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.
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.
This Thursday is the last Comstock Park RotaryBBQ 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.
Advance Orders are taken for pick up. Call 616-299-4775 or email email@example.com 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.
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″.
Here I am Sunday afternoon about 75 feet above the lake on the bluff overlooking Lake Michigan at a park in Grafton, Wisconsin. Click on the picture to enlarge. There is a layer of low clouds over the lake as you look east toward Michigan. The temperature on the car thermometer pulling into the park was 65° and that was probably about the high for the day. On the bluff there was about a 15-20 mph NE wind off the lake. To my right you can see one (small white dot) boat. While I was at the park, scanning the horizon, I saw 5 boats total. I thought that was on the low side, since I was just north of Milwaukee. Waves were around 3 feet and there was a significant longshore current. The only creature that went in the water down at the beach was a dog fetching sticks amid the waves. I admired the dog’s unconstrained enthusiasm for doing the task at least a dozen times as I watched, shaking the water off for a few seconds before bounding into the water again. This evening, we’re in Green Bay. Found a motel and (with the help of the motel clerk) got the best deal off of Priceline. I had a nice chat with some guys checking into the motel from the NFL Network, here to cover the Green Bay-Oakland game Thursday night. Daughter 2 and I are going to do the Lambeau Field tour tomorrow. I’ve been to Lambeau once before. Daughter 2 has not and really wanted to see Lambeau Field. If I’d have thought about it earlier, I would have scheduled a way to see the game (there are usually plenty of tickets floating around for sale for the pre-season games on both stub-hub and the NFL ticket exchange). If you were watching the Sunday night game – which we did – you could see plenty of empty seats (Kansas City played at Carolina). Earlier in the day, I did get recognized in a Walgreens.
On the way up, we stopped at the town of Belgium, Wisconsin and saw the Luxembourg-American Cultural Center. We missed the Luxembourg Festival in Belgium by one week (it was last weekend). My father was 100% Luxembourger – both his parents were born in Luxembourg – coming to America separately and then meeting in Chicago. Luxembourg is slightly bigger than Kent Co. and has a population of approx. 525,000 – compared to roughly 622,000 in Kent County. You wouldn’t recognize many famous (even part) Luxembourg-Americans. The most famous is probably tennis player Chris Evart. It’s the only Grand Duchy in the world (with a Grand Duke), but is actually a parliamentarian republic. It has the 2nd highest GDP per capita in the world next to Qatar. It’s between France, Germany and Belgium. It’s was overrun by the Germans in both WWI and WWII and historically was once part of Belgium and the Netherlands. The Belgium American Legion is having their big auction and grill-out next Saturday. You get free corn and – get this – FREE BEER! That’s right – free beer (that’s one way to get the bids up at the auction!). We hope to end up in Munising tomorrow evening. Happy Monday from the land of cheeseheads!
Late night – I’m in Wilmette – figured out how to get WIFI off my iphone (at least until the battery is drained). Stopped to buy peaches at the old Ross-Roy farm on Four Mile Rd. (hi to Nick, Ellen, Billy and Gunner)…then stopped at the American Legion Post on Wilson (the one with the tank out front) to buy some raffle tickets for the drawing next week. Good cause, they help a lot of people in the community, kids – Boy Scouts, etc. Then we stopped at the farm market at the Pullman exit and bought $65+ of goodies to take to Wilmette – good stuff. We’ve stopped at Ed’s for decades. Traffic was the usual heavy, and we had a couple of brief slowdowns. We took mom to Saturday evening Mass, then fixed burgers and lots of Michigan vegetables…went for a nearly one mile walk in the park across from Bill Murray’s childhood home (he showed up for his grade school reunion this year) and we had strawberry-rhubarb pie baked this morning at the Dutch Market. It’s neat to see that in the local independent grocery store – they have signs that say “Michigan apples” and “Michigan fresh peaches”. We’re getting up to blueberry pancakes and blueberry syrup from S. Haven. My brother’s coming over for breakfast and we might have time to go across the street to the park for some bocce. That’s doable in our “old age”. Well into our forties, we’d go hit fly balls and throw the football around like we were still teenagers. I’ll try and check in tomorrow night, wherever we might land.
Picture here is my 95-year old mother with my daughter, Marie – with a picture that Marie drew in 2nd grade that my mother has kept on the refrigerator door for 25 years. Presents that count don’t necessarily have to cost a lot of money. Enjoy your Sunday.
I’m on the road this weekend and this coming week, starting out with a visit to the Chicago area to see my 95-year old mother. One of the bands my brother plays in (Dr. Mark is a real heart surgeon) is doing their annual all-Beatles concert in Highland Park. That group has opened for a couple of big-time acts – including at the Horizon. This group has played together for 25+ years. Here’s a write-up on them in the Chicago Tribune from 1990. After that I’m heading up into Wisconsin (stopping at Lambeau Field – seriously thought about getting tickets to the Thurs. night game with Oakland) and the U.P. to Pictured Rocks and Tahquamenon Falls to do some kayaking and hiking. While I’m off – newly married Kyle Underwood will be back. Next Saturday AM, I’d like to get back for the Humane Society Tails on Trails Dog Walk at the Ottawa Discovery Center. Blog updates will be few and far between over the next week to ten days, so I’ll leave it to the astute commentators here to keep you up to date. Have a good week. (As of 11:30 pm Sat. night – the line of scattered showers is roughly Holland to Lansing and dropping south. As it moves down toward and into Indiana, it’ll leave us with a pretty nice Sunday. The overnight run of the GFS gives G.R. highs of 80 and 81 for Sun. and Mon. with a 50% chance of rain Monday evening/night.)
Click on the image (from the High Plains Regional Climate Center). This is the departure from average temperature for the U.S. for Jan. 1, 2014 to Aug. 14, 2014. You can see it’s been a cool year for most areas east of the Rockies and warmer than average in the Western U.S. The departures from average of over 6 degrees across the Northern Plains into the western Great Lakes are impressive. Grand Rapids is -3.65° for the year. Since Jan. 1, Grand Rapids has had 23.72″ of precipitation and that’s 0.84″ above average. The warmest day of 2014 in G.R. has been 89° on 7/22 and the coldest -12° on 2/28. G.R. has had 9 days with 100% sunshine and 32 days with 0% sunshine.
Friday, the Muskegon GLERL camera caught the Lake-Express Ferry coming into the channel into Muskegon Lake. Click on the pic. to enlarge (from NOAA Coastwatch). Here’s some departures from average temperature for August 1-15: Grand Rapids -1.9°, Lansing -2.9°, Muskegon -3.0°, Detroit, Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo -3.1°, Cadillac -3.7°, Ludington -5.1° (7 of 15 mornings in the 40s) and Manistee -5.4°.
Here’s low temps. from Friday AM: 46° G.R., Muskegon and Holland, 45° Lansing and Battle Creek, 43° Kalamazoo and Sturgis, 42° Hastings and Benton Harbor, 41° S. Haven, Belding and Hart, 40° Marshall, Ceresco and Hartford, 39° Pellston and Bellaire, 37° Cadillac and Lawrence, 36°, Kalkaska, Vanderbilt and Baldwin, 35° Kalamazoo Nature Center, 34° Leslie, Paulding, 33° Stonington, 30° Leota (Clare Co.) and 29° at Doe Lake in the U.P.