June, 2013

Western Heat Wave – Las Vegas ties highest ever

June 29th, 2013 at 4:21 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

thermometer 115 degrees nbc sfo Death Valley  Click the graphic to enlarge -  4 pm EDT/1 PM Pacific Time – Temperatures:  108 LAS, 107 PHX, 110 Yuma.  The low temperature at Stovepipe Wells/Death Valley Monday AM was 101.   Las Vegas tied their highest temperature ever Sunday PM at 117.  That temperature was also reached on 7/19/2005 and 7/24/1942.  This also sets an all-time record high for June.   7 PM EDT Sunday – At 4 PM local time, it was 116 in Las Vegas (variable at 3 mph), 114 in Phoenix, 122 in Needles CA (humidity 6%) – much cooler at the ocean, 74 in San Diego and 63 in Crescent City CA in NW California.  The Saturday night low temperature at Salt Lake City was 80.  That will likely be the warmest low temperature ever at SLC.  Needles CA had a low of 95 Saturday night.  At 10 AM they were already a lot of temperatures over 100 in the desert areas. The high temperature Saturday at Death Valley was 128 depending on which NWS site you care to believe).  Check out this article on the weather station at Death Valley and this article on the difference in the 2 weather stations at Mercury NV.   The thermometer reached 115 in Las Vegas (humidity 6% and wind 6 mph).  It was the warmest temperature in Las Vegas since 1994.  Phoenix AZ hit119 (humidity 6%), the low temperature in Phoenix Sat. and Sun. morning was 91.   Palm Springs CA hit 122 (humidity 5%).  Needles CA climbed to 123 (low of 93 Fri. night)(highest ever in June).  Bullhead City AZ has reached 123 and Blythe CA has made 119.   The all-time hottest temperature for Las Vegas is 117 – reached in 1942 and 2005.  Las Vegas has seen phenomenal population growth (urbanization).  The weather station at the McCarren Airport is now surrounded by a lot of asphalt and concrete that wasn’t there in 1942.  Between the evaporation of water from the city (fountains, etc.) raising the dew point and urbanization, it’s nearly impossible for Las Vegas to set a record low temperature now.  Also:  All-time record high June temperatures at Houston (107) and San Antonio TX (108).  Check out the 500 mb map.  This is a map of a constant pressure surface.  The higher heights (note the high pressure ridge over the Western U.S.) show the core of the heat.  Note the lower heights in the Great Lakes, where we have more clouds, showers and cooler than average high temperatures.   This link updates the days high temperatures usually shortly before midnight.  (graphic from nbcbayarea.com and the NWS in Las Vegas).  This heat wave should last a good 5-6 days.  There will be a few scattered thundershowers in the SW U.S. over the next several days.  This often happens when it gets real hot.   You get warm air running up the mountains and forming scattered t-showers.  It looks like Death Valley made 128 – six degres shy of their all-time record.  Check out this article on the weather station at Death Valley.            The Average HIGH/LOW at Death Valley for June 30 is 114/85 (mean of 100).  At the end of December, the average HIGH/LOW is 65/37.

Sunshine pics.    ALSO:  LeBron James – STORM CHASER!


Sunday PM

June 29th, 2013 at 11:45 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Local   5:30 PM -  Showers are generally southeast of a line from the Lansing area to Benton Harbor.  They’ve had a couple showers in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek.  The sun is shining brightly in G.R.  Looks like G.R. may end up exactly average for temperatures for June.  The overnight European run says we could come close to 90 on Saturday.  Still a chance of a shower Tue./Weds. – smaller chance on Thurs.  Higher chances to the southeast of G.R. and lower chances to the northwest.   We should become partly cloudy overnight. (visible satellite loop).   (radar here).  We are in the General Thunderstorm Outlook for this afternoon/evening – not in it tomorrow – then SE of G.R. on Monday.  The next chance of severe weather may come not this coming week, but the week after.   Lansing is up to 8.35″ of rain for June, Kalamazoo is at 6.04″ and Grand Rapids at 4.52″.     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. Check out Storm Total Rainfall (until they reset it). 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. Here’s storm reports from NE Illinois, SE. Wisconsin and E. Michigan. Links for watches and warnings in the thread below this one regarding severe weather and the latest from the Storm Prediction Center.


Northern Lights Tonight??

June 28th, 2013 at 9:30 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

KP Index    The kp index is up to 7 at 2:15 AM.  Seeing Aurora in MN, MI, WI, IA, ND, SD, MT.    From www.spaceweather.com “A  (Kp=7) geomagnetic storm is underway around the poles. Solar wind conditions favor auroras at high latitudes, although in the northern hemisphere solstice twilight will sharply reduce visibility.”   With a five, you might catch a faint aurora on the northern horizon if you are away from artificial light.  Wed like that number to be around 7-8 for a better show.  Still it’s worth watching.  Keep checking the link at spaceweather.com and scroll down and look at the kp number on the left side.     Bonus pictures here and here.


More Scattered Showers/T-Showers Saturday

June 28th, 2013 at 2:02 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

MD1287 Thumbnail Image  More scattered showers and thundershowers are likely today.  It won’t be raining all the time and some spots won’t see any rain, but many of you will catch a little rain.  With the wind more north (it was northwest yesterday), we will have a chance of a shower even at the Lake Michigan shore.  Sunday and Monday the chance of rain is lower, maybe 20% with the best bet that the showers will be mainly down in Indiana and Ohio.  Friday reports:   – Nickel-sized hail and winds to 50-55 mph at Marshall.  Pea-sized hail at Woodland, Concord, DeWitt and Assyria.  Lansing had 3.12″ of rain (3″ in 3 hours).  Morley had 1.18″ in an hour.


Friday

June 28th, 2013 at 1:05 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Local  I’ll keep radar at the top of the blog, as we should see more showers and thunderstorms develop during the midday/early afternoon.  There will be a higher chance of rain as you go northeast of G.R. and a lower chance of rain during the day as you go southwest of Kent Co. near Lake Michigan, where the northwest wind will bring more stable air off Lake Michigan inland and create a rain shadow, similar to what occurred in the early afternoon Thursday when storms kept forming along US 127 in the middle of the Lower Peninsula.  I have a big speech to the African Bible Camp at the Tabernacle Church on Eastern SE at noon.  I’ll be into work a little early after I’m back from that.  I spent some time putting together a nice PowerPoint for the speech and in the process learned a few things I didn’t know about Africa and the weather of the 2nd biggest and warmest continent.   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.  Check out Storm Total Rainfall (until they reset it).   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.  Here’s storm reports from NE Illinois, SE. Wisconsin and E. Michigan.    Links for watches and warnings in the thread below this one regarding severe weather and the latest from the Storm Prediction Center.


Review: “White House Down” has identity crisis

June 28th, 2013 at 12:18 am by under Entertainment
"White House Down" poster courtesy Columbia Pictures

“White House Down” poster courtesy Columbia Pictures

“White House Down” (2013)
Rated: PG-13 for prolonged sequences of action and violence including intense gunfire and explosions, some language and a brief sexual image
Runtime: 2 hours, 11 minutes
Genre: Action/Thriller

My spoiler-free review:

“White House Down” is an action movie.  And a buddy comedy.  And a disaster movie.

This is one of the movie’s many problems: its disjointed pieces to the larger puzzle – that often seem like they are vignettes by different directors with different tone and style – some of them are good, some of them are not.  I give it 5.5 out of 10 … it may be fun, but its quite unbelievable and over-the-top throughout.

This is the less gritty and more exaggerated version of the White House under attack plot movies of 2013… its natural to compare it to the superior “Olympus Has Fallen”  (released in March).  This may be more fun, inspiring, funnier, less terrorizing, and PG13, but “White House Down” misses on many points.

The one thing “White House Down” got right is the chemistry between its two leading men, Channing Tatum (John Cale) and Jamie Foxx (President Sawyer)… the scenes they share are the best in the film – whether its a serious guys being tough moment, or a moment of comic relief – both are excelling and feeding off of each other’s strengths.

While this is a typical Roland Emmerich disaster movie – big explosions, big action sequences, a focus on a small group of characters struggling through a crisis situation, emotional moments to bond the characters/audience.   But it could have been better.  This is more in the category of “2012″ (2009) or “Godzilla” (1998)… and not “The Day After Tomorrow” (2004) or “Independence Day” (1996).  It takes about 30 minutes to get into the action in “White House Down”… which is way too long for a 2 hour+ movie.  The first third of the movie was okay, the 2nd third was actually pretty good as our main characters are trying to survive/solve the crisis, but the last 3rd was just too much over-the-top and predictable that it disconnected me from the movie.

There is a lot of character back story – which I will credit as attempts at depth, but it doesn’t feel like character development, because the acting doesn’t always feel genuine except when its veteran actors Richard Jenkins and James Woods convincing us with their casually slick performances or the lesser known Nicolas Wright and Jimmi Simpson totally devoted to their characters.  Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Joey King, Michael Murphy, Rachelle Lefevre, Lance Reddick, Garcelle Beauvais are either trying to hard or just completely miscast in their roles.

And there’s a problem with red herrings vs. foreshadowing: red herrings are classic movie devices used to trick the audience – put in there to make you think one thing, when something else is really going on… BUT in “White House Down”, we get foreshadowing – all the little small details that you pick up on… are just pointed out as a reminder for later in the movie when something is revealed.  Here, you think: “yep, that makes sense because of that thing earlier in the movie” – instead of what it could be: “wow, I thought they were going to do this, but instead they went this way with the movie“… which could have upped the stakes a little in “White House Down”.  There’s no tricks, no major twists based on these little detail Easter eggs planted throughout the movie… they are exactly what they are, no disguises.

Although he seemed to do his homework on White House and military stuff, much of it is unbelievable anyway – like main characters avoiding tons of gunfire just by running and diving – like John Rambo … or how all the bad guys are perfect shots (most of the time) and the good guys can barely hit the broadside of a barn.  The police and the media are made out to be dumb and/or over-the-top, its insulting.  There are several moments where the dialogue is just ridiculous statements and/or observations from the supporting cast/extras that were not necessary.  Some examples: reporter says “U.S. Special Forces are flying over us” as military helicopters fly over head and a Special Forces commander observes from 50+ feet away that Cale (Tatum) “is a friendly” and they should stop shooting at him.

Ultimately, its a cute little buddy action comedy set in a D.C. under siege movie… with many elements of a similar plotted “Olympus Has Fallen” which came out two months ago.   Wait to rent it this one… so you can pause, shake your head, and then hit play when you’re ready to continue.

MORE INFO (possible spoilers): (more…)


Great Lakes Water Levels Continue Upward Trend

June 27th, 2013 at 8:38 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Lake Michigan summer Arcadia   This is a spectacular overlook on M-22 near Arcadia (between Manistee and Frankfort) where bluffs rise 400 feet above Lake Michigan.  We stop here often when we go back and forth to Traverse City.  Pic. by Jack Martin at ReportIt.  Check out the picture full screen.   The water level of all five Great Lakes (and Lake St. Clair) are now higher than one year ago.  The level of Lake Michigan/Huron gained another inch in the past week.   The level is up 4″ in the last month and it’s now one inch above the level of one year ago.  The lake is now 13″ above the record lowest June level of 1964.  It’s still 18″ below the 100-year average (remember I linked to this article from the Milwaukee Journal.  The article states “The St. Clair (River) has been heavily dredged for over a century, and the federal government has long acknowledged that this human meddling in the riverbed has led to a permanent drop of about 16 inches from Michigan and Huron’s long-term average.  A Canadian conservation group created by property owners from northern Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay hired its own engineering firm to conduct a study of what was going on in the St. Clair River back in 2004. That study said the water lost from the lakes by expanding the river channel was actually much greater than 16 inches – and getting worse.”   If this is to be believed, without the dredging, we’d be at or even above average water levels right now.

Lake Superior has had the 2nd biggest spring water level rise in recorded (back to 1918) history.  It’s also up 4″ in the last month (each inch is 552 billion gallons!) and is now six inches below the long-term average.   It’s now 18″ above the lowest June recorded level (in 1926) and 18″ below the highest recorded June level (in 1986).  Lake Erie is up 6″ in the last month, 3″ inches higher than at this time last year and just 3″ below the average June level.  Lake Ontario has gained a whopping TEN INCHES of water in the last month.  Ontario is 11″ higher than one year ago and 5″ ABOVE the century average.

Here’s some river volumes as of 8:30 PM Thursday.  First figure is current flow in cubic feet per second and the second number is the median river flow for late June:  Grand River, Grand Rapids 4510 – 2430, Thornapple River, Hastings 303 – 169, Looking Glass River, Eagle 280 – 87, Muskegon River, Croton 1790 – 1419, Flint River, Flint 1210 – 268, Saginaw River, Saginaw 7030 – 3030, Huron River, Ann Arbor 2220 – 297, Kalamazoo River, New Richmond 3180 – 1800, St. Joseph River, Niles 4850 – 2859, Fox River, Oshkosh WI 7250 – 3920.    With rivers running this high, the water level may jump another inch in the next week.


Severe Risk – Friday Update

June 27th, 2013 at 7:00 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

1630 UTC Day 1 Outlook 1630 UTC Day 2 Outlook 1630 UTC Day 3 Outlook   Friday morning update.  These are the SPC Severe Weather Risk Areas for today, tomorrow and the Sunday.   (click the links to read the discussions for each day).  We are in the General Thunderstorm Outlook for today and much of the area is included in the Saturday Outlook as well.  While an isolated severe report is possible, the areal coverage would be so limited as to warrant keeping us in the General Outlook.  Here’s severe storm reports from Thursday.  We were surrounded, with severe reports to our NW-W-S-E-NE.  You can see the effect of Lake Michigan.  With a west wind, the more stable air downwind from the lake limited thunderstorm development over West Michigan.   Here’s storm reports from Tuesday.  There were quite a few wind damage reports, esp. from Branch Co.   If you look at the Storm Reports from Monday you can see the (mainly) wind damage reports across Iowa, Illinois and Indiana.  We are just in the General Thunderstorm Outlook for Fri. and Sat.  If you keep track of monthly rainfall, leave a comment and let us know how much you’ve had.

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.


Chance Shower/T-Shower This Thursday PM

June 27th, 2013 at 7:29 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Local 1 AM – Still some showers around Alma to Midland, but pretty much everything else has faded out with the loss of the day’s heat.   Gust to 77 mph at Gary, Indiana airport, 55 mph at Midway, 48 mph at O’Hare.  Here’s storm reports from NE IllinoisSE. Wisconsin, NE Wisconsin and E. Michigan.  There are spots where water is 4 feet deep on roads in Ann Arbor, Near Pontiac and SE of Saginaw where they report 5″ of rain!  Auburn Hills has had +3.4″ and 1 1/2″ at Ann Arbor.   3/4″ rain in NE Montcalm Co.   Here’s the latest Mesoscale Discussion from SPC for our area.  They say 40% chance of a watch.  I’m not as keen on severe as they are.  One t-storm has come into Berrien Co. – no reports of anything severe with that.    Nice windshift – outflow boundary came west all the way to downtown G.R. with the wind shifting from WNW to ENE.  Storms were back-backing to the west.   A handful of  hail reports with the storms east of US 127 and also in E. Wisconsin.  Here’s regional radar.  We did get a report of small hail in Webberville near Lansing.  The chance of rain is still there, but the odds of rain this early evening in West Michigan in any one spot is probably only about 20-25% – so, most of the golf leagues and softball games should be OK.  Nice temperature gradient.  At 4 PM it’s 84 in G.R. and Kalamazoo and just 70 on the beach at S. Haven and Muskegon.  From Earlier:    There is slightly less of a chance of rain at the lakeshore (between S. Haven and Silver Lake in Oceana Co.) and a little higher chance of rain tomorrow as you head east toward US 127 (Mt. Pleasant, Lansing, Jackson).  We’ll continue a chance of a shower or thundershower on Friday and Saturday.  Sunday and Monday may be dry.  Temperatures most days next week will be upper 70s to low 80s (cooler near Lake Michigan).  We still do not have a 90-degree day in the next 8 days.  The radar graphic here on this thread should update automatically.  Check out Storm Total Rainfall (until they reset it).   Portage Lake near Kalamazoo has risen over a foot.  They’ve had 8″ of rain this month.  A couple locations in southern Barry Co. have also had 8″ of rain this month.   Come on back to the blog for radar and the links.   The overnight European model says at least a little rain each day the rest of this week   It keeps us dry Sunday and Monday.  See the thread below for severe weather.   As of Weds., June monthly totals:  Kalamazoo 5.16″, Grand Rapids 4.44″ (+10.38″ for the year), Lansing 4.36″, 4.26″ Muskegon.  The water temperature made 73 Weds.  at Saugatuck. 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.


Comstock Park Rotary BBQ Today

June 27th, 2013 at 12:14 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

rotary-with-gayle  4:15 PM – We had several blog readers at the BBQ at Noon – thanks for coming.  The BBQ had over 300 during the Noon Hour…very nice.  They’ll have BBQ for you until 6:30 PM, so think about stopping for dinner.   More on the Comstock Park Rotary BBQ fundraiser today (my wife is a member).  A half dozen blog readers  stopped down at our last BBQ in May, so hopefully a few of you can grab a lunch or dinner. I was there around Noon and we talked weather. The Comstock Park Rotary does a lot of good work in the community. They built and are helping to maintain the new Grotto Park on the North Side of the Veterans Home on Monroe, NW and with the help of Amway Employees built the new playground in the York Creek Area. The BBQ is at Dwight Lydell Park in “downtown” Comstock Park on West River Drive, just down the road from 5th/3rd Park, with an easy on and off to US 131.  Along with the traditional chicken, they’ll have ribs and sausage.   They do three BBQs during the summer…the last Thursday of May, June and August. Advance Orders are taken for pick up. Call (616) 437-5567 or e-mail gregwares@charter.net by mid-morning. If you order 15 or more dinners, they’ll deliver within 10 miles. They’ve got a thousand dinners to sell. There’s a large gazebo there and we have a tent up to get out of any showers (that clown may need the umbrella!). Click here for pictures of a past BBQ. We got a nice on-air plug from WOOD-AM in the past and we had a number of people show up after they heard about it on the radio with the now retired Gary Allen and Steve Kelly.  Any other media help would be appreciated.

Rain and Severe Weather Threads are below this one.