Cold weather and early deep snow cover have contributed to a “phenomenal” (but there are other factors) early December migration of snowy owls into the Great Lakes and Northeast. The picture is from Pennsylvania this past week. Here’s a map of snowy owl sightings. Sightings have been reported in Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and in fact all the way down to N. Carolina and Bermuda. Needless to say, Harry Potter is excited! Picture from www.nbcphiladelphia.
Click on the images to enlarge. The image on the left is snowcover across the U.S. and southern Canada this morning. According to the National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center the U.S. had a 55.5% snow cover this morning. The 2nd image to the right is what the snow cover was last year on this date (12/7/12). Only 10% of the U.S. had a snow cover. The average U.S. temperature at 9 am this morning was 14.5 degrees, the fifth coldest hour since the year 2000. Note the range of temperatures from 79.9 to -43.5. Lake Michigan made a big difference last night, warming the air coming across the lake. Low temperature contrast this morning: Green Bay 0, Frankfort 17 – Milwaukee 4 (at Mitchell Field – 2 at Timmerman) and 19 in Grand Rapids – 9 in Chicago and 21 at South Bend. It was -11 at Wakefield and Champion in the U.P., -16 in Rhinelander WI, -39 at Jordan and Havre MT, -35 at Miles City MT (broke their record low by 12 degrees) -13 in Denver (3rd straight morning with lows below -12), 20 in Seattle, 15 in Eugene OR, 33 Tucson AZ, -5 at Dodge City KS, -24 Valentine NE. 5.4″ of snow fell just northwest of Redding CA. Here’s the record temperature map…warm in Florida and Alaska, cold in-between. I’m watching the SMU Football game on ESPN…there’s NOBODY THERE (est. 500, probably many of those family of the players)! – They announced that tickets were free! SMU cancelled their basketball game. College basketball games were also cancelled in Fort Worth, Memphis and Tulsa. The is the coldest temperature (24) that the Univ. of Central Florida has ever played in! There were 270,000 without power in the Dallas area after a major snow and ice storm. It won’t get out of the 20s in Dallas today. The Dallas Marathon was cancelled.
We have flurries mainly in the lakeshore counties. We’ve had 1-2″ of snowfall from Oceana Co. down into Allegan Co. and there have been some slide-offs and mostly minor accidents. It’s light enough so that not all the flurries aren’t all showing up on the radar image here. There could be another inch or two overnight into tomorrow AM in the lakeshore counties and maybe a dusting in the next set of counties inland. Lake-effect snow was cranked up farther north, where a foot of snow fell in parts of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Check out the webcam at Krupp’s Resort, where they are pushing toward 2 feet of snow on the ground. A Lake-Effect Snow Warning is in effect for Houghton County until 1 am Sunday where another foot of snow will fall…plus drifting. Lake-Effect Snow Advisories cover the northwestern U.P. and areas east of Marquette. Check out the cold temps. on the U.S. Low Temperature map. This was as of 7 am EST, so many of these weather stations (esp. in the West) would have dropped another couple of degrees before sunrise. The coldest on the map is -33 at Jordan MT. There were a couple below zero readings all the way down to N. Arizona and N. New Mexico. The band of snow and freezing rain from N. Texas to New York has cut power to hundreds of thousands of customers and hampered travel. 130,000 without power in 8″ of snow fell in Fairfield IL and 6″ at Bloomington IN. Heavy freezing rain downed major power lines in W. Arkansas (picture from KARK is near Batesville (and I won’t print the obvious line). The average temperature in the U.S. at 9 am EST was just 18.0! The coldest average temperaure for the U.S. all last winter was 18.9 at 8 am EST on 1/14/2013. GRR at 23 was actually above the average! Here’s record temperatures in N. American over the past 24 hours. There’s a definite chance of at least flurries in Fresno CA. The last snowflake they saw was on 12/15/08 and the last measurable snow was 12/20/1998. It’s pretty easy to tell where the cold front is on the temperature anomaly map. Here’s the morning run of the NAM forecast snow amounts…we’re between the snow areas…note the heavy snow north of S. Ste Marie. WOW, look at the wind gusts recorded (in mph) from the gigantic low pressure system in N. Europe. Look at the homes destroyed by the storm surge. Storm surge flooding in Hamburg, Germany. This is Bremerhaven, Germany – where the tide level peaked at 10.5 FEET above usual sea level.
Here’s a live look at the Houghton Bridge. Duluth MN reports 23.3″ of snow in the first 5 days of Dec. and 17″ on the ground. In the U.P., Atlantic Mine has 20″ of snow on the ground, with 16″ at Painesdale, 13″ at the Bergland Dam, 9″ in Grand Marais and 6″ in Newberry. Keep checking back to this thread for these links: Grand Rapids radar, Northern Indiana radar, Chicago radar, Detroit radar and Milwaukee radar. Here’s 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 Rainfall (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 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, the North Mid-Lake Michigan Buoy, the buoy at Big Sable Point near Ludington, the weather station at Manistee Harbor and the weather station on the beach at St. Joseph. Here’s Michigan wind gusts from MesoWest, data from the MAWN agriculutural weather stations and Weather Underground (data at the bottom from private weather stations.
We’ll have to watch for ice jams on Michigan rivers as the cold air settles in next week. Here’s some river water temps. Also, many inland lakes will be icing up in the next 10 days. Beware of early thin ice.
Here’s a picture taken earlier today from the Muskegon GLERL camera. It was mostly cloudy with breaks int he clouds. A light offshore wind meant the lake was pretty calm. You can see the snow sitting on the breakwaters. The big story continues to be the almost unprecedented jump in Great Lakes water levels over the past year. Lake Michigan/Huron (one big lake for lake level purposes) is now 15″ higher than it was one year ago today. Since each inch of water on Lake Michigan represents 390 billion gallons of water, that means we’ve added 5.85 trillion gallons of water to Lake Michigan in just the past 12 months. The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is up 2″ in the past month, but remains 14″ below the historical average. It’s 14″ above the lowest November level ever, reached in 1964. Lake Superior is down 1″ in the last month, but has climbed 12″ in the last year. Superior is 3″ below the century average. Lake Erie is down 3″ in the last month, but up 6″ year-to-year. Erie is 2″ below the long-term average. Lake Ontario is down 1″ in the last month, but up 13″ in the last year. Ontario is 2″ above the century average. The flow of water down the St. Mary’s River from Lake Superior to Lake Huron and the volume of water going down the Niagara River from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario is expected to remain near average. Precipitation for G.R. for 2013 is 7.11″ above average. The flow on the Grand River in Grand Rapids as I write this is at 114% of average flow.
The mid-Lake Michigan buoy is still out there 40 miles west of Holland. As I write this, it shows a water temperature of 43.6 degrees. They’ll retrieve the buoy for the winter any day now, but I (and I’m sure all the meteorologists) are very appreciative that they’ve been able to leave the buoy out there for the fall storms and early lake-effect snow events. Also: An update on the train tunnel scheduled to be built under the Detroit River…Family sells Lake Michigan Island…and…Have we found the oldest shipwreck in Lake Michigan?
We’re seeing an uptick in volcanic activity of late. This is a new island that has formed SSE of Japan. The new island is roughly 600 miles south of Tokyo and was discovered last week. Now check out this picture of the Sinabung Volcano in Indonesia. A total of 18,000 people have been evacuated, as the Indonesian government raised the situation to the highest level of alert. Lava cascaded down a mile from the center of the volcano and ash was blown nearly 23,000 feet into the air. Gray ash covered villages, farms and trees as far as 40 miles north of Mount Sinabung’s crater. An eruption of Sinabung in 2010 killed two people and caught scientists off guard because the volcano had been quiet for four centuries. Sinabung is one of nearly 130 active volcanoes in the world’s fourth-most populated country, which straddles the “Pacific Ring of Fire“. Mt. Etna is also erupting in Italy. Here’s video from last Saturday. Watch the video ’til the end…they’re in a hailstorm of rocks blown out of the volcano! Pictures here. Night video of an eruption and pic. with the full moon here. Related – we’re due for a major earthquake somewhere. Here’s a current list of the world’s erupting volcanoes.
I came to a pork in the road and wow, I never sausage a slide-off. Let me be frank, you can’t drive like a hot-dog in this kind of weather. Driving like a weiner, trying to catchup, won’t cut the mustard on icy roads. If you relish your vehicle, slow down and take it easy. Actually, this pic. is making the rounds on the internet. It’s from Feb. 2008 in Pennsylvania (I saw it on the KING5 website in Seattle). Ten other cars slid off the road here at the same time and the Weinermobile-driver did a good job avoiding them. There was no damage to the vehicle. Oscar Meyer (part of Kraft Foods) has 6 Weinermobiles.
On Nov. 25, 1950 Michigan and Ohio State met for what has been called the “Blizzard Bowl” or the “Snow Bowl“. Check out the film of the storm here and here. Michigan won the game 9-3 despite gaining only 27 yards of offense in 46 plays. They had no first downs, didn’t complete a pass and punted 24 times. In fact, there were 45 punts in the game. Both teams mostly tried two runs then punted on 3rd down, so in case the punter slipped, they could try again on fourth down. Only 2 of the 45 punts were returned (for a total of 8 yards). That was mostly because the return man couldn’t find the ball. Most just hit the snow and stopped without bouncing. There were only 10 fumbles in the game. The temperature at the start of the game was +10° and the wind was howling out of the north-northeast. One Ohio St. player remarked that he was supposed to go down and block a linebacker, but when he ran downfield he could find him! All the points were scored after blocked kicks in the first half. Several hundred Boy Scouts were on the sidelines helping to sweep snow off the field so the officials and players could find the yard markers. Most of the state of Ohio got 10″ or more of snow, with reports up to 33″ and drifts up to 25 feet! The temperature in Grand Rapids that morning reached -10°F, the coldest temperature ever recorded here in the month of November. (photo – OSU library)
The first graphic is one Cort linked to and shows the Storm Prediction Center Severe Weather Outlook for this Sunday with the severe weather reports (tornadoes, severe wind and severe hail). Overall, they did an excellent job of pinpointing the areas that got hit with severe weather on Nov. 17. The middle picture is trees blown down in Newaygo Co. (courtesy of Newaygo ES) and the third is the tornado path from E. Muskegon Co. into Newaygo Co. (and it may have briefly bounced to the ground along in SE Mecosta and Isabella County. So far, I count 64 confirmed tornadoes, including 4 in Michigan, 26 in Indiana, 7 in Central Illinois, 6 in Northeast Illinois, 5 in the St. Louis warning area, 3 in the Cleveland NWS warning area, 1 in the Louisville KY warning area and 12 in the Paducah KY NWS warning area. There were 2 EF4 tornadoes at New Minden IL and at Washington IL (east of Peoria). The Washington Tornado was a high end EF4 with peak winds of 190 mph! I can’t find a stronger November tornado anywhere in world history. There was an F5 tornado on Dec. 18, 1957 in Sunfield, Illinois and that’s the latest calendar year F5/EF5. The Washington Tornado was on the ground continuously for 46.2 miles, passing through parts of 4 counties and was 1/2 mile wide. The wedge tornado killed only one person (remarkable when you look at the damage) and there were approx 125 injuries. There were seven tornadoes rated EF3. The National Weather Service issued 101 tornado warnings on Sunday. This was just the 2nd time this year that the Storm Prediction Center has issued a High Risk Area. Here’s a historic list of EF5/F5 tornadoes.
In Michigan, 390,000 customers lost power, the most of any state. The Midwest total was over 800,000 customers. There were two fatalities in Michigan. One person was hit by a falling tree in Jackson Co. and another came in contact with a live wire in Shiawassee County. Six fatalities occurred in Illinois. Here’s a write up on the tornadoes in Muskegon/Newaygo County, Otsego County, Cass County (the strongest at EF1), and Ingham County. Tornado warnings were issued for the tornadoes in Muskegon/Newaygo (2:51 pm) and in Cassapolis. Previously, we had just 6 tornadoes in Michigan during the month of November from 1950 – 2013.
Monday, November 18, 2013, 8:00PM: Retail prices have been dropping like a rock, but wholesale prices have not, setting a price hike this week. With prices as low as $3.03 in Rockford, we are looking at a hike coming on Tuesday or Wednesday, maybe back to $3.35. Cross our fingers, though, that a hike this week will lead to no hike during Thanksgiving week. In Gas Game alumni news, former GG writer Patrick DeHaan was interviewed recently by CBS Chicago, providing a nice explanation of cyclical pricing in the Great Lakes region. –Ed Aboufadel
Here’s some pictures of tornado damage and hail from about 10 miles east of Peoria, Illinois. Click on the pictures to enlarge. Video of that tornado. Photos here. Walk thru the debris. The storms have caused at least five fatalities and over 70 injuries (some critical). Towns hardest hit were New Minden, east of St. Louis, where the NWS has confirmed an EF4 tornado with winds of 166-200 mph. There were two fatalities in New Minden. One of the victims was blown 100 yards out of his house…and Brookport along the Ohio River, where there are 3 fatalities. The tornado in Washington IL has not been rated, but could be as high as EF4. There was one fatality with that tornado. A tornado in Coal City was rated EF2. I-55 was “a mess” in Will County, covered with debris and downed wires. The city of Chicago responed to 170 calls of downed branches and wires in roads and 40 flooded viaducts. So far, there have been 81 reports of tornadoes and over 610 total reports of tornadoes, severe t-storm winds and large hail. Here’s the Consumers Energy Outage Map, so you can see who has power and who doesn’t. Here’s Storm Reports from SW Michigan, N. Michigan, E. Michigan, N. Indiana, Central Indiana, NE Illinois, Central Illinois and Southern Illinois. (pics. from WEEK-TV)