported 34″ of snow!  As I write this at 11:15 pm, Mt. Washington NH has a temperature of 23.1 and a NNW wind at 83.5 mph!  Webcams hereSnow fell at both Syracuse and Binghamton, NY – the latest in the year both of those cities have ever had snow.   The MODIS satellite pic. from Sunday PM shows the ice has melted off Lake Nipigon and the other lakes north of Lake Superior.  You can see the Trans-Canadian Highway north and northeast of Lake Superior.  Snow fell in parts of Quebec.  A major road was closed at the height of the snowstorm…and…snow in Italy.  The 19th stage of the Giro d’Italia was canceled Friday because of snow.  “Summer begins with snow” (and unseasonably cold temperatures) in Germany. (pic. from NWS – Binghamton facebook page).  Also, the water temperature at Grand Haven State Park was 47 on Sunday.