Bill Steffen

Vacation update #4

August 22nd, 2014 at 2:51 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Tahquamenon falls  It might be #3 or #5 – I lost count.  We got up…had breakfast…got recognized…in my old t-shirt and blue jeans.  We headed north through Newberry and on to Tahquamenon Falls.  Not much civilization after Newberry.  We got to the Upper Falls and hiked around.  We actually thought about taking the 4.8 mile walk to the Lower Falls, but decided we’d drive and walk there.  We bought a few things in the gift shop (mostly for my wife and mostly for Christmas).  We hiked up and down, then rented a rowboat ($14 for the 2 of us for the entire day).  We rowed around and went over to the island, where we walked around four times.  It said that it was 3/4 mile, but it didn’t seem that long to us.  We also walked along a stream for about a half mile out and half mile back.  We again stopped in the gift shop.  We ate what we brought…dried apricots, banana, apple, water.  I got recognized about half a dozen times…it’s nice that people feel comfortable coming up and saying “hi”.   Two families that said hello had moved out of West Michigan, but still remembered me.   It was a perfect day…dry for a change (though the woods was quite damp), partly sunny and temperatures in the 6os with light winds.  Then we got in the car and drove to Paradise and up to Whitefish Point.  There were sure a lot of for sale signs – including the one gas station on route and the hardware in Paradise.  It seemed like about 1 in 5 properties on Lake Superior were for sale.  One sign pleaded that it was now half of the original asking price.  I wondered if the hard winter had something to do with that.  Unfortunately, the shop and Shipwreck Museum were closed when we got there.   We saw one ship go past.  The sky was so beautiful…wispy cirrus clouds, a few patches of cirrocumulus and altostratus.  To the east across the bay, you could see he billowing tops of showers that were forming over the higher elevations of Canada with the convergence of the lake breeze and land breeze.  They were also closer to the upper low that had brought the U.P. rain the last couple days.  Waves were only about 6″.  The vastness of Lake Superior is noteworthy.  I could easily see 25+ miles across the lake to the higher hills of Canada that stretch north to Wawa and Chapleau.  To the northwest you could see the breaks in the clouds down to the horizon.  There’s 200 miles of water across the lake to the north and northwest and I imagined the frightful gales and heavy snow that mariners faced so many years ago.  Outside of the one large freighter, there were no boats visible on the lake.  I looked from horizon wet to horizon east.  It was a summer day in August, usually the month with the warmest water and not a boat could be seen over the relatively calm waters.  We drove back to Newberry and had dinner at the same restaurant we were at the night before.  They had about 50 Trivia Pursuit cards (various editions) at each table and most of the patrons seemed to be having fun asking the questions.  My first question was…the name of what canal spelled backwards is a Greek god.  I got that one pretty quick…I have a geography degree and there aren’t many famous canals to pick from.    I haven’t had time to transfer pics. from the phone…so the pic. here is Tahquamenon in winter, from the National Weather Service.


Hurricane Marie

August 22nd, 2014 at 2:25 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

  As I write this…we have tropical storms Karina and Lowell.  Both should eventually weaken as they head west, away from N. America.  Tropical Depression 13-E will become Tropical Storm Marie and then Hurricane Marie.  That storm will pass well south and southwest of the Baja Peninsula of Mexico.  In the Atlantic, we continue to monitor a depression which could intensity into a tropical storm as it heads west over Puerto Rico and Hispanola.  The prime of the hurricane season is late August through September…still pretty quiet in the Atlantic.

Also, weak El Nino still on track - and remember, weak El Ninos can bring cold and/or snowy winters to Michigan and the Great Lakes states (1977-78).   Warmer than average sea surface temperatures south of SE Alaska would argue for continued mean ridge in the west and trough in the East.


Severe Risk – Fri. AM update

August 21st, 2014 at 2:34 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

1630 UTC Day 1 Outlook 1630 UTC Day 2 Outlook 1630 UTC Day 3 Outlook   The overnight storms so far (2 am) have been moving thru Chicago and NW Indiana.  Some minor wind damage at Peotone IL and Noblesville, IN.  We are in the General T-Storm Outlook.  I haven’t had much time to look at weather.

Here’s SPC watches, mesoscale discussions and storm reports. Here’s regional radar, so you can watch the storms develop and move east.   Here’s Storm Reports from Weds., including EF0 tornado in Michigan.

Here’s the GRR NWS forecast discussion.

Also, relatively (for them) small earthquake in Californialightning above Busch Field in St. Louisthunderstorm moving into Ferguson MOCOOL TIME-LAPSE of the storms coming into St. Louis.  Tropical Storm may develop and head through the Caribbean toward the U.S. and Gulf of Mexico.

 


Vacation Update

August 21st, 2014 at 2:02 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Bill at Waterfall 3 with Marie   Here we (Daughter #2 and I) at Wagner Falls.  We’ve managed to see Wagner Falls, Alger Falls, Munising Falls, Miners Falls and Horseshoe Falls (on private property, $7 admission for adults, which I thought was a fair price.  Some trees are labeled, there is a pond with fish to see and there is a continuous gnome convention going on there.  Postcards were cheap – 5 for a dollar, if I remember right).  Wednesday morning, we headed into Munising to mail post cards and look around.  Quite a few people had vegetable and flower gardens that were quite productive and well-kept.  Most of the vegetable gardens were well-fenced.  A low overcast sat on the hilltops and eventually thickened over the water to the point that Grand Island was not visible from shore.  We stopped at a lookout and the site of an old iron furnace and then headed west to the little town of Christmas.  Outside of the casino, there wasn’t much there.  There is a two-story wooden Santa Claus by a shop.  The shopkeeper recognized me and said that they have relatives in both Grand Rapids, Michigan and Grand Rapids, Minnesota and that Christmas was about halfway in between.  At Au Train we headed south to M-28.   We had occasional drizzle during the day and the temperatures were only in the low-mid 60s (excellent forecast from Karl Bohnak on WLUC the night before, BTW).  We stopped to play miniature golf.  A high school girl behind the counter said she opened at 11 am and now at 2:30 pm, we were the first car that had stopped.  The course was for sale and had been (she thought) for a couple years.   Along the route toward Newberry, we passed many for sale signs.  In Seney, a motel, a restaurant and one of the town’s two gas stations were closed.  In McMillan, the old school was for sale.  The gray skies and drizzle contributed to the feeling that the area had seen better days.  We stopped at the Seney Wildlife Refuge and took the 7-mile one-lane gravel road through the lakes and marshes.  The air and the water were calm and it was quiet enough to hear loons far across the lake.  We saw trumpeter swans, ducks, some turtles sitting on logs (seemingly waiting for the sun), a variety of birds, what sure looked to me like an eagle’s nest in the distance, a muskrat and several kinds of butterflies.  The motel in Newberry was full – glad I booked early.  We drove a mile and a half to a local trail through a dense forest, where we walked for about 25 minutes.  The woods was surprising dark and quiet at 7 pm on a dreary, misty evening.  Outside of a few insects, we saw no wildlife on our walk.  The rainy summer has brought out an abundance of wildflowers and the hills show a variety of green.  We walked to a local restaurant.  At 8 pm three tables out of 20+ were occupied.  I had spaghetti, a salad and blueberry pie.  Thursday, we’re going up to Tahquamenon Falls and plan to do some hiking.  I never tire of watching the sky – a canvas displaying an ever-changing painting of shapes and colors – one moment gentle and calm – in another moment brash and threatening.  The adventure continues tomorrow.


Wednesday

August 20th, 2014 at 10:29 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Duck - U.P. on 2014 trip   This was an extremely friendly duck that came up to us while we parked down by the lake.  It probably would have crawled in the car if I had let it.  It was obviously used to being fed by humans.  I didn’t have an duck food.   It’s Weds. am – cloudy, light showers every so often.  We had breakfast and are packing up to hit the road.  Again the low clouds are brushing the top of the higher hills.  The trails are quite muddy with lots of puddles, but the waterfalls are more like spring than late summer.  The people that run the kayak business said they were 6 weeks behind their normal open to the season this year with the ice in Lake Superior.  They said they were paddling around icebergs on Memorial Day.  They said the last ice was in a cave that they checked daily and the first day without ice in the cave was July 2nd!  The heat is coming.  The GFS-plot has 88-88-89 for G.R. for Sun., Mon., Tue.  and the Euro. would give us low 90s on Monday.  The Euro. gives G.R. another +1″ of rain Thurs. PM – early Fri.  The GFS-plot gives G.R. another 0.95″ from Thurs. night thru Fri.

Also:  “The average temperature on Earth has barely risen over the past 16 years.” is the most important sentence at the link.  With a cold PDO and an inevitable flip of the AMO to cold phase – the “pause” should continue and the global warming alarmists (those who forecast stuff like this) will keep searching for the “missing heat”.  Note that the NCDC global temperature reports conveniently eliminate (grayed out on the graphic) the Antarctic – where there has been record cold this winter and the Arctic, where they will have either the coldest or 2nd coldest summer since 1958.    Aurora seen from the Space StationAbove average (monsoon) rainfall in Arizona this late summer.


August 19th, 2014 at 8:20 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

    Tues. 8:15 pm.   Scattered showers and t-showers.  Here’s storm reports from SW Michigan, N. Indiana (and the Michigan counties that border Indiana) and SE Michigan.  Rainfall:  3.55″ Irving (Barry Co.), 2.70″ Byron Center, 2.65″ S. Haven,  2.56″ Comstock Park, 2.50″ Howard City and Middleville, 2.17″ Bradley (E. Allegan Co.), 2.11 Allegan and Cutlerville, 2.10″ Greenville, 1.90″ Norton Shores, 1.98″ Dutton,  1.88″ Ford Airport in G.R., 1.86″ Hastings and 1.83″ Ludington, 1.81″ Holland.  Small hail fell in Calhoun and Jackson Counties with a few trees down in Bloomingdale, DeWitt and near Sturgis.

Links: Grand Rapids radar, Northern Indiana radar, Chicago radar, Detroit radar and Milwaukee radar. Here’s regional radar, the College of DuPage Radar Map (pick any radar in the U.S.), College of DuPage Grand Rapids radar, the West Michigan Lightning Tracker, National Lightning Tracker, the local warning/advisory map and the National warning/watch/advisory map, a surface weather map. You can checkout the late. st 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 recent 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 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 in the U.P. Here’s the U.S. Low Temperature map. Here’s a live look at the Houghton Bridge. Here’s the Consumers Energy Power Outage Map. Here’s Closings.


Vacation Update

August 19th, 2014 at 8:04 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Bill - Miner's Castle at Pictured Rocks   Picture taken today (Tue.) at Pictured Rocks.  This is Miner’s Castle.  7:45 pm and a decent shower outside here in Munising…squashing all outdoor activities.  After a quick update here, we’re going down to the pool/hot tub.  Today, we did the long kayak trip at Pictured Rocks.  It was raining and about 63° with the rain tapering off some for the 2nd half of the trip.  I had on 2 t-shirts and 2 sweatshirts, plus the life jacket and the kayak “skirt”.  I was plenty warm, but did get plenty wet.  However, the wind was less than 5 mph and Lake Superior was almost dead calm.  That was what I wanted.  I can handle a cool rain, but kayaking in four-foot waves with a 20 mph north wind would have been a real chore.  We were in 2-person kayaks.  We saw a bald eagle.  The tour guide and several people in our group recognized me.  We kayaked under the arch and almost all the way to Chapel Rock.  We then hiked to Miner’s Falls and Munising Falls.  With all the rain we’ve had up here, the falls looked robust.  The sun peaked thru a few times during our hikes (we were in kind of a dry tongue ahead of the upper low that is bringing us more rain tonight.  The picture here was one of the few bright moments in an otherwise cloudy and damp day.  The low clouds hung on the hilltops.  The forests are so green with the rain that they’ve had up here.  There is a canopy of green trees and the forest floor is covered in ferns and other green plants and bushes.  The car got muddy today.

Monday, we started in Green Bay.  We did the tour of Lambeau Field.  It was raining in the am, which held down the crowds early.  We got to sit in a skybox and go down on the field thru the players tunnel.  The gift shop is huge.  It’s like a Cabela’s with everything you could ever imagine with a Green Bay logo on it…even appliances and bowling balls!   Players practice was at noon – indoors because of the rain and by noon a crowd of hundreds, maybe a thousand had gathered to cheer the players as they arrived for practice.  We started north, driving through more showers up past Escanaba.  We stopped at a park where some very friendly ducks just about came into our car looking for handouts.  One was pecking on the running board.  We stopped at two waterfalls as we came into Munising (Wagner Falls and Alger Falls).  The paths were wet and slippery, but we managed.   Tomorrow, we may boat around Grand Island, do more hiking and then, toward the end of the day, head east toward Newberry and Tahquamenon Falls.


Showers and T-Storms

August 18th, 2014 at 10:41 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

   Early Tues.  Scattered showers and t-showers are moving across Wisconsin and into West Michigan.  No severe weather is expected, though brief heavy rain and gusty winds are possible in a stronger storm.   A few spots in Wisconsin have had over 2″ of rain (Wisconsin Rapids 2.42″).  The afternoon European model gives G.R. a shot at 90° next Sunday.  There will be several chances for showers and storms over the next week.  Check out the links below.  Here’s the convective outlooks for the next 8 days from the Storm Prediction Center.

Also:  Tropical Storm “Lowell” has formed in the Eastern Pacific – no threat to land.   Another hurricane will form south of the Baja in 5-7 days.   Rainfall last 10 days – drought continues in CA – but rains fall in NV, AZ, WA, OR.    Solar energy is cooking birds that fly by.   Arctic Sea Ice Coverage Highest Since 2004 – Close To 1974 Levels.   REALLY close lightning flash!

Links: Grand Rapids radar, Northern Indiana radar, Chicago radar, Detroit radar and Milwaukee radar. Here’s regional radar, the College of DuPage Radar Map (pick any radar in the U.S.), College of DuPage Grand Rapids radar, the West Michigan Lightning Tracker, National Lightning Tracker, the local warning/advisory map and the National warning/watch/advisory map, a surface weather map. You can checkout the late. st 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 recent 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 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 in the U.P. Here’s the U.S. Low Temperature map. Here’s a live look at the Houghton Bridge. Here’s the Consumers Energy Power Outage Map. Here’s Closings.


Chicken BBQ

August 18th, 2014 at 5:00 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Gayle as Clown This Thursday is the last Comstock Park Rotary BBQ fundraiser (my wife is a member). I’m on vacation up north. Several blog readers stop down at the BBQs , so hopefully a few of you can grab a lunch or dinner. The BBQs are the 4th Thursdays in June and July and the 3rd Thurs. in August. They’ll be serving food from 11:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. or until sold out. The Comstock Park Rotary does a lot of good work in the community. They built and are helping to maintain 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 sausage and ribs. Dinners include two sides, roll and butter, and a drink. Half-chicken dinner is $9; half an order of ribs is $11, and a whole order of ribs is $16. I didn’t get a price on the sausage.

The Rotary Club’s dinners fund various Rotary Club projects, including scholarships at Kenowa Hills and Comstock Park high schools. Last year funds from the dinners helped finance the digging of a community well in El Salvador.

Advance Orders are taken for pick up. Call 616-299-4775 or email nmulder@kdl.org to pre-order 10 or more meals at a specific time. If you order 15 or more dinners, they’ll deliver within 10 miles. In June, one company ordered 52 dinners for their employees – nice. They’ve got a thousand dinners to sell. There’s a large gazebo there so you can get out of the sun or rain if you like. Click here for pictures of a past BBQ.


Tornado Count Very Low for Second Year in a Row

August 18th, 2014 at 2:24 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

tornado stats thru 8-16  Click on the image (from SPC) to enlarge.  For the second year in a row, we have had a relatively (very) low number of tornadoes in the U.S.   Here’s a comparison to recent years.  As of now, we’re headed toward the lowest # of tornadoes ever for a two-year period.  Here’s severe weather reports from Sunday, including 4 injures near Rushville, Nebraska from baseball-sized hail.  Sunday night’s 83 mph wind is the 5th gust over 70 mph since June 3 at either Hastings, NE, ARPT or NWS Hastings.  Six-foot wall of water moving down a usually dry river SE of Tucson AZ.    Wind gusts up to 70 mph reported near Claypool, AZ.  Magnitude-6.2 earthquake SE of Abdanan, Iran.

Rainfall totaled 1.23″ at Holland (Regional Arpt.) but only 0.06″ at the Ford Airport in G.R. and 0.04″ at the airport in Kalamazoo.  Other rainfall totals:  3.38″ Mt. Vernon IL, 2.9″ Centralia FL, 2.83″ Dallas TX, 2.61″ Yakutat AK and 2.58″ at Glenwood MN.

The GFS-plot gives G.R. a high of 90 next Saturday and 88 on Sunday.  The European gives G.R. 0.43″ of rain Tuesday, the GFS plot has 0.37″ and the NAM is the highest at 0.52″.