Bill’s Blog

Two Volcanoes Erupting

August 29th, 2014 at 2:02 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Volcano structure US Geological Survey   Click on the image to enlarge.  This graphic is from the U.S. Geological Survey and shows the structure of a volcano.  We have two additional volcanic eruptions.  Check out the Rabaul Caldera eruption on Mount Tavurvur in Papua New Guinea.  News reports say the smoke and ash plume from Rabaul has gone 11.2 miles above the ground!  Some airline flights have been diverted.  Volcanoes (especially in the tropics) can on rare occasion cool the Earth by blasting enough sulfur dioxide into the upper atmosphere.  That’s what the volcanic explosion of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines did in 1991-92.  Check out the Eruption Image Gallery at the Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre.  We also have a volcanic eruption in Iceland.  The Bardarbunga Volcano has a fissure over half a mile long.  A Code Red aviation travel warning with a no-fly zone was issued Friday by the U.K. Met Office.  Here’s a map of Iceland’s volcanoes.  You might remember the the eruption of Mt. Eyjafjallajökull in 2010.   Check out this pic. of that eruption!  The windy, rainy remains of Hurricane Cristobal are going to pass over Iceland.  Also, a magnitude 5.6 earthquake has struck just off the coast of Greece.  And…intense low pressure will form over Hudson BayTornado yesterday at Mayfield SD.  Here’s snow falling on Pike’s Peak in ColoradoSurf’s up in California!  Here’s the latest severe weather outlooks from SPC.    I’ll update in the morning…too tired to stay up for the European model.  The overnight NAM (caribou) still looks too low with rainfall totals.  The GFS-plot gives G.R. 1.07″ of rain between now and next Tues. AM and that sounds better.  Temperatures slightly warmer than average for the next week to 10 days (normal high is now 79° – down 4° from the peak in mid-July.

Updated Great Lakes Water Levels

August 28th, 2014 at 7:46 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Lake Michigan Sunset after Holland Sailboat Races Scott Hansen   Scott Hansen sent me this picture on my facebook page of sunset at the Holland Channel as the sailboats return from the Wednesday night race.   I was on vacation last week and my daughter (#2) and I circled Lake Michigan.   The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is 15″ higher than it was one year ago.  Each inch represents 390 billion gallons of water, so a 15″ rise is an increase of 5.85 trillion gallons of water.  Side note – Chicago diverts about 900 million gallons of water per day from Lake Michigan or about 328 billion gallons a year, equal to about 7/10ths inch of water from the lake.  Canada diverts some water into Lake Superior, which I am told more than balances the Chicago outflow.   Lake Michigan, Superior, Huron and Lake St. Clair are all at the same water level as one month ago.  Lake Superior is 6″ above the long-term average, Lake Michgan/Huron is 3″ below the century average and Lake St. Clair is 4″ above the long term average.  Lake Erie is down 1″ in the last month, but up 5″ year-to-year and 4″ above the century average.  Lake Ontario dropped 5″ in the last month.  Ontario is exactly  at the level of one year ago and 1″ higher than the century average.   The outflow from Lake Superior into Lake Huron remains well above average.   The Grand River at Grand Rapids (as I write this) is flowing at 2,480 cubic feet per second, compared to an average flow of 1,800 cfs.  The Muskegon River at Croton shows a flow of 1,370 cfs compared to an average of 1,240 cfs.  The Fox River at Appleton WI is at 7,789 cfs compared to an average flow of 2,570 cfs.  The Kalamazoo River at Comstock is at 683 cfs compared to an average of 608 cfs.

Also, the surf capital of Lake HuronHalf a million bucks to clean up a Lake Michigan parkLawyer swims across Lake St. Clair.   Lighthouse for saleSalmon numbers dipping in Lake Michigan.

Heavy Rain Iowa to the U.P.

August 28th, 2014 at 3:33 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

qpf   This is the 7-day rainfall forecast from the Hydrometeorological Center.  Note the heavy rain from Iowa to Northern Michigan.  There is also some heavier rain along the Gulf Coast…much of Texas sees some rain as does south Florida – while the west stays dry.  The overnight run of the European model gives G.R. 0.07″ Thurs. night, 0.12″ Friday, 0.11″ Saturday and 0.46″ Monday with a nice t-storm in the late afternoon/evening as a front comes thru.  The GFS-plot has 0.04 Thurs. night, 0.10″ Fri., 0.41″ Sat., and 0.22″ Monday.  The NAM (car.) has no rain for G.R. Thurs. night, 0.07″ late Fri. and 0.42″ Sat. PM and night.   I favor the heavier European rain totals for late Sat. into Sat. night.  If you’re looking for a dry day this weekend – pick Sunday – if you’re looking at the chance for severe weather – the best chance will be late Monday.  It’ll be interesting to see if SPC puts Lower Michigan in the Slight Risk Area for Monday PM/evening.  I would.  As that system pushes east, we should have a nice day next Tues.  Today will be a nice day…partly to mostly sunny with PM temps. in the mid 70s – enjoy the day and watch me on TV later today for my updated forecast – I’ll be updating the blog as well.


Low Number of Tornadoes in the U.S. This Year

August 27th, 2014 at 9:24 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Severe Michigan 2014 Tornado Trends Severe Reports July 6 2014 Click on the images (from the Storm Prediction Center) to enlarge. The first image is severe weather reports in Michigan so far this year (red = tornadoes, green = hail of 1″ or greater in diameter and blue indicates wind damage reports. The middle image is a graph comparing the number of tornadoes by year and the last image is the severe reports from July 6, when we had the tornado on the south side of Grand Rapids (see severe reports that day at the link).

The entire U.S. has recorded only 6 tornadoes through the first 27 days of August. The 3-year August average is 47. Through Aug. 27, we have had 862 tornadoes this year (this count has not been checked for duplicate reports of the same tornado). the average to date is 1,023. Both this year and last year have been significantly lower than average for the number of U.S. tornadoes. So far this year, we have had 44 tornado fatalities in the U.S., including 35 deaths in the last week of April. The most deaths occurred in Arkansas (16) and Mississippi (11). Twenty-Four of the deaths were in houses, 12 in mobile homes, 4 were in vehicles, 3 victims were outside and one in another permanent structure. In Michigan, we have had 334 severe weather reports, including 11 tornadoes – 70 reports of 1″ or greater diameter hail and 253 wind reports.

We will be getting storms Friday, Saturday and Monday – and we’ll be tracking the possibility of severe weather here on the blog.

ADD – Yankees seem to have gotten 9 consecutive hits to start the 3rd inning.  The record for consecutive hits in an inning was set by the Colorado Rockies with 11 consecutive hits against the Chicago Cubs (no surprise it was the Cubs) during a 12-run outburst in the 8th inning of a 17-2 victory at Coors Field in Colorado July 30, 2010.

Dry and Mild

August 27th, 2014 at 2:23 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

muskegon glerl east   muskegon glerl west Here’s two pictures from the Muskegon Glerl Cameras (from NOAA Coastwatch).  The first is looking east down the channel.  You can see the sky is about half covered in “fair weather” cumulus clouds.  Those clouds are a little less than a mile above the ground and show no significant vertical development.  Over land there is a variation of surface heating.  A dark “muck field” in Hudsonville or a parking lot will heat up more than a forest.  Warm air rises and the thermals lift surface air.  The air cools and reaches the saturation point and some of the invisible water vapor in the air condenses into droplets of water so tiny that the air can hold them up.   Sunlight is white light and the clouds have a variation of white to gray, depending on the light that reaches them.  Some light always comes through the clouds.  Otherwise it would be pitch black in daytime on a cloudy day.   The second picture on the right looks west.  Over Lake Michigan we have a uniform surface of water and the temperature is cooler.  So, there are no cumulus clouds, but you can see some scattered higher level cirrus clouds.  Sometimes the clouds will move in different directions because the wind is different at different levels of the atmosphere.  Dewpoints are 10° lower today, so it feels more comfortable.   The 1 pm temps. include 73° in G.R. with an east wind, 75° at the Holland Airport.  Both of these stations have an east wind.  At the Muskegon beach, it’s 70° with a northwest wind.  So, you can see we have a lake-breeze.  It doesn’t penetrate inland very far.  There is convergence where the east wind meets the west wind.  That’s where the surface wind will be come and air is rising.  On a day with more moisture, that’s the place where a shower or even a t-shower could develop.  However, the air is too dry for that to happen today.  With the warmer Lake Michigan water temperatures (around 70°) there is less contrast between inland areas and the shoreline, so there is less variation in temperature lakeshore to inland and the lake breeze is relatively week.  It would be stronger if the Lake Michigan water temperatures were in the low-mid 50s after an episode of upwelling.

It’s a beautiful day.  My wife and I just got back from our almost daily walk and I just took my blood pressure and pulse (119/76 and 58).  I’m sitting on our 3-season porch, where I can look out in 3 directions almost to the horizon to watch the sky.  Everything is green and growing with the timely rain we have had.  I have a cup of coffee and a couple of plums that came from the farmer across the street from me.  I can watch the birds at my two bird feeders (a couple of purple finches there now).   I already have a good start on the forecast (which I usually start at home – fewer distractions here and I like the view.  This is a wonderful time of year with a good harvest underway, not only in Michigan, but across most all of the U.S.  The drought continues in mainly California (they have had some rain in Arizona and the Pacific NW), but crops in California are irrigated.  At this time of year, you can see a wide variety of wildflowers – Queen Anne’s lace, chickory, wild  daisies.  So much of what I enjoy is free – sky, storms, wildflowers.

Model update:  The NAM (caribou) has 0.14″ of rain for G.R. Friday morning and another 0.44″ during the midday/afternoon on Saturday.   The GFS plot has 0.20″ in the midday/afternoon Friday and a similar 0.49″ during the midday/afternoon.   The GFS is then dry for Sunday (best bet for a dry day over the Labor Day Weekend) and then 0.29″ of rain Monday PM/evening.  The GFS is then dry for most of the middle of next week.   The NAM (caribou) gives G.R. a high of 74° tomorrow and then 86°-87° on Fri. as the warmer, more humid air pushes back in.  The GFS plot has 76° and 83° for Friday.  No sign of any really cool air through the first 10 days of Sept.   Also, no sign of any big hurricanes hitting the U.S. (Sept. 10 is the peak of the hurricane season).  Cristobal (a minimal hurricane) is splitting the difference between the U.S. and Bermuda.  Marie (which will be downgraded to a Tropical Storm) far off the coast of Baja, Mexico is also far from land and will weaken as it encounters cooler water.   The tornado count remains low for the 2nd year in a row and we continue to have an overall low number of wildfires and acres burned.


August 27th, 2014 at 3:22 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

shn glerl   This is a picture from the GLERL camera on the lighthouse at S. Haven (from NOAA Coastwatch).  The anemometer at the lighthouse here recorded a peak wind of 64 mph as the storm came thru and that was right about the time this picture was taken.  You can see the whitecaps and the rain moving in as you look north.  The chance of rain today isn’t zero, but it’s only about 10%.  Dewpoints will be significantly lower.  So, after a rather damp start with a heavy dew and a few patches of fog, it should be a nice day with partly sunny skies and more comfortable humidities.

Climate notes:  G.R. has had 7 consecutive days with high temperatures of 80-85.  We have had 3.41″ of rain this month, but just 6 days this month with measurable rain.  The last day below average was Aug. 17.  The average wind speed for August has been 7.0 mph and we’ve had 63% of possible sunshine.  Temperature departure from average for August 1-26:  Grand Rapids -0.1, Muskeogn -0.5,  Ludington -2.6, Manistee -3.5, Holland -0.7, Kalamazoo -0.1, Lansing -1.1, Jackson -0.2, Ann Arbor -0.2, Cadillac -1.4, Detroit -0.9, Benton Harbor -2.1, Houghton Lake -0.3, Howell -0.7, Alpena -1.4, Gaylord -1.4, Jadkson -0.2, Mt. Clemens -0.5, Pellston -0.2, Pontiac -0.0, Port Hope -2.6, Flint +1.8.   Today we have 13 hours and 24 minutes of daylight…that’s down from 15 hours and 21 minutes at the Solstice.

It’s been a cool summer in Barrow, Alaska.  Barrow was 2 deg. cooler that average in June with a highest maximum temperature of just 47.  July was 2.8 cooler than average with a summer maximum of 57 on the 22nd.  August is running 1.7 deg. cooler than average.  They had 13 days with at least a trace of snow in June, 8 days with a trace or more of snow in July and 3 days in August.  Farther inland, Fairbanks has been warmer and wetter.  They’ve had 4 days that have reached 80 this summer, with a summer maximum of 87 on 7.6.  Fairbanks has had 11.53″ of rain this month, compared to the average rainfall for the period of 5.71″.    Phoenix, Arizona has had just four days this month with high temperatures above average.    The temperature reached 100° in St. Louis on Monday.  Hurricane Marie has spun some swell swells into California with Long beach reporting waves up to 10 feet.

The overnight run of the European model gives G.R. dry weather until late Thursday night.  It prints out 0.19″ for Friday, 0.55″ Saturday PM, 0.39″ Saturday night – we get a little break – then the model gives us another 0.50″ late Monday into Monday night.  The GFSX model has these percentage predictions for measurable rain:  10% Thurs., 65%, Fri., 80%, 74% Sat., 65% Sun., 61% Mon., 56% Tues.   Still no 90° for G.R. on the European run.    Have a great day!

Flooding/Damage in Detroit

August 26th, 2014 at 9:22 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

flood detroit wdiv    The same storms that went thru West Michigan have left flooded roads and 150,000 DTE customers without power.    I-94 was closed due to flooding.  Here’s damage reports and rainfall totals from SE Michigan.  The Lansing Airport added 0.56″ of rain thru 4:50 pm – that brings the total for LAN since June 1 to 15.75″ (average for the period is 8.99″).

Rain Ends – Dry Through Thurs. Afternoon

August 26th, 2014 at 11:27 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

   6:14 pm  -  The strongest storms are now moving out of the Detroit area.  The Tigers game will go on.  The clearing line is moving across West Michigan. We’ll have a dry evening in W. Michigan and it’ll become partly cloudy everywhere.   There will be a chance of an isolated patch of fog overnight.  Leave a comment if you had strong winds, hail or if you have a rain report.   peak gust 64.9 mph at the S. Haven beach.  Estimated gust to 60 mph at Okemos.   Gust to 47 mph at the S. Haven buoy, 43 mph Ford Airport in G.R. and 40 mph at the Kalamazoo Arpt. and at the Ionia Airport.  Small hail and 1.7″ of rain in 20 minutes at Webberville.  Rainfall:   1.36″ Lake Macatawa, 1.1″ Jenison, 0.90″ Byron Center.  Near Holland:  “Holland Christian Middle School was reportedly struck by lightning.  A very small fire was extinguished and students were sent to the high school.   The Kalamazoo Airport  picked up 1/2″ of rain this AM and Benton Harbor had 0.16″.  Strong t-storms moved thru N. Illinois and far S. Wisconsin.  There were a few reports of 50-62 mph winds and hail in N. Illinois.   Morning t-storms have produced measured winds as high as 62 mph northwest of Chicago and some isolated wind damage in the Rockford IL area.   Lake Michigan wasn’t a factor here, with the upper level features ruling and the lake being relatively warm now.

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.


August 26th, 2014 at 1:46 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Colorado storm   Colorado storm with rain/hail shaft (from Melissa Ritter and KOAA).  Check out this picture of hail in Colorado Springs,  Colorado.   It knocked a lot of the leaves off the trees.  Here’s hail covering the gr0und near Lake Tahoe, NV.   We received a couple emails about a small swatch of wind damage in Hudsonville with yesterday’s storms.   At midnight it was 86° in Hutchinson, KS and 68° in Great Bend, KS, an 18-degree difference in a span of 59 miles.  The Napa California e-quake resulted in 208 injuries.  90 water mains were ruptured.  33 buildings have been red-tagged.  Almost all of the 70,000 customers that lost power are back on line.   Napa, California reports that only about 6% of the public has e-quake insurance.   Hurricane Cristobal is a minimal hurricane north of the Bahamas moving north.  It’ll do nothing more than kick up the surf along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and in Bermuda.  Hurricane Marie, well off the Mexican West Coast is no threat to land, but will kick up the surf a bit along the coast of the Baja Peninsula, California and Hawaii.   Roads  closed due to flooding near Salome, AZ.  Magnitude-5.7 earthquake strikes 72 miles SSE of Akureyri, Iceland, where a volcanic eruption is possible.    Indianapolis, IN hit 90 F for the first time this year on Monday.   Finally, a pretty sunset shot of lightning and a rainbow.

Dry Evening

August 25th, 2014 at 2:29 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

WW0476 Radar  Early Tues. AM -  First 90° temperature of the summer for Kalamazoo and Battle Creek on Monday.  It also made 90° in Coldwater, Three Rivers and Sturgis.  The storms did produce some tree damage in Prairieville Township (SW corner of Barry Co.) and 60 mph winds near Gull Lake.  Small hail was reported in several locations.  Wind damage has occurred in a dozen locations in NE Illinois and N Indiana.  My daughter (#1) texted that branches were down in Chicago where she was.  There was a report of 2″ hail west of Indianapolis.  In this humid air, we still have a chance that an isolated shower or storm could spring to life until a weak cool front passes Tuesday morning.  Most of us will be dry Tues. PM into Thursday with a chance of storms as we start the Labor Day Weekend.  No sign of any really cool air.  We’ll be mainly upper 70s to low 80s much of the rest of the week int he afternoon.  I got a quick peak at some long range maps and I don’t see anything really cool in the first half of September.

At 7:04 pm – 2,274 Consumers customers without power, 920 of them in Clare Co.  Also, 478 in Barry Co., 407 in Kalamazoo Co., 149 in Osceola Co. and 102 in Allegan Co..  Most outages near G.R. are lightning-related.   Read the thread below more and some interesting links.