Bill’s Blog

Cool Rules

July 28th, 2014 at 10:42 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

shn glerl  610temp.newNAEFS Picture Monday from the South Haven GLERL camera (from NOAA Coastwatch) showing the waves breaking over the pier (breakwater).  Get this…the afternoon HIGH temperature at the Muskegon Lighthouse Monday was 53.2°.  The wind there at 3 pm was NNW at 23 mph.  The South Haven beach reported an afternoon high temp. of 57.4°.  Grand Rapids had a high temp. Monday afternoon of 71° – warmest spot around.  I got to only 68° at my house, Kalamazoo reached 69°.   Holland’s Regional Airport (which seems to read cooler with a NW wind and warmer with a SW wind) had a high of only 65°.   Grand Rapids is -3.8°  for the month, Holland -4.3°, Muskegon -4.4°, Ludington -6.5° and Manistee -7.0°.  The average temperature for the month in Manistee thru 7/28 is 62.4° and they have had 12 mornings with temps. in the 40s.  The waves at the mid-Lake Michigan buoy peaked at 8.3 feet Monday morning.  Steady winds were as high as 26.8 mph at the buoy.   Cold air coming over relatively (important word) warm water makes bigger waves than warm air going over cold water.  We’ll see a lot of days this week with afternoon temperatures in the 70s.   In the middle is the 6-10 day temperature forecast from the Climate Prediction Center for August 3-7  and it looks cool.  Same for the NAEFS model on the right for August 5-11.  Click on the pictures to enlarge.

I’m doing a rather different schedule.  I am off this week Monday and Tuesday…I worked last Sat. and Sun.  This Saturday I’ll be at the Coast Guard Festival all day Saturday (note – park on the east side of US 31 and leave east out Mercury Dr. – quickest way to get out of town after the fireworks).  Then I’ll work Sunday.  Kyle is then off for 2 weeks (getting married!), so you’ll see a lot of Terri, Matt and I.  Our new meteorologist, Ellen Bacca will arrive in town Sept. 15th, right before Art Prize.    I also want to thank my wonderful wife for a fantastic dinner tonight, including tomatoes, zucchini and squash from our garden – salmon, corn-on-the-cob (from Meijer – excellent), potatoes and homemade non-fat biscuits with honey.  I got the front lawn cut and started on the back, but a wheel on the mower broke and fell off.  I’ll take it to Hofacker’s in the morning – it’s 20+ years old, maybe time for a new one – but this one (Airens) has pretty much always started on the first pull – I’ve had my money’s worth.  We may head to Holland for the American Legion Band Concert Tues. evening in Kollen Park – I’ll make a point of waving at the Boatwerks skycam.  I’ve got a gift certificate to a Holland restaurant that we might use tomorrow

Also:  RUN, RICK RUN!   Calving glaciers can be dangerous.   Magnitude-4.0 earthquake strikes near Medford, Oklahoma.  Storm topples Mexico/U.S. border fence in Arizona.  Tornado spotted at  DSGpark in Commerce City, Colo.   Tornado seen from Denver.   Waco, TX, recorded 100 F for the first time this summer Monday PM – late in the summer for the first 100 there.   Cool pic. of 3,000 acre fire near Yosemite in CA.  Lightning in Las Vegas.

Smoky Sky

July 28th, 2014 at 9:10 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

sunset smoke bill steffen july 28 2014    sunset smoke With a fresh, clean airmass coming down from Canada, you’d expect a bright blue sky. Instead, we have a hazy sky that looks more like we’d be in a stagnant tropical air mass with little wind. There is a layer of smoke that produced our orange sunset this evening. I took the picture on the left with my phone. The pic. on the right is from NOAA. Click on the images to enlarge. Here’s more:

July 28, 2014
SMOKE:   Canada/Northern U.S:
“Wildfires continue to rage over the Northwest Territories in Canada, mainly around Great Slave Lake, and produce a large amount of smoke. The smoke is moving to the north and northeast of the fires into the high Canadian Arctic, where it is is beyond the range of GOES satellite detection. The smoke area then curls clockwise around a high pressure system and moves southward into the western Great Lakes. The smoke covers most of eastern Northwest Territories, Nunavut, northern Alberta, northern Saskatchewan, much of Manitoba and Ontario and the western half of Hudson Bay. The smoke also covers northern Minnesota, and much of Wisconsin and Michigan. Most of this area was moderate to dense, with light smoke mainly confined to the edges.”

Dangerous Pier Currents

July 27th, 2014 at 9:56 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

advisory   The National Weather Service has issued a Beach Hazards Advisory from 6 am through the evening Monday.  Brisk north to northwest winds will create dangerous currents along the north side of piers and breakwaters.   Temperatures will only be in the 60s at the lake beaches, so few people will venture into the deeper water, but anyone planning to do that should stay away from swimming near or jumping off the north side of the breakwaters.  This is especially a concern at State Parks and beaches where the swimming area is on the north side of the breakwater (Holland State Park, Pentwater).  When there is a strong south or southwest wind, it’s the south side of the piers and breakwaters that can get these dangerous currents, like Grand Haven State Park.   The northwest wind pushes surface water against the breakwater and produces a current that flows out toward the middle of the lake.   Here’s a look at the latest Lake Michigan beach water temperatures, the Recreational Beach Forecast for the Lake Michigan Beaches and the latest Great Lakes water levels.   You can check conditions at the South Lake Michigan buoy (40 miles west of Holland) and the North Lake Michigan buoy…and…check out the water temperature at the mid-Lake Superior buoy!

Severe Weather is Over

July 27th, 2014 at 1:59 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

WW0446 Radar Hail 2 inch 7 27 14 Cooper Township by Renee Lyon   Hail pic. sent to WOOD-TV by Renee Lyon.  This was Cooper Township – Kalamazoo County.   Golfball-sized hail near Plainwell and on D Ave. in Kalamazoo.  Gust to 45-60 mph near Battle Creek along with pea-sized hail, 40 mph in Oshtemo.  Hail on Helmer Rd./Kalamazoo Co.   1″ hail near Big Rapids and Zeeland, pea-sized hail in Port Sheldon.   Golfball-sized hail in Stevensville (Berrien Co.), 1 1/4″ hail at S. Bend IN,  3/4″ hail in DeWitt, Albion,  Williamson and Lake George, 1/4″ hail in Waverly (Eaton Co.), north of Holland, Bath, Portland, Rives Jct.,  and Paris (Mecosta Co.)    Here’s GRR radar.

At 1 pm,  the wind was gusting to 45 mph from the east at Gaylord, with the wind pushing out of the back of a storm. Near Gaylord a tree fell on a car and a couple people were briefly trapped inside the car. There have been many hail reports from the Traverse City area to the east and northeast. 1″ diameter hail fell at Grayling and Mio. Gaylord had over an inch of rain in 75 minutes.  Here’s a list of severe weather reports from West MichiganNorthern Lower Michigan, E. Michigan, and N. Indiana (inc. Michigan counties that border Indiana).      Check out the links in the 2 threads below this one.

Sunday PM

July 26th, 2014 at 3:58 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

muskegon glerl  Radar here will update automatically.  10 AM – As I write this, just a few scattered light showers.  Most of the fog has evaporated…there is still some fog at and over Lake Michigan.  We should see showers and scattered t-storms developing.  Any of the storms could contain gusty winds and hail.  The Storm Prediction Center has expanded the Sight Risk Area to cover much of Lower Michigan (see thread below).  The threat for any severe storms would be greater as you travel southeast toward and into Ohio.  The most likely time for severe weather, if it develops, would be between 1 pm and 6 pm.  Monday and Tuesday look basically dry and cool with daytime temps. about 10 degrees cooler than average.  Then there may be a few scattered showers Weds. and Thurs., but they would be widely scattered.   Here’s simulated radar, and regional radar.  Check out the links below:

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.

Also:  20.25″ of rain from June 1-July 25 in Sioux City, IA, is most for this period of time, exceeding 13.24″ in 1972 by a lot…Flash flooding reported in downtown Kingman, AZ…Stanley, ID, broke its July 25 low temp record with 25 F…duststorm moving into Phoenixduststorms in Arizona are often caused by strong winds that push out of t-storms.   Here’s the t-storm that produced the strong wind in Phoenix.  There are 10,000 customers without power in Arizona from the strong winds.  Near zero visibility was reported along Interstate 8.   Double rainbow in Denver.   Flash flooding in Zion N.P in Utah causes new waterfall to appear.  Downtown San Francisco hits 85ºF Friday, breaking the previous record of 82º

Severe Weather Outlooks – Moderate Risk

July 25th, 2014 at 1:30 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

1630 UTC Day 1 Outlook 1630 UTC Day 2 Outlook 1630 UTC Day 3 Outlook   10 am Sunday – The Storm Prediction Center has expanded the Slight Risk Area, which now covers much of Lower Michigan, essentially south of a line from Muskegon to Houghton Lake to north of Oscoda.   These are the severe weather outlooks for today, tomorrow and Tuesday.  There is a Moderate Risk this PM for parts of E. KY and WV.  The Saturday Slight Risk Area comes up almost to the Michigan border, but the real action today will be across Central Illinois and Indiana.  Hail will be the main threat with the bigger storms initially, as well as gusty winds.  For Lower Michigan SPC says:  “.NRN INDIANA/SE LOWER MI/NRN OH TODAY INTO PA TONIGHT… BROKEN BANDS OF THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED TO FORM BY ABOUT MIDDAY NEAR THE SURFACE LOW AND ALONG THE COLD FRONT…FROM ROUGHLY CHICAGO TO NW LOWER MI. THESE STORMS WILL SUBSEQUENTLY MOVE ESEWD THROUGH THE AFTERNOON WITH AN ATTENDANT RISK FOR LARGE HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS…GIVEN SUFFICIENT DEEP-LAYER SHEAR AND BUOYANCY. LINES/ CLUSTERS OF STORMS WILL CONTINUE EWD/ESEWD ACROSS PA LATER THIS EVENING INTO TONIGHT…WITH A CONTINUING RISK FOR DAMAGING WINDS..”   There is no mention here of tornadoes for our area, though they are certainly possible farther SE into Ohio, Kentucky and W. Virginia.  I’m off to church…I’ll be into the Tracking Center early this afternoon (or earlier if need be), but I probably won’t update the blog until early-mid afternoon.  Check out the links here and in the thread above.   The GFS has a lot of days with highs in the 70s and low 80s, but no 90° through Aug. 11.  The European’s warmest out to 10-days is low-mid 80s on Aug. 4th.   So, we’ll start August with slightly below average temperatures.

Here’s SPC watches, mesoscale discussions and storm reports.  Here’s regional radar, so you can watch the storms develop and move east.

Another chilly AM in Michigan early Friday.  The low temperature of 53° in G.R. was 10 degreees cooler than the average of 63°.   Other lows:  52° Muskegon, 51° Kalamazoo Airport, 50° Holland, 49° Marshall, S. Haven, Sparta, Watervliet, 48° Belding, Fennville, Hastings, 47° Reed City, Big Rapids, 46° Benton Harbor, Hopkins, 45° Baldwin, 44° Cadillac, Kalamazoo Nature Center, 43° Lake City, 42° Houghton Lake, Pellston, 40° Grayling, Vanderbilt, 39° Leota (Clare Co.), 38° Roscommon.   Much of the country woke up to cooler than average temperatures.  The lowest was 27° in Stanley, Idaho.

Antarctic sea ice extent sets another daily record maximum…we’ve never seen this much ice extent in Antarctica on any July 25.   Arctic sea ice extent highest in 10 years for the date.  NOAA: 28,504 Low Max Records Set in U.S. in Last 365 Days.  Phoenix, AZ officially hit 116ºF Thursday, marking the hottest day of 2014 and breaking the daily record of 114º.   KA-BOOM!!  Lightning from a plane coming into Denver.

Great Lakes Water Levels and News

July 25th, 2014 at 12:48 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Lake Superior sunset Jack Martin 7 18 14    Picture from Jack Martin of a Lake Superior sunset near Munising on 7/18.   Lake Michigan/Huron (one lake for lake level purposes – connected at the Mackinac Bridge) is 2″ higher than it was one month ago and an incredible 15″ higher than it was one year ago.  Each extra inch of water on Lake Michigan represents an additional 390 billion gallons, so 15″ would be an increase of 5.85 TRILLION gallons!  Lake Michigan/Huron is now just 4″ below the long-term average.   It’s now 27″ above the lowest July level of 1964 and 36″ below the highest July lake level in 1986.  Lake Superior is up 2″ in the last month and up 11″ year-to-year.   Superior is now 7″ above the long-term average and only 6″ below the highest ever July lake-level of 1950.  Lake Erie is down 1″ in the last month, unchanged in the last year and 4″ higher than the century average.   Lake Ontario is down 3″ in the last year, but 2″ higher than the long-term average.   Lake St. Clair is up 1″ in the last month, up 7″ in the last year and 4″ above the century average.   The outflow from Lake Superior down the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is expected to be above average through the rest of the summer.   The Grand River in Grand Rapids is running (as I write this) at about double average flow (3400 cfs vs 1620 cfs average).  The Muskegon River at Croton is at 1150 cfs compared to an average of 1210 cfs.   The Kalamazoo River at New Richmond is at 1630 cfs compared to an average of 1729 cfs.

News:  Fastest 12-month lake level rise on Lake Superior since 1916Sewage overflows in Chicago not the fault of “global warming“.  Update on Enbridge replacing pipeline.   More support anchors for Great Lakes oil pipelines.

Multiple Fatalities in VA tornado

July 24th, 2014 at 11:42 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

cherryhill  At least 2 fatalities and 36 injuries in a morning tornado in eastern Virginia.  Campers were overturned at the Cherrystone Campground and huge trees were toppled (some on the campers).  The storm hit around 8:40 am.   At least one semi was tipped over on a nearby road.  The driver was injured.  Large hail was also reported with the storm.  Picture from WAVY-TV.  More pictures here.   VIDEO of Softball sized hail and the tornado here.    Virginia Beach EMS says the City of Virginia Beach has responded to the Eastern Shore with six ambulances, a mass casualty truck.   The National Weather Service tweeted that it has a storm survey team headed to the Cherrystone Campground area to survey the damage.  1,328 people were listed as residents or visitors at Cherrystone Campground, according to a news release from Northampton County. 150 to 175 people lost their shelter, and were being transported from the campground to a local emergency shelter.  WAVY News reported from Lankford Highway in Northampton County that there was a stream of ambulances coming in and out of the campground area. The road is currently open *just* for emergency personnel.  Hail was still on the ground two hours after the storm and a couple billboard signs bent back from the wind.   The Coast Guard confirmed there are overturned boats in Oyster Bay.     Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital said the hospital has received 26 patients following the storm: 3 critical, 8 trauma, 8 pediatric.  More pictures here.   200 to 300 people have been taken to Northampton High School, where a temporary shelter has been set up.   The courthouse in Eastville closed down for the day so that workers could go to the scene to help.   The Northampton County Board of Supervisors issued a declaration of a local emergency following a reported tornado.  According to the declaration, the county is facing a condition of extreme peril, necessitating the proclamation.   Helicopter video.

Update:  The tornado has been rated EF1 and started as a waterspout on Chesapeake Bay.   From the National Weather Service Survey Team:   0833 AM TORNADO CHERRYSTONE 37.31N 76.00W 07/24/2014 NORTHAMPTON VA NWS STORM SURVEY *** 2 FATAL, 36 INJ *** EF-1 TORNADO MOVED OFF THE CHESAPEAKE BAY…THEN CROSSED NORTHERN PORTIONS OF CHERRYSTONE CAMPGROUND…THEN MOVED EASTWARD ACROSS RT. 13.

Another Unseasonably Cool Morning

July 24th, 2014 at 10:34 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

muskegon glerl    This is the 10° am view from the Muskegon beach camera (from GLERL/NOAA Coastwatch).  Note that there is nobody there.   The 10 pm temperature at the Muskegon beach weather station was 54°.   That’s great for a walk on the beach in a windbreaker, but not for the usual mid-summer beach activities.   Attendance at State Park beaches is significantly lower than last year or the hot year before in 2012 – at many places, the lowest since 2009.   Low temperatures this morning:  55° in Grand Rapids – but if you go north, it was mighty chilly:  43° Pellston, 42° Gaylord and Ludington, 40° Kalkaska, Baldwin and Newberry, 39° Indian River, 38° Leota (Clare Co.), 37° Roscommon, 33° Doe Lake and Spincich Lake – both in the U.P.   The overnight run of the European model has the temperature up to 86° on Sunday, the warmest of the next 10 days, but it gives G.R. highs of only 70° on Monday and 71° on Tuesday.  The average high for this time of year is 83°.

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.