Bill Steffen

Rain Reign

October 1st, 2014 at 4:27 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

qpf  Click the image to enlarge.  This is the rainfall forecast from HPC (the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center). This is 24-hour rainfall for Thurs. AM to Fri. AM.  It has a maximum of 1.83″ about over Muskegon (24-hour total).  The European model is crazy-wet, printing out a whopping 3.47″ of rain for G.R. from Thursday through STuesday with the heaviest rain Thurs. night.  If the Euro. is right, we may be able to have swim meets at halftime of the Friday Football Frenzy games!  The other models aren’t that wet, but we still get a soaking.  The NAM (Car.) has 1.20″ of rain for G.R. from Thurs. PM thru Sat. and the GFS has 1.48″ from Thursday thru Saturday.  The NAM (Car.) has highs of 65 today and 70 tomorrow and 69 early Friday falling to 49 by Friday midnight.  The GFS-plot has a high of 68 for G.R. today, 75 on Thurs and 65 Fri. am falling to 49 before Friday midnight.  The GFS-plot has our 850mb temperature down to -4C by Sat. AM.  I don’t think that’s cold enough for a sleet mix.  At this time of year, you need a good -6 and maybe -7 since we’re downwind from a relatively warm lake, but a decent shower might be able to spit out some small hail.  The buoy temp. at Port Sheldon was 61 and at Ludington it was reading 40.  Assuming that 40 is right (due to upwelling) and that’s a big if…there would be more potential for lake-effect rain down wind from the south end of the lake.  Keep up with the latest forecast.  I stayed in the Tracking Center until Matt came in at 2:25 am and we discussed the upcoming storm system.  Then I went back to the station to do the newspaper graphic.  The overall pattern looks pretty cool from Friday PM into the middle of next week.  See he next thread for the severe weather outlook.

Severe Weather Thursday PM

October 1st, 2014 at 2:35 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

1630 UTC Day 1 Outlook 1630 UTC Day 2 Outlook   These are the Day 1 (Weds.) and Day 2 (Thurs.) Severe Weather Outlooks from the Storm Prediction Center.   For October, that’s a pretty large Slight Risk Area for severe weather Thurs. PM/Night from S. Lake Michigan and Berrien County down about to Houston.  SPC says:  “THUNDERSTORMS SHOULD FORM ALONG COLD FRONT AS IT PROGRESSES ACROSS THE PLAINS INTO THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY.  DAMAGING WIND GUSTS ARE THE PRIMARY SEVERE THREAT WITH THE STRONGEST STORMS.”

Also, watch desperate hikers fleeing the sudden eruption of Mt. Ontake in Japan…the death toll is up to 43, who didn’t make it down the mountain.  Look at the time-lapse of the eruption!

September 30th, 2014 at 9:52 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather  These are the 6-10 day outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center for Oct. 6-10.  Note that we will be in a pattern that we have been in often this year, with cool weather centered over the N. Plains and Great Lakes and wet weather centered over the Great Lakes.  No snow yet, but a cool pattern for the first full week of October.

Tues. PM – Fall Color Change

September 30th, 2014 at 2:20 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

fall colors nws gaylord   Click on the image to enlarge.  The fall color change is a few days earlier than the past couple years.  The overall cool and cloudy pattern for Friday into next week will accelerate the fall color show.  This graphic from the NWS in Gaylord highlights the areas of best color (on 9/27) in the U.P. and just north of S. Ste. Marie.  In Lower Michigan, the higher elevations from Cadillac/Lake City up toward the Mac. Bridge get their best fall color first by a few days with the SW Lake Michigan shore usually (not always) last by a few days.  It’s cloudy and much cooler this afternoon.  High temperatures were in the upper 70s yesterday an d I promised you it’d be 20 degrees cooler today.  The lower sun angle makes it harder to mix out the low clouds behind a cold front as we get into fall, so we have more cloudy days light this.  Morning model data still points to a strong cold front, a good soaking and a chilly weekend.  The NAM (car.) – the first model out in late morning gives G.R. a total of 1.27″ of rain from late Thurs. thru Friday AM.  It has highs of 66 tomorrow (Weds.) and 75 Thurs. and 63 on Friday.  The GFS-plot gives G.R. 0.71″ of rain for late Thurs. thru Fri. AM with highs of 69, 75 and 66 for the next 3 days.  The 850mb temp. crashes 10 de g. C on Friday – strong cold front.  It takes G.R. to -4C Sat. AM (you need about -6C at this time of year to get mixed sleet (or snow), so it’s getting close.  We’re downwind of warm lake, which would inhibit any frozen precipitation, but would also add moisture and ramp up the rainfall totals a bit.   The GFS-plot has highs Saturday in the upper 4os and Sunday in the low (maybe mid) 50s with a chance of light showers each day.  The morning European has rain starting earlier Thurs. and gives G.R. 0.30″ Thurs., 0.64″ Thurs. night, 0.51″ Fri. AM, 0.17″ Fri. night and 0.03″ Sat. with a chance of more showers on Sunday.  In any case, keep the umbrella handy.

Tuesday – 20 deg. cooler than Monday

September 29th, 2014 at 7:35 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

  Tue. early AM – The last of the showers are exiting Michigan into Ohio.  We’ll stay mostly cloudy today with afternoon temps. about 20 deg. cooler than yesterday in inland areas.  Most, if not all of the day will be dry.  Weds. (I hope) we become partly cloudy and we’ll be a few degrees warmer.  Weds. will be dry.  Rain arrives again by Thursday evening and the models are printing out a lot of rain (and maybe a t-storm as a sharp cold front arrives.  In fact, the European model has a total of 2″ of rain for G.R. from Thurs. thru Monday.  The GFS-plot has 1.25″.  The NAM (car) has 0.34″ Thurs. night and that’s as far out as the model goes.  The NAM has highs of 60, 65 and 76 for Tue. thru Thurs. for G.R.  The GFS-plot has 60, 69, 73.  The Euro. takes our 850 temp. to -3C Sat. – not cold enough for snow in early Oct., but cold enough for some chilly showers.  Change is in the air.

Here’s Grand Rapids radar and Northern Michigan radar. See the Slight Risk Area in a thread below this one for today/tonight. Storm Total Rainfall will show the heaviest rain and Milwaukee looping radar. Regional radar and the Updated GRR NWS Short Term Discussion. More 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 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. 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). Here’s the Consumers Energy Power Outage Map.

Rainfall Fri. Night: 1.33 Ojibway (Isle Royale) and 0.81 at E. Jordan. Extreme rainfall rates/amounts reported in West Texas – 8.96″ in ~3 hrs – with flash flooding. The rate of sea ice expansion in the S Hemisphere is incredible. A new record expanse of ice and not by a little…by a LOT.

September 29th, 2014 at 1:10 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

1630 UTC Day 1 Outlook muskegon glerl Lower Michigan is now in the General Thunderstorm Outlook for this evening/early tonight. A band of showers (maybe an isolated t-shower) will move from NW to SE across the area this evening. Rainfall will be light (less than 1/4″), but if you’re going out this evening, plan on an hour or two of showers. This is with a cool front that will bring cooler air for tomorrow and Weds. The last five days have been 5 degrees warmer than average, with an average wind of 3.4 mph and 94%  of possible sunshine (includes the sun dimly shining thru high clouds).   The morning run of the NAM (car.) has high temps. in the upper 50s tomorrow with more cloud cover.  It has more cloud cover with highs in the mid 60s on Weds. and one more warm day on Thursday (high 77) before a stronger cold front brings rain and colder temperatures for Friday and the weekend.  We may see daytime temps. only in the mid 50s over the weekend.  Pic. on the right is the Muskegon GLERL cam. (from NOAA Coastwatch) at midday.  I’ve notice a lot of boats (many people fishing) on our skycams of late.

The Skull

September 29th, 2014 at 2:57 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

skull   (This is a file pic. from a govt. website, not related to the story that follows)    Two beautiful sunny, warm, early-fall days over the weekend – what to do?   I could go walk around Art Prize and actually see the art (while spending most of the time talking with people, mostly about what’s going to happen this winter).  I could stand by our Art Prize studios and pass out Bill Steffen mustaches (I have a couple thousand to give out), a golden marketing opportunity and I like talking to the general public…but Art Prize goes on another week and a half and this weather won’t.  So…after the yardwork I went kayaking…Saturday PM by myself and Sunday with my wife.  I/we launched from the same place both times because it was closest – the boat launch on West River Drive at the mouth of the Rogue River.  It was calm and beautiful with the colors just starting to turn.  I saw great blue herons, a couple kinds of ducks, geese, lots of turtles and several huge fish (catfish?) that came up out of the water ahead of us.  Today, I saw either a beaver or a muskrat or ?.   It looked like a beaver, but I didn’t think one would be there on the Grand River.  It was about the size of a muskrat, but it had a bigger and wider tail than I remember a muskrat having.  You could see where some animal had brought clams out of the water and the clam shells were up on the bank.

Well, we’re paddling back along the east side of the river, about 1/2 mile upstream from the Northland Bridge and my wife says “Hey, that rock over there at the edge of the water looks like a skull”.  I was closer, but I didn’t have my glasses on (I see pretty well without them, especially in the distance and I don’t want to lose them, so I often paddle without them…and I don’t kayak with my phone, so no pic.).  I didn’t think it was a skull at first…but, as I got closer, it did look like a skull.  Only the back was showing…it was face down.  I cautiously took my paddle and slowly turned it around…YIKES, it is a skull!!  Where the eyes and nose were, it was black (could have filled in with dirt).  I’m thinking…naw, can’t possibly be.  My wife stays at a distance.  However, she said she’s 100% sure it’s not actually a real human skull.  She’s taken anatomy and had experience with deceased human beings…so, I’ve got to go with her analysis.  I wasn’t going to touch it, much less bring it back in the kayak.  It was probably a Halloween leftover or maybe came off a boat with a pirate theme, perhaps…maybe…probably.   I left it on the bank if anyone wants to go out there and check it out.

Pretty nice day today (Mon.) – any fog evaporates early – then clouds increase late as a cold front approaches.  Showers possible with the front this evening/tonight (maybe late aftn. north of G.R.)…back into the 70s one last time today. Rainfall tonight from the models for G.R. – 0.11 NAM (car.) and GFS-plot, 0.31″ on the European.   Cooler tomorrow with more clouds and temps. around 60 in the PM.  Wednesday should be a nice day…Thursday a stronger cold front arrives with showers and even a possible t-storm.  Pretty chilly behind it for Friday and the weekend.  The European has PM temps. in the low-mid 50s Sat. and Sun.


September 28th, 2014 at 3:29 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

356   I managed to get out to the Meijer Gardens to see the Art Prize entries there and walk around.  If you take the trail along the pond, check out the swans that have taken up home a few feet from the boardwalk and check for turtles swimming in the shallow water just beyond the walk.  Saturday, I walked to the store, finished cutting the back grass – pulled some weeds and some mushrooms (some big ones – nearly a foot high!), watered some plants, picked up sticks, picked some raspberries, watched a little of the Michigan St. and Michigan football games and took my kayak up the Grand River (for the first time this year) for a couple miles.

Model Update:  Another great afternoon weatherwise…mostly sunny and warm.  I’ll probably go to Art Prize and walk around.   Monday will be another warm day, but clouds will increase in the PM.  We’ll probably get a light shower (esp. I-96 north) Monday evening/night.  All the models try to print out a light shower Monday Night with 0.13″ on the NAM (car.), 0.06″ on the GFS-plot and 0.13″ on the European.  We’ll turn a little cooler for Tuesday – low-mid 60s during the PM on the GFS plot and Euro.  The NAM hold clouds and cooler air with temps. in the mid 50s Tues. PM.  We’ll side with the milder number right now.  Wednesday back to 70 on the GFS, cooler on the NAM…a stronger cold front comes thru late Thursday and that one will have some moisture with it.  The GFS-plot has 0.87″” total rainfall for G.R. from Weds. PM to Sat. PM.  The European has 0.49″ mainly Thurs. night.  The cold air coming in late this week will be a significant change.  The GFS-plot would keep temps. in the upper 40s most of next Saturday.  The European has our 850 mb temp. (about a mile above ground) down to 32F.  The GFS plot has the 850 mb temp. down to 27F…pretty cool air and quite a change from this weekend.  It gives us temps. in the mid 50s next Saturday.  We’ll see cloudier weather from Thurs. PM into next weekend.

The death toll from the Japanese Volcano is now estimated to be 32 with over 200 injured.  Phoenix AZ has had 5.05″ of rain this month – 2nd wettest Sept. ever.  Here’s rainfall over the past 90 days for the U.S.   It shows ample rain in almost all areas east of the Rockies, also much of Arizona and Utah.  A good section of California has not seen measurable rain in the last 3 months.   However, snow fell Saturday in the Sierra Nevada Moutains.  Overall, a great year for U.S. agriculture.   The average temperature for the Lower 48 states (taken every hour) did not make 90 degrees at any time in 2014 – unusual.

Warm Now, Cool is Coming

September 27th, 2014 at 3:40 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather   This is the 8-14 day temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center for Oct. 4 -10.  While we stay on the warm side thru the first couple days of Oct. – cooler air will move into the Great Lakes area after that.  You can see the higher probabilities of cooler than average temperatures in the blue color from the Plains east to the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.  Both the GFS and the European develop a trough over the Great Lakes.   Look at the Arctic Oscillation going negative after 10/1.  The Antarctic Oscillation has been quite negative for a month and that looks to go positive as we head into OctArctic sea ice extent has “hit bottom” and is now increasing.  Note the very significant growth of Arctic sea ice in the last two years.  In the Antarctic, a new record maximum ice extent has been reached this month.

Another Volcano Erupts – 32 feared dead

September 27th, 2014 at 3:21 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

ontake one ontake 2  Mt. Ontake in central Japan erupted Saturday at 11:53 am local time.   A hiker on Mt. Ontake tweeted this photo one minute before the eruption, and hasn’t tweeted since.  Some 240+ hikers were on the mountain when the eruption occurred.  At least one death and 30 injuries have been reported with another 31 still missing and presumed dead.   Check out the pics. and video of the eruption here.

From Wikipedia:Mount Ontake (also referred to as Mount Kiso Ontake) is the second highest volcano in Japan at 3,067 m (10,062 ft) located around 100 km (62 mi) northeast of Nagoya. It is on the borders of Kiso and Ōtaki, Nagano Prefecture, and Gero, Gifu Prefecture.  Thought to be inactive until 1979, it underwent a series of eruptions over the following year  The volcano has five crater lakes, with Ni no Ike at 2,905 m (9,531 ft) being the highest mountain lake in Japan.   (click on the pics. to enlarge – from Wikipedia – pic. on right is the mountain with snow on top in spring).