Today (May 18) is the 35th anniversary of the biggest (and there were a handful) explosion of Mt. St. Helens, the last big volcano in the Lower 48 states. The picture on the left is the mountain before the explosion (center). The image on the right is damage to trees. The explosion that occurred on May 18th, 1980 at 8:32 AM local time destroyed 4 BILLION board feet of timber, enough to build 300,000 homes. The initial blast-thrust was 300 mph. According to the USGS, the landslide caused by the collapse of the northern slope of Mount Saint Helens was the largest debris avalanche on Earth in recorded history. Within 15 minutes ash was blown into the stratosphere to a height of 80,000 feet. The ash cloud passed over Grand Rapids two days later (I have a slide I took of the ash cloud, which looked like a thick, uniform cirrus cloud layer) and circled the globe in 15 days. Ash accumulation was 10″ deep ten miles from the volcano and 1″ deep sixty miles from the volcano.The height of the mountain was reduced by 1,314 feet. The blast began with a 5.1 magnitude earthquake. Fifty-seven people were killed that day, 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles of railway and 185 miles of roads were destroyed. Here’s more facts – more pictures, a link to the National Monument website, and the Wikipedia article.
8 pm Sunday update – Here’s both regional and local radar. There is a chance of a shower or t-storm tonight. There are a few out there. Overall, this system is a lot “quieter” today (Sun.) than it was yesterday (severe reports today at the links). Here’s the convective outlooks for the next 3 days from SPC. There’s a Marginal Risk for SE Michigan. Much of Monday will be breezy and dry. Here’s GRR radar. The Slight Risk has been in Wisconsin today (Sun.) with a The front comes thru later on Monday, so we get warmer (it will be cooler near Lake Michigan).
I traveled to Lansing Sun. morning for the Michigan AP Awards luncheon (held Sunday noon because more media people are free from work at that time). WOOD is getting a boatload of awards, and I got Best Weathercast for 2014.
On the left, we have 7.7″ of new snow at Flagstaff Arizona. Quite a storm in the SW U.S. San Diego had 1.63″ of rain, including 1.3″ in just one hour! Other rain totals included 0.69″ in downtown L.A., where they had a thunderstorm, 0.47 in San Jose and just 0.03″ at Palm Springs.
Our rain has pretty much moved east. There is a chance of a shower, mainly along and south of I-94. Temperatures at noon range from 63 in G.R. to 66 in Kalamazoo to only 48.6 at the Muskegon Beach, with a wind off the water. Here’s the latest satellite loop.
Friday AM showers – mostly light and becoming widely scattered. While there is a chance of a shower or t-shower this PM, most of the PM will be dry. Warmer air on the way – low-mid 70s later today and near 80 Sat. and Sun. There will be a few showers/t-storms developing over the weekend, but they will be widely scattered and 80-90% of the time it won’t be raining. Check out the thread below this one for the long range outlook.
Light rainshowers develop tonight and continues into the early morning. Most rainfall amounts in Illinois have been under 1/4″. While there is still a chance of a lingering shower or t-shower tomorrow midday and afternoon, any activity would be very widely scattered. Temperatures will reach the low-mid 70s tomorrow PM. The weekend should be warm, low 80s. There will be a chance of a shower or t-shower Saturday and Sunday, but again, activity should be widely scattered and most of the time it will be dry. A sharp cool front comes through Monday AM. There will be showers and t-showers ahead of the front Sunday PM/Night. Monday will be breezy and cooler with temperatures possibly even falling a few degrees during the day.
An extended period of dry and cool weather is likely from Monday afternoon through at least Friday of next week. The images are the temperature and rainfall forecasts for May 20-24 from the Storm Prediction Center. They show higher probabilities for cooler and drier than average weather over Michigan and the Great Lakes. The European model takes the temperature at 850 mb (about a mile above the ground) down to -5.5C Tuesday evening. That’s mighty chilly air for the middle of May. That may be a little overdone. We’ll have to watch for scattered frost in low spots next Weds. AM (we’ll likely have a breeze to stir the air Tues. AM). It’s a little early to speculate on the Memorial Day Weekend. The GFS would have it dry 80+% of the weekend, with the first chance of a shower/t-shower on Sat. the 23rd, the European would have the first chance of a shower Sat. night.
Radar (from NWS) shows the rain coming our way for later tonight (generally after midnight – so your evening golf or baseball league should be OK). Rain late tonight and early tomorrow…most areas will likely be dry tomorrow PM/evening…warm weekend, up near 80 in the PM.
Not much frost last night…official low temps: 40 G.R., MKG, Holland – 37 Lansing, 35 Charlotte, 34 Ludington, Hart, 32 Cadillac, 31 Leota, Baldwin, 30 Port Huron, Bad Axe and Alma, 28 Oscoda. Nice climb, at Noon it’s 59 in G.R., Kalamazoo, Lansing, Big Rapids and Ionia.
The G.R. NWS has issued a Frost Advisory for the entire area (except for the Michigan counties that border Indiana. The Advisory runs from 2 am to 8 am. Just like when a tornado warning is issued, a tornado doesn’t affect the entire county…same applies here…there will (IMHO) not be a general frost for everyone. On a calm, clear night, cold air will settle in low areas, so if you live in a low spot that typically gets colder than the airport readings we give, you might want to cover up any plants or flowers that are frost sensitive. Keep in mind that the temperatures we give are taken at the 5 foot (eye) level. It can be up to 5 degrees colder right at the ground. I’m going for a low of 38 in G.R. overnight. I think the orchards (typically on higher ground were cold air can “drain away” on a calm, clear night) will be OK tonight. Also, it can get pretty cold in some lakeshore areas on a night like this. The chilly lake breeze means areas near Lake Michigan will be colder to start. At 8 pm, the temperature is 58 in G.R. and Kalamazoo, but only 46 on the beach at Muskegon and Holland. The Benton Harbor Airport has 47. BTW, we may also flirt with some scattered frost in low spots the middle of next week.
3 AM – Temps. going down gradually as planned…42 G.R. & MKG, 47 AZO and BTL where the wind is up around 5-7 mph. The wind can only increase by daybreak, so I think most areas are safe from frost. It’s 39 in Big Rapids, 40 in Mt. Pleasant. Where there will be frost is along Lake Huron where it’ll stay calm longer and where the cool air off the lake gave them a lower start. At 3 am it’s down to 32 in Bad Axe and Pt. Huron, 33 at Lapeer and Caro. Up north Grayling and Beaver Is. are also 32. Those places will have some frost.
Overnight model data: Dry today, the GFS has an 80% chance of rain late Thurs. night into early Friday, the NAM has an 86% chance of rain then…both models have the rain down by noon and dry weather from Friday PM (to the person who called about the wedding Fri. evening outside…good chance everything will come off without a hitch…well, except you two getting hitched, of course). High temps. the next three days: GFS = 68/70/80, NAM = 64/69/80. Looks like a warm weekend. Happy Thursday
Here’s an early afternoon pic. from the South Haven GLERL camera (from NOAA Coastwatch). Note that it’s clear over the colder water and partly cloudy to the right over the land, where the high mid-May sun is causing thermals and cumulus clouds to form. The clouds will gradually dissipate as very dry air comes in. That will set us up for a mostly clear night. The Northern Lights were dimly visible last night (I saw them from Alpine Township – nothing spectacular, but you could see the faint glow. It was a better show over N. Wisconsin and the U.P. No frost last night (lows: 38 G.R., 36 Hart, Kent City and Fremont where we had some clearing) with the wind holding up. Any frost tonight would be quite isolated and limited to a few low spots at best – I think the fruit trees will be fine tonight. We’re dry tomorrow…chance of showers and a t-shower late Thurs. night into Friday AM…warm and rather humid from Fri. PM to Mon. AM. Cooler, dry and less humid from Monday evening thru Weds. of next week. At 2 pm – 54 deg. in G.R., only 45.3 on the beach at Muskegon and 44.4 on the beach at S. Haven. Here’s a satellite loop (still some ice in eastern Lake Superior). Here’s current conditions.
Two major e-quakes today. The first a 7.3 magnitude e-quake in Nepal. This one was 47 miles east of Kathmandu (the 4/25 earthquake that was magnitude 7.8 was 48 miles west-northwest of Kathmandu). Today’s quake was 10 miles deep. It occurred at 12:50 pm local time and 3:05 am EDT. At least 68 fatalities have been reported, 50 in Nepal, 17 in India and 1 in Tibet. Over 1,100 have been injured. The quake was felt as far away as New Delhi, India and Dhaka, Bangladesh. There have been significant aftershocks, one of magnitude 6.3. An American Huey helicopter with as many as 8 on board is missing. The aircraft was involved with disaster relief.
The second quake is preliminary magnitude 6.8 and occurred just off the east coast of the Japanese island of Honshu, 21 miles SE of Ofunato and 256 miles north of Tokyo. No tsunami is expected. This earthquake was a fairly deep, 24 mi. under the surface. The quake occurred at 6:12 am local time and 5:12 pm EDT. The closest nuclear power facilities reported no problems.
Through 5/12 – the last 5 days we’ve had just 7.8% of possible sunshine…at least a trace of rain on each of the last 5 days and 7 of the last 9 days. Tuesday was the coolest day since 4/23. Peak wind gusts Tues: 37 mph Lansing, 35 mph G. Rapids and Battle Creek, 33 mph Charlotte and Mt. Pleasant, 32 mph Alma, 31 mph Jackson.