Ridge, Trough

October 22nd, 2013 at 1:03 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

500mb   high temps. Click on the images to enlarge. The map on the left is the 500 mb map. This is a constant pressure surface about 18,000 feet above the ground. The wind tends to flow parallel to the solid lines. Note the ridge in the Western U.S. and the trough sitting smack dab over the western Great Lakes. Under the ridge, the weather is often sunnier, dry and warmer. Under the trough, the weather is often cloudier, wetter and colder. The second map is high temperatures from Monday. Note how the temperatures tend to follow the ridge trough, with warmer highs generally under the ridge.   (Maps courtesy of SUNY).

First 2 weeks of October, G.R. had 67% sunshine.  The last week we had 16% of possible sunshine.  We have had at least a tenth of an inch of rain on 6 of the last 7 days (and the 7th day we had sprinkles).  Rainfall this month in G.R. thru 10/21 is 3.79″, that’s 1.59″ above average for Oct. 1-21.  For the year, G.R. has had 37.36″ of precipitation and that’s 6.16″ above average.  Here’s snowfall totals in the U.P., Minnesota and N. Dakota.   Here’s harvesting this (Tue.) morning in the snow in Iowa.  From the U.P., Atlantic Mine reports 4″ of snowfall, 3″ near Houghton (less at MI Tech.).

Latest first 32 deg. temperature in G.R.:  1)  Nov. 14, 1918  2)  Nov. 11, 1897  3)  Nov. 9, 1938  4)  Nov. 6, 1940, Nov. 6, 1931  6)  Nov. 5, 1927  7) Nov. 2, 1932  Nov. 2, 1921  Nov. 2, 1919  10) Nov. 1, 1971  (data courtesy of the GRR NWS).  Note note of the years were recent.

Here’s a Guide to Extraordinary Clouds, a pic. of the fires in SE Australia, a happy snowman in the U.P., Acapulco had 6″ of rain from Hurricane Raymond.  Arctic ice extent now (Oct. 22) at greatest extent for any Oct. 22 since 2005. 

136 Responses to “Ridge, Trough”

  1. Jack says:

    First, Good Tuesday Morning Bill. The Map on The Right, when I click on It. It comes Up Page 404 not Found . Cold, Windy and Damp, Mix is in The Forecast,, YUCK… Stay Cued ! ;-

    1. Jo Anne says:

      No matter what the weather, God is still in control!…..+…..

      1. AlleganJoe says:


      2. Brad says:

        Indeed They are!

  2. Jack says:

    Amen.. Sister Jo Anne !!! CUE::: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r6Eiv1r5UnE. God Bless YOU, and Keep You ! May His Glorious Face Shine Upon YOU, and Give YOU HIS PEACE…..+….. :-)

  3. Jack says:

    The Happy SnowMan in The Link !! Looks Just Like ” ROCKY” !!! Lol.. Stay Cued … ;-) . Sorry Rocky… Could Not RESIST !! ;-)

  4. Skot says:

    What goes U.P, must come down. Be here before you know it. Gonna be 97′ all over again.

  5. Lisa (Caledonia) says:

    This is interesting: http://wxcaster.com/gis-snow-overlays.php3?STATIONID=GRR

    I don’t think I’ve ever checked it this early in the year.

  6. INDY says:

    WOW 33* OUT THEE YARDofBRICKS!! Who said 60′s Friday?????……Feels like mid Novi!! Stay Warm Winter is here!!!! INDYYYY

  7. michael g (SE GR) says:

    Top 9 latest fall freezes all 1940 or before. Fall sure was colder in the old days!

    1. Cliff(Scotts) says:

      They blamed it on global warming back then?

      1. Skot says:

        They had to Clifford. Obama wasn’t born yet.

    2. Mark (East Lansing) says:

      Daylight savings time?

  8. kevin. w says:

    This pattern is great for cold but not for big snow events. I think we break this cold early next week (no 60s) but I think will go into a pattern realignment with more of a southwest to northeast storm track based on most models (gfs,euro,gem and candian). Some of the models are hinting at a couple significant storms starting toward the end of next week and beyond. Which is more in line with typical big storms in November. I notice the Euro ensembles and Canadian are latching on to a big storm toward the weekend of the 8th or thereabouts. Gotta get the gulf of mexico involved for big snowstorms cause you can’t get much with these little guys coming up and over the western ridge. I heard yesterday from the weather channel that November to early December is the time frame to watch for us as there looking at southwest storm track. Will see. Nice to see snow on the ground and falling in Marquette this morning headin back today. :)

    1. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

      It all depends on where the storm track sets up if its to our NW then we get mild temp and rain, Over head then we get rain/snow to our SE then it could be snow too far to our SE then its just cloudy and cold.

      1. Lisa (Caledonia) says:

        We had a lot of that “snow up north, rain here” pattern last year! No thanks! :)

  9. Mike (Mattawan) says:

    Sure is chilly right now, 34 degrees here!

  10. DF (SE Mich) says:

    Made it down to 27° in the A2 this morning. There is frost covering just about everything this morning for the first time.

    1. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

      It must have cleared out over there?

      1. DF (SE Mich) says:

        Yeah, it was completely clear this early morning.

  11. DF (SE Mich) says:

    The CPC has us in “Heavy Snow” for 10/24 through 10/27… hmmm…

    1. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

      Looks like they are thinking lake effect.

    2. michael g (SE GR) says:

      Ought to shut them back down after that forecast…..

  12. Travis (Oakland County) says:

    Cold pattern? Yesterday was my second warmer than average day in a row. I’ve still only had one cold day since September 24th!

    Heat wave continues in Alaska and Northwest Canada. Once this blocking pattern breaks, it looks like mild temps return.

    1. Mark (East Lansing) says:

      Two in row? Remarkable.

    2. yooper4021 says:

      I’m not seeing anything about a mild pattern….or even an average pattern…this week anywhere in Michigan. Definitely hoping for a warm-up next week for trick-or-treating!

      Courtesy of GR NWS:


      Courtesy of Detroit NWS:


      Courtesy of Gaylord NWS:


      Courtesy of Marquette NWS:


    3. Mark (East Lansing) says:

      Oh and thanks for the update.

      1. Rodey (Rockford) says:

        ^ Has a crush on Travis. ^

        1. DF (SE Mich) says:

          The irony of Fixxxxxxx still using the Rodey alias the say this is PRICELESS!

        2. DF (SE Mich) says:

          *to say this

        3. michael g (SE GR) says:

          I don’t think Rodey is actually fix. Rodey seems marginally brighter.

    4. DF (SE Mich) says:

      Any frost this morning?

      1. Mark (East Lansing) says:

        Plenty around the Lansing area.

    5. yooper4021 says:

      There’s definitely a pattern all across Michigan in the posts below.

      Courtesy of GR NWS:


      Courtesy of Detroit NWS:


      Courtesy of Gaylord NWS:


      Courtesy of Marquette NWS:


    6. Bill Steffen says:

      “Heat” wave? The coldest temp. in Alaska this AM was 9 at Arctic Village. The warmest was 54 at Hydaburg.

  13. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

    The low here at my house was 39° this AM. So with clouds there was no frost and I did not see any snow or ice or hail there was a few times of rain.

  14. Barry in Zeeland says:

    Haven’t had a freeze or frost here yet either. Lowest temp I’ve seen is 36. Usually we’ve had a frost by now, but these cloudy nights and the warm lake have been holding the temps up. Another week and it’s November. Not to many years I can think of that it hasn’t been below freezing at least a couple times by now.

    1. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

      yes getting very late in the season with out one. In fact most of the leaves are still on the trees around here.

  15. Travis Ulberg (West of Martin, Allegan County) says:

    What a cold morning at work. When I got there at 9am, the windchill was 26°…the windchill is a balmy 31° right now. I don’t believe we have had a frost here yet either, but we are at a higher elevation.

    Here is some snow pictures of the U.P. and northern lower from yesterday. The first pic is from Chassell, MI.(located in the Keweenaw Peninsula)


    And this picture is from Onoway, MI.(northern lower)


    1. Mark (East Lansing) says:

      Onaway has a great Independence Day parade.

    2. Lisa (Caledonia) says:

      Wow, that’s quite the pile! Thanks for sharing! :)

  16. arcturus says:

    Climate change and the great lakes. Takeaways:

    - ice cover has decreased 71% over the past 40 years
    - Lake Superior is one of the fastest warming lakes on the planet
    - evaporation has increased dramatically

    Details: http://bridgemi.com/2013/10/up-or-down-which-way-are-great-lakes-water-levels-headed/

    1. yooper4021 says:

      And your point is….??

      1. arcturus says:

        Point? Just furnishing facts. People can spin it whichever way they want.

        1. yooper4021 says:

          And you’re not trying to “spin it”?

        2. arcturus says:

          Already responded but since you’ve asked a second time it’s clear it really doesn’t matter, does it Yoops?

        3. yooper4021 says:

          It’s just that the author of the article that you referenced above tends to see things through a certain lens, as evidenced by his Great Lakes blog. The spin is in.

    2. Bill Steffen says:

      Evaporation on a big lake like Lake Superior is little more than a wild guess. The article you linked to said that “evaporation in Lake Superior has more than doubled since the 1960s”. I seriously doubt that. With nearly constant temperatures, wind and humidity, evaporation rates would not more than double. The overriding fact is that the water level of Lake Superior is UP 11″ in the last year, a dramatic and perhaps unprecedented increase in a year’s time. That dwarfs evaporation.

      You’re 71% over the past 40 years is only because you choose an extreme starting point. It’s like saying the Detroit Lions are 8 times better than in 2008. When you start in 2008, that’s not nearly as impressive as it sounds. 1976-77 was the coldest winter of the last 109 years. In 1978 we had he big blizzard, followed by the coldest February and the 5th coldest March ever and in 1978-79 we had the most ice on the Great Lakes EVER. So if you start with those 3 unusually cold winters and compare them to now, yeah, you get a 71% decrease. Now, start the graph in the winter of 1982-83 and you get an increase compared to last winter.

      The air temperatures around Lake Superior have been pretty close to average this year (in fact, a little cooler than average. Since Jan. 1, Marquette is 0.9 deg. BELOW average for temperature. A couple of ski resorts in the U.P. had their latest skiing ever this past spring.

      1. Travis (Oakland County) says:

        Lake Superior is warming significantly. Here’s a long-term graph from NOAA:


        1. yooper4021 says:

          Marquette, Houghton, Sault Ste Marie, and Thunder Bay cannot wait! It will soon be the Caribbean of the North!

        2. arcturus says:

          But … but … 1950 is an extreme starting point!

        3. Bill Steffen says:

          I don’t believe the graph. I don’t believe that the water temperature of Lake Superior is 10 degrees warmer than it was in 1950. Air temperatures at weather stations around Lake Superior show little change. Can you find out what data they used to arrive at the water temperature of Lake Superior each year, especially in 1950 and again, this is a graph that is on a special-interest website. I tried to find it on google images and it didn’t show up for me.

      2. Travis (Oakland County) says:

        Hmm sort of like when Bill says temperatures have been flat for a decade yet starts at one of the warmest years on record?! Talk about extreme starting points.

        1. michael g (SE GR) says:

          According to your revered models, EVERY year will be the new hottest year on record. NONE of them predicted 15 straight years cooler than 1998*.

      3. Bill Steffen says:

        http://www.dailyclimate.org is a special interest site. I certainly wouldn’t accept that graph without looking at the raw data myself. Even their graph has Lake Superior water temperatures dropping from 1960 to 1990 while CO2 rose. It would be interesting to see what Lake Superior water temperatures were available in 1950 to check the data for consistency.

        1. Travis (Oakland County) says:

          It’s straight from NOAA just linked through their site but okay?

        2. Bill Steffen says:

          If you know that, then show me the graph at a NOAA site.

          Here’s an article I found (with a temperature graph of the water temp. at one of the Lake Superior buoys): http://climate.umn.edu/climatechange/climatechangeobservednu.htm

          The article says: “Lake Superior water temperature has been measured at buoys in the lake since the early 1980s. Such a time period is too short to put the data into an adequate historical context”.

          Regarding the graph at the article (http://climate.umn.edu/climatechange/LkSupBuoy45006_g4.gif). Look at the beginning and the end dates of the graph. Now, what would the graph look like if you started at 1987 and ended at 2005? Note that when the graph starts (1981), we were still coming off the coldest 3-year winter period in Michigan history (1976-1979). Given the starting point, it would be logical to see a small climb back to the long-term average of the lake (which I’ll bet was as warm in the 1930s as it is today).

        3. Mark (East Lansing) says:


  17. Mark (East Lansing) says:

    Not to mention his uncontrollable urge to repeat every post of Rocky’s. If that’s not true love, I don’t know what is.

    1. Mark (East Lansing) says:

      Meant for Mark/Fixxxer/Rodey above. Not sure what happened there.

      1. Travis (Oakland County) says:

        Kind of like you’re trolling on mine? Hmmmm

      2. DF (SE Mich) says:

        Trolling every post of Bill’s with the Flint temp is cool though Mark!

        1. Mark (East Lansing) says:


      3. Rodey (Rockford) says:

        So it’s ok for you and the other stooges to be jerks and pick on one person or persons but it’s not ok when someone does it to you. You and the other stooges have the good old mob mentality. Figured that this what the blog is about now, people picking on people. It’s not what it used to be. See you on your next post.

        1. Mark (East Lansing) says:

          Someone needs a hug.

        2. yooper4021 says:

          Or maybe a cocktail.

        3. Cliff(Scotts) says:

          Or maybe actually some parents that whipped him growing up, I blame it on that!!!

        4. Travis (Oakland County) says:

          And there are the three stooges right on call. Too funny!

        5. Mark (East Lansing) says:

          If at first you don’t succeed, keep on sucking til you do succeed. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk, whoop, whoop, whoop…

        6. Rodey (Rockford) says:

          You proved my point. Pathetic. Thanks for listening though. I appreciate it.

        7. yooper4021 says:

          That’s from someone who has to change his name every other week just to post on a weather blog. Alrighty then.

          And to be associated with the Three Stooges is an honor and a privilege. Comedy legends!

        8. Rodey (Rockford) says:

          Actually haven’t changed my name at all. Yup 3 three stooges were great but if you know how, look up the defintion of stooge. Trust me you all are far from doing any honor to the 3 stooges. Thanks for reading and commenting though. Fantastic. I love it.

        9. Jordan (Twin Lake) says:

          You guys are all wrong. Im fixxxer.

    2. Rodey (Rockford) says:

      So it’s ok for you and the other stooges to be jerks and pick on one person or persons but it’s not ok when someone does it to you. Good old mob mentality. Figured that was what the blog is about now. It certaintly isn’t what it was a few years ago. Fantastic. See you on your next post.

  18. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

    Going back to 1997 here are some of the late first days of 32 or below. In 2008 the first 32 day was October 22 in 2007 it was the 28th in 05 it also was the 28th in 00 it was the 29th. So here in GR we are getting in the rather late for it to happen range. In fact the first time it happens this year the NWS will not issue a warning on the event.

    1. DF (SE Mich) says:

      For comparison to the rest of the state, if an official station had not already hit 32° back in September, almost all stations Battle Creek and East hit 32° or below this morning. The big lake and clouds have the far west side above 32° still.

      1. Bill Steffen says:

        And the NWS Freeze Warning for St. Joseph, Branch and Hillsdale Counties was right on…it was 28 in Sturgis, 30 in Coldwater, 32 in Hillsdale, 31 Mendon and Three Rivers. Nice job IWX!

        1. Mark (East Lansing) says:

          The discontinuance of frost/freeze warnings – is that due to the end of the growing season?

  19. Travis (Oakland County) says:

    Wow look at that. Wood is showing close to 60 by early next week now.

    The same thing I said two days ago and got bashed for by the winter nuts. Looks like the models were overdone to the cold side yet again.

    Just yesterday, Bill said the European wasn’t showing anything in the 50′s. And Bastardi was saying he couldn’t find a colder end to October since 1976. Classic fail.

    1. Mark (East Lansing) says:

      Even a blind squirrel gets a nut once in awhile.

    2. Rocky (Rockford) says:

      Travis you are on drugs and your obsession with warm temps and global warming is sick! Check back with me next week. GR will not be seeing any temps over 60 degrees the rest of this year! Get used to it baby. Let the COLD and SNOW rule!

      1. arcturus says:

        Another personal insult. Credit Travis for another score! He’s really gotten under your skin lol.

        1. Rocky (Rockford) says:

          If you think Travis is under my skin you are not even close. Travis is just plain delusional!

        2. Mark (East Lansing) says:


        3. Rodey (Rockford) says:

          Take you a long time to think of that one. You must be really tired now. Thanks for listening and responding.

        4. Mark (East Lansing) says:

          ^cut and paste^

          Originality is not your strong suit.

    3. yooper4021 says:

      If only we were all as smart as you….

      1. Rodey (Rockford) says:

        If only you had a brain

        1. Mark (East Lansing) says:

          Good one! Not.

        2. Rodey (Rockford) says:

          Wow guess that GED came in handy for you after all.

        3. Mark (East Lansing) says:

          I’m surprised you know how to spell GED.

    4. Bill Steffen says:

      WOOD is showing 55 on day 8, the warmest day of the 8-day forecast. The average high for tomorrow in G.R. is 58. I believe it was the GFS and not the European model that didn’t predict anything warmer than 50 in the long term. The GFS often overdoes cold shots in the fall in the long-term.

      Ending on a light note: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrodOi72Huo&feature=player_detailpage

  20. Jack says:

    SKY IS BLUE and BLACK….. CUE, Jackson Browne :::: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAu7gh7xoJo. ;-) . Stay Cued… ;-)

  21. INDY says:

    Wow we all read Travass thee Idiot is above normal on his weather thoughts again!! Yupp 44* degrees is above normal guys!!!! Can’t wait for it to snow on him!! INDYY

    1. Jack says:

      No..Snow 2 Today? It must be Time 2 PLAY….. Aye..Indy… Stay CUED!! Hurry SPRING..So we allll Can PARTY at THEEE YARDofBRICKS !!! ;-)

  22. DF (SE Mich) says:

    Today’s blog is sponsored by “How to Lie with Statistics” from 1954, great book!
    Whomever has the rights to the book needs a banner ad Bill!

    1. yooper4021 says:

      LOL…that is awesome! Off to the library I go!

    2. Travis (Oakland County) says:

      Are you talking about the “flat” decade of global temps or the “significant recovery of arctic ice?” Statistical manipulation at its finest.

      1. yooper4021 says:

        I think someone else needs a hug….or a heaping helping of the Three Stooges!!

        1. Rocky (Rockford) says:

          + one trillion!

        1. Rocky (Rockford) says:

          +2 trillion!

        2. INDY says:

          Call me Uncle JACK can’t find your number!! INDYY

      2. Bill Steffen says:

        Travis – the “flat decade” of global temperatures comes from NASA and James Hansen. The “significant recovery of Arctic ice is real. Look at the latest from the National Snow and Ice Data Center: http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

        The story on the ice at the South Pole is in the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2013/09/23/antarctic-sea-ice-hit-35-year-record-high-saturday/ “Why would sea ice be increasing? …it is a puzzle to scientists.” – Jinlun Zhang (from PIOMAS)

        1. Rocky (Rockford) says:

          This phenomenon must be caused from “global warming”! Just ask Travis!

      3. DF (SE Mich) says:

        Stick to the comprehension of a standard deviation first, then read the book.

  23. Rocky (Rockford) says:

    Imagine that the new CPC still shows us in the below average temperatures in the 6 to 14 day outlook! I am sure in Flint it will be well up into the 60′s during this time frame – at least according to Mr Travis neighborhood!

    1. INDY says:

      No That’s travass neighborhood!!! It’s cold outside 42* out thee YARDofBRICKS NO 60′S FRIDAY!! INDYY

      1. Rocky (Rockford) says:


    2. Rodey (Rockford) says:

      And I’m sure undy and you will be buried in snow and cold in your neighborhoods. Delusional.

      1. INDY says:

        Bill time to delete Travass and his 6 other sisters on your blog!! INDYY

        1. Rodey (Rockford) says:

          And time delete the stooges on here also.

    3. Travis (Oakland County) says:

      Actually the new 8-14 day is essentially back to average for Lower Michigan. A huge change in one day.

      1. Bill Steffen says:

        Here’s the link that Travis didn’t provide to the 8-14 day outlook: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/814day/ West Michigan is in the blue, meaning a higher than average chance of below normal temperatures.

        1. Rocky (Rockford) says:

          Yes, it sure looks like below average to me. To Travis of course it looks like temps in the 60′s and 70′s in Flint!

      2. Mark (East Lansing) says:

        This is precisely why no one takes you seriously.

  24. Cliff(Scotts) says:

    All I can say is this is great bow hunting weather!!!

    1. True that Cliff! great hunting weather!

  25. Matt(Grand Haven) says:

    Just had some grauple and sleet here!

    1. Bill came up with the term “Slopal” Good way to put it!

  26. Kyle says:

    Sleet and small snowfalkes in northern Ottawa County at this time

  27. Looks like Ill be getting a little bit of sleet in my location (Byron Center) not to long from now. Already people reporting sleet and a few snowflakes in Northern Ottawa County.

    1. Rocky (Rockford) says:


  28. Matt(Grand Haven) says:

    “slopal” covering the cars and a clear dusting on the grass and roofs now!

  29. INDY says:

    Again DF is thee only blogger I trust from the eastside of the state and Bill steffens is the only weatherman I trust from West Michigan…..INDYY

  30. INDY says:

    Travass needs a job!!!!! INDYY

  31. Nick says:

    the pillars are back Bill except it is 1 big pillar

  32. Jack says:

    Hmmm, It’s all Just….” Street Corner Talkin”….. SPIN, Savoy Brown ( Live) !!!!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssAx4x92vl0. Crank it BILL!!!!!!!

  33. Brian(Grandville) says:

    Seeing some wet snowflakes mixing in with the rain now. Down to 38*.

  34. kevin. w says:

    Travaass the models aren’t even picking up on the typhoon near Japan yet and that usually spells a cold spell here in 7-10 days. The models are all over the place right now past 4 days. Some models are very warm and some are cool and couple are frigid with snow. If you ever look at teleconnections and other meteorological stuff you might just figure things out instead of. blah..blah…blah..blah..

  35. Hit a little bit of sleet at the 96 and M6 interchange by Hudsonville

  36. Getting light snowflakes now here in Byron Center

  37. Slimjim nw gr says:

    Some breaks in clouds here and a temp of 30

    1. Matt (Spring Lake) says:

      Low 30s here as well. The NWS is only calling for rain tonight along the lakeshore but we already had graupel earlier…so I am thinking we might get some snow with these echos moving onshore.

  38. Dan says:

    I still haven’t seen the rain mixed with snow yet. I’m sure it’ll happen before too long! What is anybody’s guess on our first accumulating snowfall date? I’m talking at least an inch or two of snow that puts down a thin blanket for all to see! Will it be the end of this month or sometime in early November, later?

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