January, 2014

Winter Weather Advisory

January 31st, 2014 at 6:16 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

advisory    A Winter Weather Advisory continues until 10 pm.  Most areas will see all snow (see model accum. forecasts in the thread above).     Roads will be slippery all day long and into Saturday night.  We’ve already had 3 roof collapses and the coming snow (and possible freezing rain/rain – mainly south of I-94)) is not going to help the situation.  If you can, clear snow on flat roofs and the snow overhanging gutters.  This snow will also be a little heavier snow, so it’ll be a touch more difficult to shovel.  Take breaks and take it easy when shoveling.  We’ll get a break with the last of the flurries ending by midday Sunday.  We should be dry and cool Sunday and Monday.  Another system should bring about 3-6″ of snow mainly next Tues. night.

Winter Storm Watch

January 31st, 2014 at 2:57 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

winter storm watch  advisory We have a Winter Storm Watch for the snow late Friday night (dry Friday evening) and Saturday.  The Watch covers Ottawa, Kent, Montcalm and Isabella counties to the south.  It also covers NW Indiana and all of NE Illinois.  Both the NAM (caribou) and GFS (caribou) give Grand Rapids 5.9″ of snow.  Here’s forecast snow for the next 84 hours from the NAM model and for the next 120 hours off the GFS model.  This is not lake-effect snow.  You can see the snow is pretty much the same bands on both side of the lake.  The European has 0.48″ precipitation and that would be at last 5″, so the models are in pretty good agreement.  The GFS (caribou) has all snow for most of the area, with a brief mix (rain, freezing rain/sleet at around 32 degrees) south of a line from Sturgis to just north of Jackson to Lake St. Clair.  The NAM (caribou) takes the mix farther north with the north edge of a brief period of mixed precipitation from Benton Harbor to Lansing.   On that model, the I-94 corridor could get 1/10th inch of freezing rain/rain/sleet.  Other snowfall totals off the NAM (caribou):  Lansing 6.1″, Muskegon 4.8″, Kalamazoo 4.7″ with about 4 hours of mix), Jackson 3.8″ plus 1/4″ of mix, Holland 5.6″ (all snow), S. Haven 5.5″ (all snow), Ludington 4.6″, Cadillac 3.6″, Mt. Pleasant 5.4″, Big Rapids 4.4″, Pontiac 5.2″ (plus some mix).   The GFS (caribou) totals – first number is Saturday snow, 2nd number is snow for next Tues. night:  Grand Rapids 5.9″, 3.3″…Lansing 6.7″, 3.6″…Muskgon 3.6″, 4.1″…Kalamazoo 8.9″, 3.5″…Jackson 6.4″ (tiny amount of mix), 3.6″…Pontiac 7.1″, 4.2″…Big Rapids 3.6″, 2.6″…Mt. Pleasant 4.6″, 2.8″…Cadillac 1.9″, 1.4″…Ludington 2.3″, 3.8″.   The European has high temps. of 13 for next Thurs. and 17 for next Friday.   The GFS plot has 12 and 15 for those two days…pretty cold.   The GFS plot has nothing higher than the low 30s thru Feb. 15.         Grand Rapids is now 6.6° colder than average for Jan. 2014, 10.2° colder than Jan. 2013 and 4.1° colder than average since Nov. 1.

Through Thurs., we’ve had 9 consecutive days with measurable snow and 13 consecutive days with below average temperatures (though with our high of 33 at 2 am, we may eek out a barely above average day today.  1.5″ of snow for G.R. yesterday brought our season total to 78.8″.  Muskegon added 1.2″ for a season total of 96.5″.   Lansing added just 0.3″ for a season total of 40.0″.

WOW!  15″ of snow in 3 hours!  Joe Bastardi says:  “Chicago,  first 10 days of Feb. could be 10°-15° below normal with 10-20 inches of snow.  -14° in Moscow, Russia on Thurs. – coldest day of the winter, so far.  61% of Great Lakes are covered in ice, the second highest coverage for the end of January in 30 years, Canadian Ice Service says…comparing Great Lakes ice cover to the 1970s.  PIc. of heavy snow (der schnee!) in the Austrian Alps.      Look at how fast the ice breaks up (mostly in 1/2 hour) on the Michigan City GLERL camera.

Cool Pictures

January 30th, 2014 at 9:10 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

mauna loa one   GLERL red sunrise Chicago south pole cam    Some cool pictures here.  Click the pictures to enlarge.  The first is at the top of Mauna Loa, a tall mountain on the Big Island of Hawaii (you’d think it was Michigan, except you can actually see a little blue sky).   The middle picture was the exceptionally red sunrise this morning in Chicago, looking west from 3 miles out in Lake Michigan from the GLERL camera at the Harrison Crib Water Intake.  The picture on the right is the South Pole today, where they have 24/7 daylight in their summer and where the temperature hardly ever gets above zero F even on the warmer summer days!  Pics. on the left and right form ERSL/NOAA.


January 30th, 2014 at 2:47 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

LocalFriday morning:  The snow and the few pockets of freezing drizzle ended by 4 am and even though we could see a few snowflakes today, but bulk of the day will be dry and cool with temperatures much of the day in the low-mid 20s.   It’s was windy Thursday.   Peak gusts:  Muskegon beach 44 mph, Hart 39 mph,  Allendale 38 mph, Battle Creek 36 mph.  Winds will be much lighter this Friday, much of the day just 5-10 mph.  There will likely be a band of 5-9″ of new snow across S. Lower Michigan late Friday night and Saturday.  We have a Winter Storm Watch south of Holland to Lansing for that event.  It’ll be quiet and cool Sunday-Monday.  More snow, perhaps another 3-6″ for Tues. night into Weds….then another Arctic blast with highs only in the low-mid teens next Thurs./Fri.

Models:  The first thing to note is that I am very confident that February is a cold month in the Great Lakes.  It may try and climb back to average temps. at the end of the month (“may”, not “will”), but early and mid-February continue the cold and snowy pattern.  March gets stormy as the SE/S ridge and warming bump the storm track north.  There will be more severe weather this spring than last spring (maybe back to average levels) and hopefully, the bulk of the damaging stuff stays to our south.  This snow for this PM and tonight won’t be a lot – 2-3″ north of aline from Saugatuck to Mt. Pleasant…an inch along I-94 and south), but we’ll continue to have strong winds into this evening that will will cause drifting and snow-covered and slippery roads overnight.  The wind calms down to 6-12 mph tomorrow…so, no drifting tomorrow and the snow plowers can catch up.  Saturday’s storm will bring more snow with the heaviest (maybe 5-10″) south of a line from Holland to Saginaw.  There could be a brief period of mixed precipitation from the Indiana border around Sturgis over to the Detroit area.  Detroit is going to see 6-8″ of snow from this…and maybe the entire I-94 corridor.  It’ll be a significant snow.  Partly sunny, maybe a few flakes on Sunday, Dry and probably partly sunny on Monday.  Then more snow Tues. PM into Weds. and that’s probably another another 4-8″ or 3-6″ storm…slightly heavier southeast again…then a shot of Arctic air with snow showers Thurs./Fri.  The GFS-plot has the temperature most of Thursday at only 10° above.  The period from Feb. 9-17 looks like below to much-below average temperatures.  Right now, I’d say we’re looking at February being about 4° colder than average, with March maybe closer to average.  That’s just an educated guess this far out.  I remain very concerned about late winter/spring flooding.

Season Snowfall as of early Thurs. morning (1/30): Grand Rapids 77.3″, Muskegon 95.3″, Holland 96.5″, Lansing 39.7, Kalamazoo (WMU) 75.5 (41.6″ in Jan. – most in Jan. the 16-year history of the WMU station and 3rd snowiest month in the last 16 years – thanks to Dr. Bob Ruhf at WMU for his snow measurements), Oshtemo 84″. Snow cover: 24″ Muskegon, 23″ Kalamazoo, 17″ Grand Rapids, 11″ Lansing.

InterestingIncredible cold across parts of Russia….Low temps this AM:  0 Rome GA, -3 Tri Cities TN, 2 Asheville NC, 6 Norfolk, VA, 13 Macon GA, 2 Knoxville TN, 6 Meridian MS, 16 Mobile AL, -11 Elkins W VA, 13 ESF LA, some of these temps. coldest since 1994…cold continues over much of the country in the first week of Feb…most of Florida and the SW U.S. stays mild.

GREAT LAKES ICE:  61% of Great Lakes are covered in ice, the second highest coverage for the end of January in 30 years, Canadian Ice Service says.

Links: Grand Rapids radar, Northern Indiana radar, Chicago radar, Detroit radar and Milwaukee radar. Here’s the College of DuPage Radar Map (pick any radar in the U.S.), College of DuPage Grand Rapids radar, GFS snowfall for the next 120 hours and NAM model snowfall for the next 84 hours. the West Michigan Lightning Tracker, National Lightning Tracker, 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 Precipitation (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 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 (summer). Here’s storm reports from SW Michigan, Northern Michigan, NE Illinois, SE. Wisconsin, Upper Michigan and E. Michigan. Check out the wind and wave height at the South Mid-Lake Michigan Buoy (Apr. to Nov. only), the North Mid-Lake Michigan Buoy (Apr. to Nov. only), the buoy at Big Sable Point near Ludington, the weather station at Manistee Harbor and the weather station on the beach at St. Joseph. Here’s Michigan wind gusts from MesoWest, data from the MAWN agricultural weather stations and Weather Underground (data at the bottom from private weather stations). Check out the webcam at Krupp’s Resort, where they are pushing toward 3 feet of snow on the ground. Check out the cold temps. on the U.S. Low Temperature map. Here’s the morning run of the NAM forecast snow amounts. Here’s a live look at the Houghton Bridge. Here’s the Consumers Energy Power Outage Map. We continue to watch for ice jams on Michigan rivers. Here’s Closings.

Winter Weather Advisory

January 30th, 2014 at 2:46 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

advisory  We have a Winter Weather Advisory in effect until 10 PM.  The advisory covers blowing and drifting snow this AM, then the snowfall that arrives from NW to SE across the area during the afternoon and evening.  Snowfall totals could reach 3-4″ north of  Muskegon with an inch or inch and a half southeast of Grand Rapids.  The wind will be a major player today, out of the south.  The GRR NWS discussion says:  ” THE COMBINATION OF  FALLING AND BLOWING SNOW WILL MAKE FOR VERY HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS.  WHITEOUT TO NEAR BLIZZARD CONDITIONS COULD BE SEEN AT TIMES.”  Both the NAM and GFS models have the wind peaking around 4 – 5 pm at 24-26 mph with gusts in the 40 mph range.  That will cause a lot of blowing and drifting snow, especially on roads that run east-west.  The falling snow won’t start until this afternoon.  The worst will probably be from 3 – 8 pm.  Both the NAM (caribou) and the European give G.R. about an inch and a half of snow starting around 4 pm in G.R. (earlier to the northwest) and ending before daybreak on Friday.  Other snow totals off the NAM (caribou):  Ludington 2.8″, Muskegon 2.1″, Holland 1.6″, Kalamazoo 1.3″, Lansing 0.7″.  With the drifting, you’ll get more than that in your driveway.   The winds are much lighter on Friday, about 6-12 mph.  Saturday’s snowfall comes to 2.4″ for G.R. on the NAM (caribou).  The European prints out 0.37″ of precipitation – that would be about 5″ of snow falling from late Friday night (Friday evening should be dry) into Saturday.  The European also prints out 0.22″ for G.R. from the low pressure center that will pass southeast of us Tues. night into Weds. morning.  That would be another 3-4″ of snow with another push of Arctic air next Thursday.   We also have Gale Warnings for Lake Michigan today.  It’ll be interesting to see if the wind breaks up any of ice on the Great Lakes.         The GEFS has the cold weather hanging around into the 2nd week of February (and probably beyond).  233 miles now — all of Interstate 10 from Pensacola to E of Tallahassee closed due to extreme ice.  Here’s snow on the ground at the Augusta (GA) National Golf Club.

Afternoon HIGH (not low) temperatures:  43 Brownsville TX, 41 Galveston TX, 35 New Orleans, 31 Mobile AL, 30 Pensacola FL, 25 Dothan AL, 27 Albany and Macon GA, 32 Savannah GA, 30 Charleston SC, 37 Jacksonville FL, 48 Monterrey, Mexico (average high 70 – they were in the upper 80s on the 26th and 27th), 49 Saltillo, Mexico.  Temperatures held in the 60s down past Veracruz.

Ice at Lake Michigan

January 30th, 2014 at 2:25 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Lake Michigan Herb Harney Holland State Park 1 29 14    Lake Michigan Herb Harney five miles off Holland 1 29 14  Lake Michigan Herb Harney 1 29 14 Holland looking northThere are 3 pictures here from Herb Harney from Wednesday.  Click on the pictures to enlarge.    The first is looking east at the Holland at the Holland Channel with a frozen Lake Macatawa at the top of the picture.  You can see the Big Red Lighthouse and Holland State Park on the left (with the shadow of a stratocumulus cloud).  The middle picture shows the ice (with fissures) about five miles offshore.   The picture on the right is (I’m guessing) looking north at all the ice with the shore in the upper right.   We have the most ice to this point in winter on the Great Lakes since 1994 and the second highest extent since 1979.  Through 1/29, Grand Rapids is 6.7° below average for Jan. and Kalamazoo is 8.5° below average.  Green Bay will be in at least 2nd place for # of below zero days.  They just had 9 in a row, from the 21st to 29th and that gives them 18 for January and 11 for December (29 total).   Wednesday we had 76% of possible sunshine at the GRR airport, the sunniest day of January.  Despite the mostly sunny day…we have still had only 17.4% of possible sunshine since Dec. 1.  Repeating an interesting fact:  The only state out of all 50 states that did not have a single weather station reporting snow on the ground was MISSOURI – isn’t that weird.  There were a couple of places with snow on the ground in NW Florida and the mountaintops of the Big Island of Hawaii had snow.

MODIS Pictures from Weds. PM

January 30th, 2014 at 12:10 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

modis lake michigan winter jan 29 2014    modis lake superior jan 29 2014modis lake huron modis lake eriemodis lake ontario   Here’s MODIS satellite pictures of all five of the Great Lakes, starting with Lake Michigan in the upper left, then Lakes Superior, Huron, Erie and Ontario.  Click on the pictures to enlarge.  You can see the ice along the Michigan shore.  It looks like Torch Lake has an ice cover and you can see the Finger Lakes (several of which are relatively deep lakes) still have open water.  We’ll see if the strong wind today (Thurs.) breaks up any of the ice on Lake Michigan.

Windy – Still Cold

January 29th, 2014 at 11:32 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

muskegon glerl    This picture is a quick grab this morning from the Muskegon GLERL camera Weds.  morning showing lots of ice on Lake Michigan as far out as you can see.  We have some open water on the right at the channel.  It was clear across the lake in Chicago. With more ice on Lake Michigan, the cold air spends less time crossing open water, so the lake-effect is somewhat diminished.  We had some sunshine on Weds.  The big story has the wind.  Weds. we had a gust to 38 mph in Grand Rapids and 39 mph in Ionia.  The wind is causing drifting snow, especially in outlying, open, rural areas.  It’s going to stay windy today.  We should see significant drifting and some blowing snow.

The Weds. morning run of the NAM (caribou) gave  G.R. 1.1″ of snow late Thurs. PM and Thurs. night (slick spots for the Thurs. evening and Fri. morning commutes…and a healthy 4.2″ during the day Saturday.  Here’s the model’s predicted snowfall…first number is Thurs. evening/night and second number is Sat:  Kalamazoo 1.7″/3.7″, Holland 1.4″/4.2″, Lansing 0.9″/3.0″, Muskegon 2.0″/2.7″, S. Haven 1.4″/3.8″, Ludington 2.3″, 2.6″, Mt. Pleasant 0.6″/3.9″.   The first system gets a little bit of a boost from Lake Michigan…not 2″ in Muskegon and 2.3″ in Ludington and there may be a touch more boost than that…the second system is not lake-effect or lake/enhanced.  The amount of snow will depend on the path of low pressure passing to our south.  As it does, we stay in the cold air.   We may be mid-upper 20s Thurs. night/Fri./Sat. – but we can’t seem to get a day up to our average in the low 30s.   Another 1.1″ of snow since midnight at GRR, so we’re up to 78.3″ for the season – like I said, even average snowfall from here on out will bring us over 100″ for G.R. and over 120″ for the lakeshore.       Go here, to the 6-hour, 1km satellite loop of Lower Michigan and you can see Lake Michigan is mostly clear this Weds. AM (I’ll find a MODIS picture later this PM to put on the blog).  You can see the ice on the lake and the lake-effect clouds seem to be centered downwind from the longest stretch that the air spends over open water.   It looks like Torch Lake is frozen over (a deep lake and harder to freeze over in winter) and we are starting to accumulate ice in Traverse Bay.  Long range has Feb. 4-5 storm staying mostly south/southeast of us, but large high north of Montana brings more Arctic air to the Great Lakes – keeping us colder than average thru 2/14.   Both the new European weeklies and the CFS model keep the cold in the Great Lakes thru week 3 (through mid-February).   Here’s an oddity:  Missouri is the only state in the Union that does not have some snow on the ground this morning.   Snow on the beach at Gulfport, Mississippi!

From Dec. 1 to Jan. 28 – this is the 9th coldest winter so far in Chicago – avg. temp. of 19.47.  Two winters really stand out for cold in Chicago, 1983-84 (15.0°) and 1976-77 (15.9°).  In the climate record, seven of the top 9 coldest winters in Chicago have occurred since 1975.  Only 2 occurred from 1875-1975.   Reread my earlier post on average January temperature in Grand Rapids.  Especially look at this graph of average January temperature by decade.   We’re exactly where we were in the early 1900s.    Cold pattern continues into February.

Some much needed rain for California on the way (and mountain snows).  At 2 pm – Atlanta 26° – dewpoint 3° – ice preventing cars from going uphill.  BTW – NWS had good Winter Storm Warnings out for snow and freezing rain.  Don’t blame them for the mess down South, the storm was well forecast.   More Atlanta pics. here.  Yesterday (Tue.) the high temperature in Anchorage, Alaska was 44 (16 days in a row warmer than average).  In Atlanta, where the average high is 53° the temperature fell from 25° at noon to 21° by evening.

Season Snowfall, Model Data Update and Flood Potential

January 29th, 2014 at 4:27 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

snow northern michigan  Click on the image to enlarge.  This is snowfall for N. Lower Michigan so far this winter courtesy of the Gaylord NWS.  They update the graph daily here.   Traverse City is up to 102″, Petoskey to 124″ and Gaylord to 134″.  Grand Rapids is up to 77.2″ (compared to 19.7″ at this point last winter).  Even with average snowfall the rest of the winter, we’ll top 100″ in G.R.  The first two weeks of February look cold.  Muskegon is at 95.3″ with 25″ on the ground, Lansing is at 39.7″.   Holland is up to 95.5 for the season.  Detroit is going to have their snowiest month EVER! – probably over 40″.  Flint will come close.  Wellston in E. Manistee Co. is up to 129.6″.   Delaware in the U.P. leads the pack with 222″ so far this winter.     Overnight The Keweenaw County Road Commission advised that M-26 was closed between Eagle River and Eagle Harbor due to severe blowing and drifting snow.  In the U.P., the Mont Ripley- closed yesterday due to low temperature.    Mount Bohemia – is not just reporting excellent conditions, they are reporting “epic conditions”.

Our snow and cold continues…it’ll be breezy today with drifting snow and some light flurries, mainly in the AM, we’ll be 15-20 deg. this afternoon.  The overnight run of the GFS-plot has the temp. in G.R. getting to the upper 20s Thurs. night, then no warmer than 21 thru 2/14.  The model has 3 more mornings of zero and below in the next 2 weeks.  I think that’s too cold, but still…wow!   The European model would have an inch of snow Thurs. (more NW of G.R.), another 1/2 to 1″ Friday PM, 2″ Saturday with up to 4″ at the Indiana border.  We get to the upper 20s Friday and that’s the warmest the European has to offer thru 2/5.   Both models push the storm for the middle of next week mainly to our southeast and just keep us in the cold air with occasional lake-effect and weak clippers.

With the cold and deep snow cover, I remained concerned about spring flooding.  Check out my previous blog on the earlier floods on the Grand River.   Note that floods on the Grand have come in pairs (1904, 1905 and 1947, 1948)…so will we have a second flood in 2014?  Also note that the flood last year was 33,700 cfs.  We have had past floods significantly greater than that.  In the 1904 flood, there was water covering most of downtown G.R. all the way west to John Ball Park – covering the entire West Side.   A flood of the volume of 1904, 1905, 1947 or 1948 is certainly possible again.

Southern Snow and Ice

January 28th, 2014 at 9:42 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

snow Alabama crimson tide   snow alabama ship karen connersnow alabama birmingham   Left pic. from NBC15 showing the snowy home of the Alabama Crimson Tide.  Here’s South Carolina’s football stadium.   Middle  picture is snow on the deck of the USS Alabama at Mobile Harbor (from NWS Mobile facebook page).  Right pic. from NBC15 is abandoned cars on the expressway near Birmingham, Alabama.  Click on the pictures to enlarge.   We had at least a trace of snow today in Houston and Galveston, Texas – Baton Rogue, Louisiana – and Pensacola and Mary Esther, Florida.  Sleet fell at Victoria and San Antonio, Texas.  Sleet fell in New Orleans and 3″ of snow fell in the towns of Chunky, Zero and Increase – Alabama (yeah, those are real town names).  Alexandria, LA, breaks a 110-year-old record with 1.2″ of snow.   I-10 from the New Mississippi River Bridge in Baton Rouge to New Orleans is closed  Georgia DOT urges motorists to stay off of highways.   AL Gov. Robert Bentley activates 350 National Guardsmen and urges residents to stay off roads if at all possible.     Lots of pictures here.   Pictures of massive traffic jams in Atlanta here.    The picture here was taken at 3 am – some people have sat virtually still for 6-12+hours!  Here’s I-65 in Birmingham.  Note the cars that have slid off the road on the ice.  Cars can’t get up hills and it creates massive traffic jams.  Concrete barriers in the median, so no place to turn around.  People are abandoning their vehicles. Check out the “Welcome to Florida” sign amid the snow!  National Guard mobilized in GA and AL.   6″ new snow at Virginia Beach – only 20 deg.