Bill Steffen

Monday PM Showers/Storms

August 25th, 2014 at 11:52 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

   Scattered showers and t-storms this afternoon.  They’re moving west to east.  Check radar and the other links below.  Certainly some heavy rain in this humid air, along with the possibility of gusty winds and small hail (though the freezing level is pretty high) in bigger storms.  Lower Michigan is in the General T-Storm Outlook from the Storm Prediction Center.  There is a “See Text” for E. Wisconsin.  SPC does mention Lower Michigan:  “…MID/UPR MS VLY INTO MI TODAY/TNGT… TSTMS NOW OVER ERN IA AND SRN/ERN WI SHOULD DIMINISH AS DIURNAL HEATING WEAKENS/RE-ORIENTS LLJ AND AS MB UPR SYSTEM CONTINUES ENEWD /REF MCD 1613/. SOME REJUVENATION MAY OCCUR WITH SFC HEATING ALONG OUTFLOW BOUNDARIES EWD INTO NRN IL/IND…AND LWR MI LATER TODAY. ALTHOUGH THE STORMS MAY POSE A THREAT FOR ISOLD SVR WIND/HAIL GIVEN FAVORABLE THERMODYNAMIC ENVIRONMENT…WEAK/NEGATIVE LARGE-SCALE FORCING FOR ASCENT SHOULD LIMIT STORM COVERAGE/SVR RISK.   There was some wind damage from storms in southern Wisconsin earlier this morning.  Severe weather here in Lower Michigan is unlikely.   I’ll update when I can this PM/evening.   At 2:20 pm – heaviest storms in far NE Allegan (moving into far NW Barry Co. and in Ionia Co.    77° dewpoint in G.R. and Holland at noon – highest of the year, I believe and close to as high as it gets.  Very muggy.  Rainfall as of 2 pm:  1.03″ Daybreak Church (Hudsonville), 1 in Ada in an hour, 0.56″ Big Rapids, 0.65″ Grandville, 0.54″ Hersey (Osceola Co.), 0.52″ Allendale, 0.36″ Muskegon, 0.32″ WOOD-TV (Heritage Hill, G.R.), 0.30″ Grand Haven (BilMar’s on the lake).  Storms are moving west to east.

The morning run of the European gives G.R. another 0.17″ of rain tonight, 0.01″ Weds. PM (may not happen), 0.55″ Thursday night into Friday…more rain possible over the coming weekend.  Still no 90°.  Four months to Christmas Day.

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, North American Lightning Tracker with zoom feature.   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.


Radar and Links

August 24th, 2014 at 3:02 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

  Chance of a shower or t-shower.  Milwaukee had 1.25″ of rain in 3 hours.   Here’s the convective outlooks for the next 8 days from the Storm Prediction Center.

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.


Warm to Hot

August 24th, 2014 at 2:59 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

thermometer-90-degrees    I haven’t taken much time to look at weather.  Here’s the Convective Outlooks from SPC.  The overnight run of the NAM (caribou) gives G.R. 83 for a high temperature today (Sunday), 90 tomorrow and 89.3 on Tuesday.  That model gives G.R. over an inch of rain Monday night.  The GFS-plot has highs for G.R. of 84, 88, 86, 87 for the next four days.  That model has a chance of showers/t-showers each day from Monday – Thursday with mostly sunny skies for most of next weekend.  Here’s the latest on Tropical Storm Cristobal north of the Bahamas and Hurricane Marie off the west coast of MexicoEarthquake in Iceland – prelude to significant volcanic eruption?

The Tigers were down 9-1 after 3 innings going on to lose 12-4.  Buck Farmer has an era of 15.64.  The regularly schedule game wound up 8-6 Tigers.


Quick Vacation Update

August 24th, 2014 at 1:11 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Bill Marie Vacation Kayaks Curtis MI   Another beautiful day here…partly sunny, mid 70s.  After breakfast, Marie and I took these kayaks on about a 4-mile trek.  We stopped at an island on the lake where a sign said “Visitors welcome”.  There were two extremely rustic cabin, an outhouse and a sign indicating that an Indian Chief and his family were buried on the island.  We took the kayaks down the Portage toward South Manistique Lake, but a fallen tree blocked our route.  On the way back to Big Manistique Lake, we surprised several deer.  We headed into Curtis to look around and do a little shopping.   We keep running into people from G.R.  I talked to Bill and Mary Romence (Romence Gardens) in one of the gift shops.   Then out to a boat launch to eat a little snack.  I helped a fisherman get his boat up on his trailer.  He had caught about 15 nice panfish.  There were only a very few boats out on the lake, which surprised me for an August Saturday.  We came back to the Inn for dinner, then another kayak ride, this time going west.  I came as close as I had ever come to a great blue heron.  The lake was nearly calm and the sky a mixture of scattered cirrus, altostratus and lower cumulus clouds.  A glimmer of twilight was still visible an hour after sunset.   Marie and I played a little badminton and cornhole, then joined several others at the evening campfire.   Despite the scattered clouds, many stars were visible.  Most prominent was the Big Dipper.  Without a lot of man-made light, the Little Dipper was also clear.  We had a little dessert and are now ready to head home Sunday.


Lions and Tigers and Bears, O My!

August 23rd, 2014 at 7:32 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

detroit tigers logo It’s so bad that the Tigers had an infielder pitch the 8th inning. He started by giving up a double and 2 home runs. The last-place Twins got a seasonal league-high 20 runs (6 in the 2nd and 9 in the 5th). There were 35 hits in the game and 5 errors. The Tigers gave up 9 walks and threw 214 pitches, more than the previous 2 games combined! The Lions managed a win, for what it matters in pre-season (remember 2008?). The Lions had 15 penalties for 131 yards and 3 turnovers. They looked sloppy. Suh had another roughing the passer penalty. It’s not impossible that he could get fined for this one (mostly to send him a message). Jacksonville had 12 penalties for 101 yards. So, if you like numbers…35 is the number of runs the Tigers gave up plus the number of penalties the Lions accumulated. On paper, they should both be great teams. If you’re a Bears fan, it wasn’t any better. They were down 28-0 less than 2 minutes into the 2nd quarter, as Seattle scored touchdowns on it’s first four possessions. Green Bay won. Lots of Yoopers up here are Packer fans.

Also:  Great Falls, MT is only forecast to reach 50° today, 30 degrees lower than their normal high.  Some snow in the mountains there.  Savannah, GA hit 100 F on Friday, the first 100-degree day this year. This also set a record high for the date.  Hail covers the ground in Twin Falls, ID.  A sharp peak to the Atlantic hurricane season from late August thru September.  Still no 90 degree in Grand Rapids or Indianapolis this summer.  Monday could be our best shot and it’s a good shot at hitting 90°.  Japanese model (joins the Farmer’s Alamanc  in) predicting a cold winter for much of the U.S.   A foot of hail near Mexico City.   Through Aug. 22 – Grand Rapids is 1.0 degree cooler than average for August, Kalamazoo is -1.3° and Muskegon is -1.6°.


Vacation update #5 or thereabouts

August 22nd, 2014 at 8:40 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Chamberlain Inn One    Chamberlain Inn TwoWe’re at Chamberlin’s Old Forest Inn on Manistique Lake.  These are two pictures Marie took an hour ago.  I had seen Chamberlin’s at the Michigan’s Fairs and Festivals auction website and we were passing it on our slow journey home.  We stopped for lunch (only one’s eating here at 2:30 pm).  Turns out they had 2 rooms left tonight and a number of rooms available tomorrow night because a wedding had cancelled at the last minute.  The owner didn’t know who I was, but when he heard we were father and daughter, he said he’d give us the last two rooms for half price.  So we’re staying here tonight and tomorrow night.  This is a big lake.  Marie said it’s nearly 16 square miles.  They have kayaks here to use, badminton, cornhole, lots of interesting books to read.  Beautiful sunset this evening.  A handful of guests/dinner patrons recognized me.  This trip I’ve really been surprised at the number of people who came up to say “hi’ who used to live in the viewing area, but don’t now.  I had fun talking to a couple from Muskegon who moved to Newberry.  I asked him if he thought winters were just too darn warm in Muskegon.  He said he just liked winter.  Earlier today, we had breakfast and went to Oswald’s to see the bears.  We spent about 2 hours there and walked around the entire area.  The cubs were cute.  We saw one bear “beg” (put on quite a show) for a peppermint.  Two bears were running through their (very large) enclosure.  We then drove north to Pine Stump Junction, then back south to McMillan and down to Curtis.  We stopped at several stores.  I bought enough stuff to fill my wife’s Christmas stocking and got several presents (and a great one to bring home to give her now…oops, wonder if she’s going to read the blog?).  The Inn really quieted down at 8:30 pm – it was pretty full for dinner tonight.  Great bowl of clam chowder for $4.  We’ll stay here tomorrow and head home thru Traverse City to see daughter #3 (seeing all 3 daughters on this trip).  My wife was down helping daughter #1 paint this week.   Wish you were all here!  The sunset is spectacular and the lake is almost dead calm.  I just love watching the sky – free and ever-changing for all to enjoy.


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.