4.2 Earthquake!

May 2nd, 2015 at 12:30 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

equake shake map – MOST SIGNIFICANT EARTHQUAKE IN WEST MICHIGAN IN MANY DECADES (since 1947 I think – if anyone knows otherwise send me an email).  …upgraded to magnitude 4.2.  The earthquake has been felt in five states.   It was the Headline on Drudge.  Centered 8 km (5 miles) south of Galesburg, Michigan, 9 miles SE of Kalamazoo and 14 miles WSW of Battle Creek.  Largest e-quake in Michigan history was magnitude 4.6 in 1947.  This may be the strongest centered in Southern Michigan since the ’47 quake.  A 3.4 magnitude earthquake occurred  on Sept. 2, 1994.  That was centered northwest of Lansing and felt in Grand Rapids.    The ’47 earthquake was centered very close to this one.   Here’s earthquake history in Michigan.  Here’s the geology of Michigan quakes.   Time around 12: 23 pm.   Right around the full moon.  Leave a comment if you felt it, esp. if you know of any damage.  If you have damage or know of damage, call us at 1-800-8WOODTVIf you have video – maybe security cam video of he shaking – let us know at that same phone number.     Felt throughout S. Michigan.  Also felt in NW Ohio and N. Indiana and the Chicago area.  My cats were terrified.  Strongest e-quake I’ve ever felt in my almost 64 years.   Click on the image map to enlarge.  Aftershocks are possible…up to 3.1, so you could feel an aftershock.  If you heard sirens, a few communities are testing sirens this afternoon.  That’s not related to the earthquake.  WMU’s commencement was just about to begin when the e-quake hit.   I’ll be in the studio covering the quake on the news tonight – watch me at 6 pm and 11 pm on WOOD and 10 pm on WXSP.    Earthquake distance:

  1. 8km (5mi) S of Galesburg, Michigan
  2. 12km (7mi) E of Portage, Michigan
  3. 15km (9mi) SE of Kalamazoo, Michigan
  4. 23km (14mi) WSW of Battle Creek, Michigan
  5. 92km (57mi) SW of Lansing, Michigan

Also:  #BREAKING: #Tsunami advisory just issued for Japan’s Izu Islands due to a shallow M5.9 #earthquake that struck at 12:51pm US EDT.   Death toll from Nepal Earthquake now up to 7,050.  OK, this is funny.    This earthquake was not caused by or related to hydraulic fracturing (aka “fracking”).  There has been no fracking in Kalamazoo or Calhoun County (see map at link).  Read here about hydraulic fracturing in Michigan from the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality.  Michigan seismic hazard map.


Earthquake History

The earliest record of earthquake tremors felt in Michigan Territory (statehood came in 1837) were from the great series of shocks centered near New Madrid, Missouri in 1811 and 1812. As many as nine tremors from the New Madrid earthquake series were reported felt distinctly at Detroit.

A damaging earthquake, apparently centered between Montreal and Quebec in the Saint Lawrence Valley, occurred on October 20, 1870. This shock was felt over an area estimated to be at least a million square miles including Sault Sainte Marie.

Between 1872 and 1883 a number of moderate earthquakes were centered within Michigan. On February 6, 1872, three shocks lasting 30 seconds were reported at Wenona. No additional information is known about these tremors. Reports from Redford and Greenfield Village, not far from Detroit, indicated a minor earthquake occurred on August 17, 1877. It was noted that horses were frightened during this shock. Some persons reported hearing a noise like a train. On February 4, 1883, an earthquake cracked windows and shook buildings at Kalamazoo (intensity VI). This shock was felt in southern Michigan and northern Indiana. Cities as distant as Bloomington, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri also reported feeling this earthquake.

The destructive earthquake that hit Charleston, South Carolina on August 31, 1886, was felt as far north as Milwaukee, Wisconsin and probably in parts of Michigan. On October 31, 1895, Charleston, Missouri experienced a major earthquake. Considered the severest shock in the central U.S. region since the 1811 – 1812 earthquakes, the 1-million-square-mile felt area included parts of Michigan. A moderate earthquake of intensity V was felt at Menominee on March 13, 1905.

A series of unusual occurrences in the Keweenaw Peninsula mining area form a significant part of the seismic history of Michigan. The first disturbance was on July 26, 1905 at about 6:20 in the evening. At Calumet there occurred what appeared to be a terrific explosion. Chimneys fell with a crash and plate glass windows were broken (intensity VII). The explosion was heard far down in a mine and the shock was felt all over the Keweenaw Peninsula area and as far away as Marquette, about 70 miles southeast across Lake Superior. Ten months later, on May 26, 1906, a similar phenomenon occurred. Train rails were twisted, and there was a notable sinking of the earth above the Atlantic mine. The disturbance was reported felt over an area about 30 to 40 miles in diameter. Another shock occurred in the same region on January 22, 1909. A rumbling tremor was felt around Houghton and was believed to be caused by the crushing of pillars in a mine.

The earthquake of August 9, 1947, damaged chimneys and cracked plaster over a large area of south-central Michigan and affected a total area of about 50,000 square miles, including points north to Muskegon and Saginaw and parts of Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. The cities of Athens, Bronson, Coldwater, Colon, Matteson Lake, Sherwood, and Union City in the south-central part of the State all experienced intensity VI effects. Reports of damage to chimneys and some instances of cracked or fallen plaster, broken windows, and merchandise thrown from store shelves were common over the epicentral area.

A number of other earthquakes centered outside the State have been felt in Michigan. Noteworthy among these are the following:

February 28, 1925
St. Lawrence River region northwest of Murray Bay (La Malbaie), Quebec, Canada; felt area approximately 2 million square miles; intensity V at Grand Rapids, Newberry, and Whitefish Point, Michigan.

November 1, 1935
Timiskaming, Quebec, Canada; 1-million-square-mile felt area; intensity V at Alpena, Hillman, Mount Clemens, Pellston, and Port Huron, Michigan.

March 2 and 8, 1937
Western Ohio; 150,000-square-mile felt area (second shock); felt at many places in southern Michigan.

September 4, 1944
St. Lawrence River region between Massena, New York and Cornwall, Ontario, Canada; 175,000-square-mile felt area (in the U.S.); felt at Alpena, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Saginaw, and Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan.

November 9, 1968
South-central Illinois; felt area approximately 580,000 square miles (including all or portions of 23 states); felt throughout southern Michigan.

Here’s a list of earthquakes felt in Michigan, but (mainly) centered outside the WOOD viewing area…note the 4.5 e-quake in Celina, Ohio on July 12, 1986


Great Lakes Water Levels and More

May 1st, 2015 at 2:39 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

muskegon glerlsouth haven glerlalpena glerl Here’s 3 pics. from the GLERL cameras from Thurs. (from NOAA Coastwatch). On the left is sunset at Muskegon.  The middle pic. is South Haven.  Note the difference in water color on either side of the breakwater.  On the right, the camera happened to click just as the shipwreck tour boat went out of the channel.  This is a great time for viewing the shipwrecks because the water is clearer now than it is in the summer.   We had a high temperature of 63 in G.R. on Thursday.  The high temperature at the S. Haven beach was 42.8.  At the Chicago GLERL station (2.75 miles out into Lake Michigan), the high temperature was 44.4 at 11:59 pm and the low temperature was 39.2 at 2 pm in the afternoon.  At 2 pm they had a 22 mph north wind and a wind chill factor of 29.

Lake Michigan/Huron is up 4″ in the last month, up 15″ in the past year and the lake is 4″ above the century average for May.  Lake Superior is up 6″ in the last month, up 8″ in the last year and Superior is 8″ above the May average.  Lake Erie is up 7″ in the last month, up 1″ in the last year nd one inch lower than May 2014.  Lake Ontario is up 13″ in the last month, down 11″ in the last year and is now 9″ below the century May average.  Lake St. Clair is up 4″ in the last month, up 7″ in the last year and is 3″ above average.

Great Lakes ice is down to 5.7% as we start the month of May.  Lake Superior is at 11.1% ice coverage, mainly just north of S. Ste. Marie.  Rounded to the nearest tenth of a percent, Lake Michigan is at 0.0%, though there are still a few chunks of ice in Little Traverse Bay near Petoskey.  Lake Huron is at 5.8% ice cover – mainly in the North Channel.  Here’s the percentage of ice cover for the winter for the Great Lakes for each winter since 1980-81.   The winter of 2013-14 tops the list, with 1993-94 in second place, then this past winter (2014-15) in third place.   Here’s ice cover on the Great Lakes each year on 4/30.  Last year really stands out, but this year we again come in third place.   Here’s ice cover by week through this winter.   Here’s the record of ice on Lake Michigan this winter.  Here’s the winter ice record for lakes Superior, Huron, Erie (note how quickly that ramped up in early January) and Ontario.

Also:  The alewife population in the Great Lakes is dropping and this spells trouble for salmon.  I grew up in Wilmette, ILL and remember the massive number of dead alewives along the shore of Lake Michigan in the 1960s.  Mirages on Lake MichiganMirage photos.   Leech-nado!!!

Nepal Earthquake – 6.7 Magnitude Aftershock -4250 Dead

April 25th, 2015 at 4:05 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

equake nepal   Over 4250 fatalities have been reported in the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal early Saturday morning.  The final death toll may reach 10,000 or more.  The quake was magnitude 7.8 and was centered 48 miles west-northwest of the capital of Kathmandu (population 1,442,000).  The quake was 9.3 miles below the surface.  Fifty aftershocks have been reported, including a major 6.6 quake that occurred 34 minutes after the initial strong quake and a 6.7 magnitude earthquake that occurred Sunday morning.  This is the strongest earthquake in Nepal in over 80 years.  Large earthquakes along the Himalayan Thrust (between the India and Eurasian plates) have been rare.  Only four quakes of magnitude 6 or larger have occurred within 155 miles of the April 25, 2015 earthquake over the past century.  A Magnitude 6.9 earthquake in August 1988, 149 miles to the southeast of the April 25 event, caused close to 1500 fatalities. The largest, a magnitude 8.0 event known as the 1934 Nepal-Bihar earthquake, occurred in a similar location to the 1988 event. It severely damaged Kathmandu, and is thought to have caused around 10,600 fatalities.   At least 17 people died on Mt. Everest, mostly through rockslides and avalanches.  The Dharahara Tower, built in 1832 collapsed.  At least 50 were killed there.  More on the history of earthquakes in the region hereThe quake was felt strongly in neighboring areas of India, Pakistan, Bhutan and Tibet.   Here’s a preliminary estimate of loss of life and dollar damage.  Here’s the latest from the BBCWorld’s strongest earthquakes since 1900.  There are many organizations providing relief.  Here’s one.

The “Year Without a Summer” after the tremendous explosion of Mt. Tambora in April 1815.   Great video of the 4/9 Rochelle, IL tornado.  Lots of debris in this tornado.

50th Anniversary – Palm Sunday Tornadoes

April 11th, 2015 at 2:46 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Palm Sunday Tornadoes Paul Huffman picture  palm sunday tornado house on edge Today is the 50th anniversary of the famous Palm Sunday tornado outbreak of April 11, 1965.  TONIGHT (Sat.) a very special commemorative free program will be held at the Kenowa Hills High School Performing Arts Center on Four Mile Road NW – doors open at 6:30 pm, program at 7 pm.  Dr. Russell Schneider, Director of the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma will be providing the keynote address at the April 11th 50th anniversary commemoration. Dr. Schneider will look back at the 1965 tornado outbreak and talk about how tornado forecasting has advanced in the 50 years since.  I will be there.  I hope some of you will be there, too.  Check out this special facebook page for more information and lots of additional pictures and information on the Ottawa/Kent tornado that day.

It was the second-biggest tornado outbreak in world history. This is a picture of a rare double-tornado near Elkhart, Indiana (by Paul Huffman). This twin-tornado moved into the Midwest Trailer Park, where 33 people lost their lives.  The second picture of the house on edge is from Lee Nelson after the F4 tornado in Kent Co.  There were 271 fatalities that day and 1500 were injured. 47 tornadoes were reported in five states, including 12 in Michigan. An F4 tornado moved from Ottawa Co. near Allendale through Walker and Comstock Park (crossing Alpine Ave. at Six Mile Road. The 21-mile long twister caused 5 fatalities and 142 injuries. That tornado crossed the path of the 1956 Standale Tornado on Samrick just north of West River Dr in Comstock Park. Two F4 tornadoes struck Branch and Hillsdale Counties 30 minutes apart with 21 lives lost. The twisters moved across Coldwater Lake, Devils Lake, Manitou Beach and Baw Beese Lake destroying hundreds of cottages and homes. A wind instrument near Tecumseh measured a wind of 151 mph in the 2nd tornado. The loss of life would have been much worse, but for the fact that it was still too early for the summer influx of cottage owners and the fact that many residents had left for evening Palm Sunday church services. An F4 tornado north of Lansing left one person dead and there was a tornado fatality near Middleville in Barry Co. Other tornadoes that day hit north of Kalamazoo (17 injured there), near Hastings, Bay City, Unionville and 2 tornadoes struck Alma. After this event, the Weather Bureau began the Watch/Warning system that is still in use today. Read more here, here, and here. That year we had record snowfall and it was quite cold in March. Please leave a comment if you have a personal story to tell about that dreadful Sunday. Final note: Here’s a radar loop of the storms that produced the hail from Holland and S. Haven east across Lower Michigan last Tuesday (4/6/2010). Hail up to golfball sized fell. This thread has been moved up from last year and new comments start with #18.

Illinois Long-Track Tornado(es)

April 10th, 2015 at 3:35 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

WREX2  WREX3WREX4  Looks like one of the tornadoes was an EF4.  They have now confirmed two fatalities, both female, one 67 years old and the other 69 years old.  There were roughly 22 injuries.  There was some lead time, so many people had a matter of minutes to find shelter.  At least one long-track wedge tornado cut a path that appears to be about 50 miles long across Northern Illinois.  The twister appears to have begun east of Dixon, north of I-88.  It hit Flag Center, Fairdale and crossed I-39 south of Lindenwood traveling past Kirkland.  Several vehicles were flipped on the interstate.    What was probably a second tornado hit up near Belvidere, where the zoo was heavily damaged.  Baseball-sized hail accompanied the storms.    Video here and here.  Pictures here and here.  There were over 230 severe reports on Thursday, including 14 tornadoes and a measured wind gust to 91 mph at the harbor at Waukegan IL – on the other side of Lake Michigan.  Here’s a wide view of damage at Fairdale.   At one point 58,000 customers were without power in N. Illinois.  The animals that were killed at the Summerfield Zoo were an emu and a black swan.  Many fences were down and it took awhile to round up the frightened animals.  Damage to the zoo was estimated to be at least $200,000.  A GoFundMe Account has been set up to take donations for repairs at the zoo.   Yesterday was the most active day at the Storm Prediction Center with 7 tornado watches and 8 severe t-storm watches issued.

California Gets Some Rain and Snow

April 8th, 2015 at 3:37 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

California Rain Shasta LakeCalifornia Tornado David Plank 4 7 15 Glenn Co. Click on the images to enlarge. On the left is a map of the significant rainfall in S. California on Tuesday. San Francisco had 0.59″, a daily record for April 7, Oakland picked up 0.68″ and Sacramento had 0.80″. Napa recorded 1.55″, Eureka 1.61″ and the most I saw was at Honeydew with 2.48″. There were lane closures on Highway 101 near Monterrey. There were thunderstorms that produced funnels and hail that piled up several inches deep. The picture on the right is a funnel/tornado from David Lawrence Plank and the Sacramento NWS.  Check out this funnel cloud over Sacramento.  In the center, we have the water level graph from Shasta Lake, the biggest reservoir in California. The water level is up a little over an inch in the last 24 hours and is now at 59% capacity, compared to an average of 72% capacity for the date. Notice that the reservoir is significantly higher than the low water level of 1977 (red line on the graph).  Here’s a look at reservoir status in CaliforniaCalifornia’s population has increased significantly, largely due to immigration.  Much of California is arid to semi-arid and as population increases, there is increased pressure on a limited amount of moisture.  Desalinization is expensive, but may become necessary.  The Israelis do that and even use some of the water for agriculture.  Here’s a nice pic. of a rainbow over San Francisco as the storms pushed to the east.  Here’s rain moving into Los Angeles CoLightning in the U.S. on Tues. – note the lightning in Central CA.  Snow falling in Yosemite N.PMore Sierra snow.

April 3, 1956 – Hudsonville/Standale Tornado

April 2nd, 2015 at 10:35 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

hudsonville tornado Today, April 3rd, 2014, is the anniversary of the strongest tornado ever to hit the state of Michigan. The strongest wind on the surface of Earth in 1956 was on Van Buren Street in Hudsonville, Michigan on April 3, 1956. There were 17 fatalities (13 in Hudsonville) and 340 were injured. Take a moment and watch this YouTube film, pictures and map of the twister and this color film of the deadly storm. The tornado was rated F5, one of 59 F5 and EF5 tornadoes in the U.S. since 1950. There has been one in Canada. The tornado path was at least 48 miles continuous from Vriesland to Trufant in Montcalm Co. The twister was as wide as four football fields at one point! The first of four significant tornadoes that day came onshore off Lake Michigan at Saugatuck and destroyed the lighthouse there. That was an F4 tornado! It dissipated east of Holland with the Hudsonville-Standale tornado forming shortly thereafter, more than likely from the same parent storm. Another tornado struck near Bangor and stayed on the ground for 55 miles before lifting near Alto in SE Kent Co. That tornado injured twelve. Another tornado killed two in Benzie Co. Click here for more links to learn about other tornadoes in Michigan that day and the weather situation that produced them. Ernie Ostuno of the GRR NWS wrote a fantastic book on the event which you can order here (a great gift for someone interested in tornadoes, storms or weather). Here’s the Flicker Pictures that a commentator linked to. Today is also the anniversary of the Super Outbreak of Tornadoes in 1974. Here’s the article that NWS Meteorologist Ernie Ostuno wrote about the storms. Film of the damage. More film hereDocumentary on the storm.

1 Dead, Dozens Injured in OK Twisters

March 25th, 2015 at 8:27 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Mammatus better KFOR 3 25 15   Oklahoma Hail KFOR 3 25 15 WOW!  Check out the hail here!    Tornadoes, large hail and strong winds have hit Oklahoma, SE Kansas, SW Missouri and NW Arkansas.  Seven tornadoes have been reported…one in Sand Springs resulted in one fatality at a mobile home park and dozens of injuries…and another in Moore (a town that has had 2 EF5 tornadoes in 1999 and again in 2013 – path of Weds. tornado at link, the twister crossed I-35.  Cars were flipped on in both directions on I-35).  Three other tornadoes touched down in NW Arkansas.  Hail as large has softballs was reported in Tulsa, where schools will be closed today (Thurs.), winds hit 80 mph in the town of Westport and over 78,000 customers are without power in Oklahoma.  Flooding is also reported  Here’s SPC storm reports.  Follow the storms on KFOR in Oklahoma City and KJRH in Tulsa.  (pics. from KFOR).  SSEO forecast tornado likelihood wellRadio tower destroyedGas station destroyedGymnastics studio destroyedPic. of Tulsa/Sand Springs tornado.

2.9 magnitide earthquake northwest of Chicago.  Wednesday, Verkhoyansk, Siberia, saw its first day above freezing since Oct. 5, that’s 171 days ago!  Cherry blossoms in Birmingham ALWhat a difference a day makes – in Colorado.

No Severe Weather

March 20th, 2015 at 2:55 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

NONE    From the Storm Prediction Center:  ”
NORMAN, Okla. During a month when severe weather typically strikes, this March has been unusually quiet, with no tornado or severe thunderstorm watches issued by NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center so far. And, National Weather Service forecasters see no sign of dramatic change for the next week at least.

We are in uncharted territory with respect to lack of severe weather”, said Greg Carbin, SPC’s warning coordination meteorologist. “This has never happened in the record of SPC watches dating back to 1970.”

Since the beginning of 2015, the SPC has issued only four tornado watches and no severe thunderstorm watches, which is less than 10 percent of the typical number of 52 tornado watches issued by mid-March. The approximately 20 tornadoes reported since January 1 is well below the 10-year average of 130 for that time period.

There is no one clear reason to explain the lack of tornadoes, Carbin said. “We’re in a persistent pattern that suppresses severe weather, and the right ingredients — moisture, instability, and lift — have not been brought together in any consistent way so far this year.”

Forecasters expect a change soon, however. April and May are typically the busiest months for severe weather and tornadoes. Patterns can change in a few days, Carbin said, and it’s important to be prepared for severe weather when it occurs.

Analysis of the ten lowest and ten highest watch count years through the middle of March reveals little correlation to the subsequent number of tornadoes through the end of June. For example, early 2012 was particularly active with 77 watches issued through mid-March. The subsequent period through the end of June was unusually quiet for tornadoes with about 130 fewer EF1 and stronger tornadoes occurring than what would normally be expected. On the other hand, 1984, with a relatively low watch count of 28 through mid-March, became more active and by late June had about 100 EF1 and stronger tornadoes above the long-term mean of 285.”     From Keli Pirtle at SPC

The Great Tri-State Tornado – 90 Years Ago Today

March 18th, 2015 at 1:00 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Tri State Tornado Newspaper  Tri State Tornado Path  Tri State Tornado Damage  Today (March 18) is the anniversary of the worst tornado in U.S. history (in 1925). It set records for longest tornado on the ground (219 miles) , most fatalities (695), fastest forward speed (average 56 mph, nearly 75 mph at the beginning). The twister crossed the Mississippi River about 75 miles southeast of St. Louis, moving from Missouri, across southern Illinois and into Indiana. The tornado followed a railroad line, destroying towns (four towns were completely destroyed) that had sprung up along the railroad. The twister averaged 3/4-mile wide and at times was over a mile wide. Survivors described the approaching storm as a rolling, boiling fog. Fires set by the tornado could be seen 60 miles from the tornado’s path.

A few years ago, my wife and I drove along the path of this storm and stopped at libraries and city halls to see what I could learn. At a mine, the entire above ground structures were destroyed, trapping miners underground (they were later rescued. Nine schools were destroyed and 69 children lost their lives that day. There were 2027 recorded injures (not counting those who were not counted at overcrowded hospitals). Fifteen thousand homes were destroyed. The twister occurred before the F-scale for rating tornadoes was established, but there is agreement that this one was an F5. Seven other tornadoes caused fatalities that day, another 52 other deaths in tornadoes that occurred in northern Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and southern Indiana. Thorough new and continuing research has found no break in the path and also that the tornado touchdown may have occurred approximately 15 miles before previously thought, bringing the total path length to around 234 mi. Damage from the tornado totaled nearly 17 million dollars, which adjusted for inflation would be close to 2 billion dollars today.