A Little Sunshine

January 21st, 2014 at 1:21 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

pando park  Lake-Effect Snow Band Patrick DeHaan from Chicago 1 21 14Picture on the left  is of some happy tubers at Pando Park, just northeast of G.R., where they have a perfect 36-48″ base.  On the right is the view of the lake-effect snow band over Lake Michigan taken this morning by our “gas buddy”, Patrick DeHaan in Chicago.   Some welcome sunshine today!      We deserve it.  Since Dec. 1, Grand Rapids has had just 15.8% of possible sunshine.  That compares to an average of 23%.  The most sun we have seen on any single day this month was 57% on the 3rd.  We’ve didn’t officially have a single minute of sunshine from the 16th through the 20th.  Here’s a satellite loop.  Note the lake-effect snow band coming onshore in N. Indiana.  That band was producing snow at the rate of 3″ in an hour this morning!  Visibility is near zero on the I-80/I-90/I-94 expressways in N. Indiana.  The band will slowly shift east toward Berrien Co. later today.  Much of the Chicago area had 6-7″ of lake-effect snow yesterday evening.  Low temps. last night:  Grand Rapids 3, Kalamazoo and Battle Creek 2, Holland 5, Muskegon 6, Fremont -3, Houghton Lake -11, Grayling and Vanderbilt -22, Pellston -25.  Embarrass, Minnesota was the coldest spot in the U.S. at -37.  Marathon, on the north shore of Lake Superior was -38 this (Tue.) morning.   The average temperature since Nov. 1 for G.R. has been 28.3.  That compares to 36.1 for the same period last year.  That’s a huge difference of 7.8 degrees over nearly 3 months (it’ll be 8 degrees by the end of the month).  We are up to 57.1″ of snow for the season in G.R.  That’s 14″ above average to date and compares to just 9.7″ to Jan. 21 last year.  Today is the 43rd day in a row with 4″ or more of snow on the ground in G.R.  The record for most days with 1″ or more of snow on the ground in G.R. is a whopping 117.  Interestingly, that was 1903-04, a very cold winter and the year we had our worst spring flood on the Grand River.  That string ended on March 23rd.  Second place was 1978-79 at 107 days ending on March 13th.  Third place is 105 days ending 3/21/1963.    Tenth place is 83 days, so we have a ways to go to get anywhere near that (this year our string of 1″ of snow on the ground started Dec. 9, just one day before the 4″ streak started).   An interesting stat….if you remember the very warm El Nino winter of 1982-83, the longest string of consecutive days with 1″ or more of snow on the ground was just 9…but what’s interesting is that the 9 days were at the end of March (21st thru the 29th).  Thanks to Bill Marino at the GRR NWS for looking that up for me.  The days are getting longer.  We’ve now gained 34 minutes of daylight since the Winter Solstice occurred one month ago.   The cold air is going to stick around.  Check out the chilly 8-14 day outlook from the Climate Prediction Center.  Picture is of some happy tubers at Pando Park, just northeast of G.R., where they have a perfect 36-48″ base.

Model Update:  The European has 0.08″ of precipitation for G.R. Weds. (that would be 1.3″).  The NAM has 1.2″ of snow. and the GFS plot has 0.15″, which would be a solid 3″.  The European has 0.34″ Friday into Sunday – that would be a good 5″ and it has another 0.19″ Sunday into Monday of next week…another 3″.   While it’s cold now (850 mb temp. of -23.7C this Tues. morning, the batch next Monday is even colder -25.3C at 850 mb).   We have brief warm-ups (and I use that term very loosely) late Friday into early Sat. and late Sunday…both of them upper 20s to near 30.  If and when we get clear to partly cloudy skies and light winds at night, we could see temps. crash to at least 5-10 below.   Starting with today (Tue.), here’s the forecast high temps. on the GFS plot:  13, 17, 14, 22 (at 11 pm), 27 (early – it’s 13 by 7 pm Sat.) 10 (no Sunday warming like the Euro. has), 14, 8, and 13 next Weds.

Guess it could be colder…Verkoyasnk, Russia (Siberia) checked in with -66F on Monday.   Here’s current conditions and a webcam from the South Pole.  At the South Pole in mid-late January, it’s the middle of summer and  the sun shines 24/7.  Despite that, the temperature often doesn’t get above 0F during the entire summer.   Something interesting – film of Market St. in San Francisco 4 days before the big earthquake of April 1906.   Oh, and this is cool, look at the blue, plankton bloom that occurred off Australia in December.

The East Coast gets a snowstorm.  Here’s the National Watch/Warning map.   Significant snow will fall in Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston…up to a foot.  Many of these areas have already had more snow than they had all last winter.





































































































































































































































60 Responses to “A Little Sunshine”

  1. Sandy (Hudsonville) says:

    Where is this?? Looks like fun!!

    1. Jack says:

      Pando… Sandy !!

    2. Jack says:

      Here Ya Go Sandy:: Pando Winter Sports Park

      8076 Belding Rd NE, Rockford, MI
      (616) 874-8343

      Monday 5:00 – 10:00 pm
      Tuesday 5:00 – 10:00 pm
      Wednesday 5:00 – 10:00 pm
      Thursday 5:00 – 10:00 pm
      Friday 5:00 – 10:00 pm
      Saturday 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
      Sunday 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
      Have Fun…Be Safe !! :-)

      1. Sandy (Hudsonville) says:

        Thanks for the info.

  2. Jack says:

    The Sunshine will Feel GREAT !! The COLD could Be WORSE ,! On January 21 in Southwest Lower Michigan…

    The temperature hits a record low of 15 below zero at Grand Rapids for the second consecutive day. The temperature at Lansing only manages to reach zero degrees during the day.
    Stay Cued… ;-)

  3. TomKap (Michigan St. & Fuller) Grand Rapids says:

    Forgot what it looks like.

  4. Cort S. says:

    I’ve had 7 days of full sunshine (excluding some cirrus). Except for some flurries in the mountains on Thursday, the Euro isn’t giving me any precip through at least 180 hours. That would mean I get 2 weeks of sunshine. I would happily take your clouds for 2 days if I can get this valley temperature inversion batted away. Our trapped air is reaching the unhealthy category now. I can barely see the mountains because of all the haze. (SLC)

    Wonder what the next intraseasonal wave pattern will bring the U.S. in February…

  5. Dan says:

    Received a dusting of snow to about 1/2 inch yesterday. Its Co-Co-Cold outside. Clipper tonight orvfotecasted for tomorrow? Stay warm! Check on others and watch your pets!

  6. Dan says:

    *or forecasted.

  7. Dan says:

    Is it just my phone or is that a huge space between Bill’s last comment and the comments section? I like the sound of possible enhanced synoptic snows for Friday and Sunday! Cold-Snow and more Cold! Bill: I never did get the chance to ask you about the Michigan Wisconsin BBall game on Saturday. That was a huge win for Michigan! They haven’t won there in 19 years. I for one cannot wait until March Madness!!

    1. DF (SE Mich) says:

      It’s not just you.

    2. Bill Steffen says:

      I saw it too…we had a problem.

    3. Bill Steffen says:

      I watched the b-ball game. I was rooting for Wisconsin (my alma mater), but happy for Michigan. I have a niece who’s in the U. of M. marching band and 4 other in-laws went to Michigan. I knew Wisconsin was in trouble when Michigan came out draining those threes. Wisconsin is a good team and Bo Ryan is a great coach, but I don’t think Wisconsin is a top five team…maybe not a top 15 team. They sure are better (in almost every sport) now than when I was there (the Wisconsin football team was 0-10 in 1967 and 0-10 in 1968…in 1968 they scored 87 points in 10 games…I used to tell people the way to keep the Wisconsin football team out of your back yard is to put up goal posts!)

  8. Jim S (Saugatuck Twp) says:

    The models are showing less snow with the system on Saturday. Looks like a long, cold, boring pattern continues.

  9. INDY says:


    1. Ned S. (East of Holland) says:

      5.4 degrees and clear skies here at 104th and Ottogan.

  10. Mike (southeast Berrien county) says:

    Well so much for the 12-24 inches forecasted for Berrien county. Now it’s down to 2-6 at most, with the 6 across the far southwest corner of the county, nowhere near me. Wow I might get an inch or 2 total out of this. Whoopty doo!!! NWS talking about another potential significant lake effect event tomorrow night/Thurs. We shall see. http://forecast.weather.gov/product.php?site=NWS&issuedby=IWX&product=AFD&format=CI&version=1&glossary=1

    1. Jim S (Saugatuck Twp) says:

      I can’t seem to buy a good lake effect event the last few years. It’s been awhile since we have had a strong single band sit over my area. I like the type where there is not much wind, just heavy snow dropping 2-3″ per hour.

      1. Mike (southeast Berrien county) says:

        Should see the lake snows pile up over the next week all up & down the lakeshore probably along & west of 131 with all the cold air in place. Can’t say it will be any single blockbuster event with 2-3 inch per hr rates, but definitely an extended period of accumulating snow. http://forecast.weather.gov/product.php?site=NWS&issuedby=GRR&product=AFD&format=CI&version=1&glossary=1

  11. Mike (southeast Berrien county) says:

    I saw too that Chicago will end up with around a foot of snow out of this lake event. Quite a strange rarity to see them get hit with that much lake effect snow.

    1. INDY says:

      Chicago got heavy lk effect snow last month !!! Above snowfall and below normal temps for them to this winter!!!! INDYY….

      1. Mike (southeast Berrien county) says:

        Yeah Chicago is doing quite well in terms of snow this winter. They’re pushing 50 inches, well above their seasonal average for the entire winter already!

  12. Paul (Yankee Springs-Barry State Game Area) says:

    Cleared out here and we’re down to 0°…..

  13. DF (SE Mich) says:

    No relief in sight on the latest GFS run, in fact an even colder bust of air looks likely next week. We picked up about 0.5″ last night in A2.

  14. DF (SE Mich) says:

    Finally NOAA posted the December 2013 climate rankings. Michigan had it’s 11th coldest December on record. The GR area was colder than normal but the constant lake effect clouds kept it at #42 while the Sault Ste Marie area was #3 coldest.

  15. INDY says:

    Yeaaa DF and next month looks like more snow storms and cold!! Who would of thought!!!! INDYY…..

  16. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

    The skies cleared here and the temp fell to +1° and now with the some strange near by bright spot in the SE skies and a strange color to the sky (blue) the temp is now up to +5° here. As for the longest stretch of consecutive snow cover on the ground here in GR. I will thank Bill for you information you got from the NWS office, now I do not know where they got their information from but a fellow bloger on here posted this news link from a story from the “other” TV station that was written (and or aired) back in January of 2010. For some reason the years and the time line do not match up 100%


    Either way we still have a long way to go before we get into record territory Now if we get to February 20 and still have the this years string going then we can start talking about records But looking at the list that is from the (other TV station) one year that stands out to me is 1936 and that is because of not only that we had (or could have had) snow on the ground that long but the summer that came after that! As its now dry off to our west and it could be a hot summer to our west one has to only wonder if we could have a hot dry summer? Just something to think about with all of this cold and snow.

  17. Daniel (Denver, CO) says:

    Teleconnections definitely not telling the story this winter given the strong -EPO and persistent ridging in the Pac NW/West. Henry Margusity seems to think though that the pattern will warm up in March and we will be in for a much better severe weather season than spring 2013. The SSW warming event that took place in Feb/March 2013 contributed to the very cold spring. Lets just hope that we’re not in for such a cold spring as we were in last year. Forecast models have not been doing very good with the long term pattern, other than persistence of the ridge/trough pattern. Time will tell :) .

    1. DF (SE Mich) says:

      Agreed, first it was November will be warm, then December, then January, and apparently so on… :)

  18. Jim S (Saugatuck Twp) says:

    Latest Hi resolution nam favors the far SW corner of Michigan with a significant lake effect event starting later tomorrow. Berrien, St. Jo could be under the gun again.

  19. Travis (Oakland County) says:

    The Wind Chill Advisory scheduled to go into effect for all of southeast Michigan at midnight was cancelled? Looks chilly after my 11-day mild stretch but not nearly as bad as some of the earlier models were showing.

    Why I Won’t Say Polar Vortex in Public by Chris Edwards:


    The sun will be nice!

    1. Travis (Oakland County) says:

      Chris also retweeted this beauty that I thought was funny in regards to those silly winter storm names:

      “We use official World Meteorological Organization names for hurricanes. We do not use private companies’ winter storm names.”

      1. yooper4021 says:

        Love it! Even in weather circles, TWC is becoming irrelevant.

        1. Travis (Oakland County) says:

          Is the Weather Channel the one naming them? I never knew the origin of the naming process for winter storms.

    2. yooper4021 says:

      Where did you see a wind chill advisory for tonight/Wednesday morning? Today’s advisory – scheduled to expire at Noon – was lifted early. The latest NWS forecast discussion and HWO mentions the possibility of an advisory tonight. Assuming that will be evaluated with the mid-afternoon update.

      1. Travis (Oakland County) says:

        That’s for SE Mich… was supposed to go into effect midnight last night apparently but never did. Perhaps it will tonight.

        1. yooper4021 says:

          You’re right – there was no advisory for the west side.

          If you scroll through the link below, you’ll see the timeline for SE Mich.


  20. A trained spotter from Lake County, Indiana (Schererville, IN).

    Heavy snow m5.5 inch, reported by trained spotter.

    5.5 inches in the past 2 hours. Recorded a 3 inch hourly
    rate for one hour. Snow continues to fall.

    5 1/2 inches in 2 hours!

    1. yooper4021 says:

      The drive to Chicago cannot be fun today. I-94 from SW Michigan to Chicago has been treacherous this winter.

  21. Todd In Nunica says:

    So I have a question, whats everyones favorite mobile radar/weather app?

    I have many, since I spend countless hrs in the truck, Think my favorite is “my radar” loads fast (only draw back is no option to lengthen the loop)also combines all the radar sites pretty fast. Plus the gps track is nice to see exactly where im at in regards to the snow bands. (I keep it on satellite view)

    With that said I also use the nws site, but that radar there is no quick zoom option…tap..tap…tap…tap…

    I keep the blog shortcut available to quick check whats going on in the truck (gotta keep up on all the arguments/wishcasting/and general nonsense….lol

    I have many others too just do not use them much, as they are either not mobile friendly or just take too long to load.

    1. WswPlz says:

      For only radar, Rada Now is not bad, but in order to use some of the enhanced features, you may have to pay. It’s been a while since a last used that application, lately I use weather bug, which works fine for an all around weather app.

    2. Brian(Grandville) says:

      Radar scope it by far the most impressive app I have. It is a $10 app, but by far money well spent. High resolution, you can see things you wouldn’t see otherwise with an average radar site. I absolutely love it.

  22. INDY says:

    lololoo travass thinks 7* is warm…..What a IDIOT!! INDYY…..

    1. Rodey (Rockford) says:

      I don’t see where he said that. Learn to read you friggin IDIOT.

    2. WswPlz says:

      Travis seriously, there has been nothing moderate about our temperatures since November. Stop trying to manipulate data, for your warm weather bias. I pulled this from NWS , so you can see how the word “moderate” is being applied, and also see the facts. Btw next week is supposed to have 850mb temps around -24 to -28 c air…

      Also plz note the operative word:

      ISSUED AT 330 AM EST TUE JAN 21 2014


      1. WswPlz says:

        * I should note you used Mild in your recent post…( my bad ). State the cold facts as well, that’s all I’m saying. :)

  23. Jim S (Saugatuck Twp) says:

    12Z GFS looks even more locked in for cold next week. Also shows lake effect west of 131….but this winter, it has been showing a lot of lake effect west of 131, but when we get closer to the event, either the lake effect is not as strong, or is in a SW flow or North flow.

    1. Mike (southeast Berrien county) says:

      So far this predicted lake snow event for me today has indeed given me the forecasted 12-24 inches…. 12-24 of partly sunny that is. :-)

      1. WswPlz says:

        Enjoy it while you can…. We won’t have 12-24. Hours of sunshine until mid to late February…. Lol

      2. Mark (East Lansing) says:

        Lake Effect Snow Watch (WSW)

        Watches are issued when there is a potential for a winter storm to affect the region that will produce at least warning level snow (6 inches of snow in 12 hours or 8 inches of snow in 24 hours), strong winds, low wind chills, or mixed precipitation during the next 1 to 3 days. It does not always mean the area will be hit by a winter storm, but there is still some uncertainity of the exact path or timing of the event. This is a planning stage. Use this time to ensure you have supplies at home, like some extra food, medications, baby items, etc.. If travel is planned, check ahead and see if a different route or delaying your departure may make your trip safer. Be alert for changing weather conditions.

  24. Idk if its just on my computer or not, but does anyone else have it where the comment sections is WAYY far below the area where bill has information down? There is just a long blank white sections and when you scroll way down you can finally see the comments.

    1. WswPlz says:

      Yes, we are all using the same web – site….. ( lay off the happy pills) I’m kidding, but yes same for me……

    2. Craig (Holland North Sider) says:

      Same here Kyle. I noticed someone else mentioned that their smart phone was doing the same thing.

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

    Sure is weird seeing sun here in Allegan County during the winter. It’s extremely bright with the sun reflecting off of the fresh powder. I’m currently at 35.7″ for January, and 79.2″ for the winter.

    1. WswPlz says:

      I know I didn’t know what it was when I walked outside at first, it shocked me. I forgot how much I enjoy the sun…..

    2. Brian(Grandville) says:

      It sure is, and like someone mentioned above, enjoy it while it lasts. It’s very rare this time of year.

  26. John (Norton Shores) says:

    Lake effect snow advisory canceled for Berrien county

    1. Nathan (Forest Hills) says:

      They went from 12-24 inches of snow to nothing.

      1. Mark (East Lansing) says:

        Precisely. That’s why they issued a watch for three counties. There was the potential of a heavy lake effect snow event. Not all watches come to fruition. This one did, but only for Lake County in Indiana – where they’re getting hammered right now. 10+” in six hours and still coming down.

        1. WswPlz says:

          Snow events like this one still cause me to pause, and think wow that is pretty amazing, especially while looking at live radar imagery. It really is a cool phenomenon.. I mean you have a band of snow around 9-12 miles wide, at rates of 3″ an hour or so, bet yet it’s completely sunny on the other sides. Not to mention the way it dances around.

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