Bill Steffen

Cool Pattern Continues

July 24th, 2014 at 2:54 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather   NAEFS Click on the images to enlarge. The first is the 6-10 day temperature forecast from the Climate Prediction Center for July 29 to August 2. The second is the 8-14 day outlook for July 31 to August 6 and the image on the right is the NAEFS forecast for July 31-August 6. This is a pattern that has been prevalent since last November – generally cooler than from the Plains east and warmer than average from the Rockies to the West Coast. The mean upper level trough is over the Great Lakes as we end July and start August.   Despite our one day of 89° – Grand Rapids is now 3.7° below average for July with an average temperature for the month of 68.9°.   I believe that would put us about tied for 6th coldest July ever…and we’re probably going to go below that.  The coolest July in G.R. was 2009 at 67.1°.   The four coolest Julys ever in G.R. have all occurred relatively recently, since 1992.   The warmest July in G.R. was 1921.  Manistee is -6.9° for the month and they have a good shot at setting their coolest July ever.  Muskegon is -4.2° for the month.   As you can see, it looks like no 90-degree days in the next two weeks.  The ONLY year when we did not have a 90-degree day in G.R. was 1951 (highest that summer was 89°).  That summer was followed by the snowiest year EVER in G.R.  The snow came early that winter with the heaviest snowfalls we have ever had in the first week of November.

Also, the JAMSTEC model is forecasting a cooler than average winter for Michigan and much of the U.S. east of the Rockies.  Check out the lightning over Calgary, Alberta, Ripkin Stadium near Baltimore and New York CityStorm Clouds east of SeattleMississippi waterspoutSevere storms caused widespread damage in Arkansas.  If you look at the U.S. severe reports for Weds., you can see the numerous wind damage reports across Arkansas, far eastern Oklahoma, northeast Texas and NW Louisiana.  Those storms knocked out power to over 100,000 customers.  There was a scattering of wind damage reports in the East, and some rather unusual severe t-storms in NE Washington, N. Idaho up into Alberta, Canada.  About a week left in July and you can still see ice along the shore up in Barrow, Alaska.  Wow!  Look at the mayfly invasion in Wisconsin!  So thick you can see clouds of mayflies on radar!    For those on you interested in the index values…the PNA goes very positive next week, the NAO is negative and the WPO and EPO are also negative.  All this means some cool air for the Great Lakes early next week.

Bill at the Rotary Chicken BBQ in Comstock Park

July 24th, 2014 at 1:22 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Gayle as Clown Today we have another Comstock Park Rotary BBQ fundraiser  (my wife is a member).  The weather should be perfect, partly to mostly sunny and low-mid 70s.  Several blog readers stop down at the BBQs , so hopefully a few of you can grab a lunch or dinner. I’m there around Noon and we talk weather or whatever. 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. – 6:30 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.

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 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 if you like. Click here for pictures of a past BBQ.

Park Party in Muskegon

July 24th, 2014 at 1:13 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

maranda Today’s Maranda Park Party is in Muskegon at Smith-Ryerson Park.  Park Parties are from 11:30 to 2 PM, but come early. There’s a free (well, thank you taxpayers, it’s USDA) lunch for anyone 18 and under and lots of other free food (apples, ice cream, cheese curls, candy and more). There’s also the free entertainment, lots of prizes, rides, the climbing wall, games and fun. We’ll have lots of giveaways from the stage, including dozens of t-shirts. The weather should be fantastic – partly to mostly sunny with temps. in the low-mid 70s.  You can see more on Maranda’s facebook page and you can watch highights of the Park Party on Maranda’s TV show (Where You Live) on WOTV4 at 7 pm. This is the 20th year of FREE Park Parties…parking is free, too.

Cooler and Less Humid

July 23rd, 2014 at 2:40 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

kite surfer holland beach bum joe    Cooler and less humid air  for the next several days.  The dew points were in the upper 60s yesterday and today they have dropped to the mid 50s. Temperatures reached the upper 80s yesterday.  We’ll be in the mid 70s this afternoon.   There’s a beach hazard statement out for today.   Waves are 3-5 feet from Pentwater to S. Haven this morning.  With a general north wind, the north sides of piers and breakwaters are prone to develop structural currents that move out toward open water.   So, don’t swim near the north sides of the breakwaters (like at Holland St. Park).  Small Craft Advisories will continue this afternoon.  The GFS MOS model gives G.R. highs of 75, 77 and 79 for the next 3 days.  The NAM MOS is 74, 76, 74 with the next chance of rain on Saturday.  The warmest temperature at 850 mb over the next 10 days on the GFS-plot is +18C Friday night and we go down to +7C next Monday.   Looks like for awhile, we’ll have to struggle to make 80° much less 90°.   The latest JAMSTEC model 3-month forecast for Dec. – Feb. has Michigan a little cooler than average.  Generally, it’s warmer than average in the West and cooler than average in the East.  (picture from Beach Bum Joe at ReportIt).

Rainfall last night was heaviest in the lakeshore counties and light inland:  1.65″ Grand Haven, 1.21″ Muskegon, 1.16″ Robinson Twp., 1.07″ Montague, 0.88″ W. Olive, 0.73″ Lawrence, 0.68″ Hart, 0.48″ Hudsonville and S. Haven, 0.44″ Fremont – just 0.02″ in G.R. and Battle Creek, .0.06″ Kalamazoo and only a trace in Lansing.

We’ll stay dry today and tomorrow with pleasant temperatures and low humidities.  We’ll have a good chance of at least a couple periods of showers and maybe a thundershower or two from Saturday into Monday or Tuesday.  Cool air for next week, with high temperatures in the 70s.  The European model says we’ll struggle to reach 70° next Mon./Tues. and nothing warmer than low 80s thru Aug. 1.

Taiwan radar at time of plane crashDo not be afraid of typhoon???the coming New England electricity shortage…Thailand to reclaim top rice exporter spot after poor Indian rains…Typhoon Matmo has made landfall over Fujian Province, China…Lightning hits Mt. Rushmore...Tuesday was the warmest day in the U.S. so far this year.   Tweet from Joe Bastardi:  “Anyone for a summer cruise on Lake Superior this aftn., where temps are in low 40s over lake?

Evening/Night Scattered Showers/Storms

July 22nd, 2014 at 2:02 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

  Bill here – weather is my passion, but it still takes 2nd place to a “daddy-daughter day”.   Daughter 2 and I went to dinner, then to the Tues.night concert at Meijer Gardens, then out for dessert.   The storms have produced gusty winds, a dozen hail reports and heavy rain.  The Muskegon airport had 1.21″ of rain in less than an hour.  The Grand Rapids Airport so far has had only 0.02″.  The heaviest storm/rain will continue to drop south thru  Van Buren Co., Berrien and Cass Counties.  Here’s storm reports.  Temperatures fall from near 80° into the 60s as the storm and cold front comes through.    Radar here should update automatically – lots of links for you to check out below and check the other threads for more on the severe weather threat this evening/night and the long-range outlook.  Here’s simulated radar, which predicts evening t-storms.  Here’s regional radar.  The high temperatures in G.R. was 89°, so we didn’t make 90° and won’t for at least the next 10 days.   The only place to make 90° was Holland, which seems kind of odd since the wind was coming off Lake Michigan.  Looks like the wind was coming down a runway.   The Muskegon beach had a high temperature of 77.2°.

Here’s GRR looping radar. 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, 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 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.

Typhoon Matmo produced 16.46″ in last 15 hours.   0.04″ of rain measured in downtown San Francisco this AM. Biggest one day total since April 27.

Slight Risk Area for part of West Michigan

July 22nd, 2014 at 2:21 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

1630 UTC Day 1 Outlook 1630 UTC Day 2 Outlook 1630 UTC Day 3 Outlook     These are the severe weather outlooks for this PM/night, tomorrow and Thurs.   Note that the Slight Risk Area has been expanded east into SW Michigan, from Pentwater to Grand Rapids to Kalamazoo and south into Indiana.  SPC says:  “SCATTERED SEVERE STORMS WITH WIND AND HAIL WILL BE POSSIBLE FROM THE CENTRAL PLAINS EASTWARD TOWARD SOUTHERN LAKE MICHIGAN.” Many could use some rain, especially north of Muskegon and along the Indiana border.  Today is our one shot at 90°.  If we don’t make it today, we’ll have to wait until August for our next chance.   This PM you can follow SPC severe weather watches, meso-scale discussions ans storm reports.  Here’s Northern Plains radar and Great Lakes radar where you can watch the storms develop and move east.   Here’s the GRR NWS discussion.   The average wind speed in G.R. over the last four days has been just 4.1 mph.   Today is also the 7th day in a row that the high temperature will be warmer than the day before.

Here’s U.S. wildfire statistics.   For the last two year period, we’ve had below average numbers of wildfires and acres burned.  Above average rainfall over much of the area east of the Rockies has made for very low wildfire statistics for the Eastern 2/3rds of the country.  Typhoon Matmo heading into Taiwan and then mainland China.    6.9 magnitude earthquake in Figi.

Air Quality Alert (Advisory) Monday PM and Tuesday

July 22nd, 2014 at 12:06 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Ozone Action Day  The Michigan (and Indiana) Dept. of Environmental Quality has declared Monday to be an Air Quality Alert Day (you might remember these as “Ozone Action Days”…kind of like “global warming” has now been changed to “climate change” to cover more bases).  It’s likely that they will declare Tuesday an Air Quality Alert Day, too  The Advisory covers the lakeshore counties, Kent Co. and the Detroit area in Michigan and Lake, Porter and La Porte Counties in NW Indiana and the Chicago area.   This is for Ozone levels marginally reaching the “unhealthy level for sensitive groups”.  There was an Air Quality Alert Day issued for Sunday, but I did not see the readings reach “unhealthy levels”.  So, unless someone can correct me, it looks like they were at least one day early.   Here’s Ozone monitoring stations in Lower Michigan and Air Quality Index Values.  Here’s past Air Quality and Ozone Action Days (only two last year).   You can go to this website tomorrow and check the Ozone (AQI) levels and see if their forecast was correct.   Remember, there are FREE rides on the RAPID in the Grand Rapids Area and the MAX (Macatawa Area Express) in the Holland/Zeeland area (fixed routes only) on Clean Air Action Days.

European model and CPC have more unseasonable cool air

July 21st, 2014 at 9:08 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather   NAEFS July 29 - August 4    Wow!  Check out the 9-day European model.  That’s a 558 height (at the link) and would give us highs perhaps in the mid 60s if this comes true.  The two images here (click on the images to enlarge)  are the 6-10 day temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center for July 27-31.  On the right is the NAEFS forecast for July 29 – August 4.   Wow again!  That’s a very cool pattern for mid-summer!  Tomorrow is our only shot at 90-degres, maybe for the next two weeks.

Severe Storms Blast North Dakota

July 21st, 2014 at 7:31 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

WW0427 Radar Severe storms hit N. Dakota hard yesterday afternoon and evening. Storms produced 80 mph winds, large hail and at least one tornado.  Wind reports of 80 mph winds in Center ND and 75 mph wind gusts in Syracuse and Wilton ND. Here’s storm reports.   The storms continued east into Minnesota during the late night.

Biggest Fire Ever in Washington State

July 21st, 2014 at 7:12 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Fire NW oneFire NW two Click on the images to enlarge. These pics. are satellite views (from NASA and Earth Observatory) of the wildfires out West. The Carleton Complex Fire near Twisp, Washington is now the biggest fire ever in Washington State since records began (and I don’t know how long that has been). The fire has consumed roughly 238,000 acres (372 square miles). That’s roughly four times the size of Seattle. It’s thought the fire was started by lightning on July 14th. 154 structures have been lost to the fire with an estimated worth of five million dollars. There are 1,622 firefighters assigned to this fire, along with 11 helicopters and 132 fire engines.   Fortunately, the heat wave has broken and temperatures are back mainly in the 70s to near 80 in the afternoon in that area.  They have a chance of a shower tomorrow and a good chance of showers on Wednesday.  Winds will not be too strong, so the weather looks good for making progress on containing this fire.   For the entire U.S., both the number of fires and the acreage burned have been below average last year and so far this year.   The total acreage burned so far in 2014 is 1,306, 163 acres – the annual average is 3,738,651.

Also, tropical depression #2 has formed in the central AtlanticIt will meander to the west and stay below tropical storm status.