News

Lake Michigan Water Levels

September 4th, 2015 at 9:00 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Shannon Hoorn Lake Michigan Water Level change    Check out this picture from facebook friend Shannon Hoorn.   This is by Mackinaw City and shows the one year change in the water level of Lake Michigan/Huron (a single lake for lake level purposes).  All the Great Lakes have significantly above average water levels.  Lake Michigan/Huron down 1″ in the last month, up 8″ in the last year and is now 8″ above the average September water level.  Lake Superior is unchanged in the last month, up 1″ in the last year and 7″ above the average September water level.  Lake Erie is down 6″ in the last month, but is still 8″ above the level of one year ago.  Erie is now 15″ above the average July level.  There is still some concern that a strong wind (derecho moving down the lake) could cause significant flooding if the winds push the water toward shore.   Lake Ontario is down 7″ in the last month, up 5″ in the last year and is now 10″ above the average September level.  Lake St. Clair is also quite high, despite losing 4″ in the last month.   St. Clair is up 8″ in the last year and it’s now 14″ above the average level for September.  Some inland lakes also have relatively high water levels.  The St. Mary’s, Niagara and St. Lawrence Rivers will continue to have above average flow.  The St. Clair and Detroit Rivers should also continue to have above average flow.  Here’s some current (Friday AM) flow numbers in cubic feet per second compared to median flow:  Grand River at Grand Rapids 2230 (1450), Kalamazoo River at New Richmond 1490 (1409), Huron River at Ann Arbor 1436 (151), Maumee River at Defiance OH 675 (375).

Also:  The Comeback of the Great Lakes StatesRecord Numbers of Michigan Endangered SpeciesExploding Moose Population!   Call for Arctic icebreakers could hurt Great Lakes.    Today’s manure story.


Dense Fog Advisory Montcalm and Gratiot

September 4th, 2015 at 12:54 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

advisory The GRR NWS has issued a Dense Fog Advisory until 10 am for just Gratiot and Montcalm Counties.  You can check current conditions and visibilities here.  The usual cautions apply:  Leave early, drive slowly, use low-beam headlights and leave a good interval between vehicles.  We also (as I write this around 1 am) have a Flood Advisory for Gratiot Co. until 7:45 am.

Also:  Full Earth satellite picture – mostly clear day over both North and South America.  The origin of the word “muggy”.    Some really cool cloudsman survives being swept over waterfall in a flash flood.  Rainfall totals in Hawaii:  0.99″ Honolulu, 1.73″ Puhi, 3.09″ Aloha Tower.  More here.   Dole Cannery and surrounding offices evacuated due to flooding, including electrical rooms.  Lightning strike “blew off roof”.   The Aurora Borealis was visible overnight (too bad we had clouds and fog).  The Aurora seen from the Intl. Space Station.   Geese in GeorgiaSunset, Panama City.   Lots of tropical storms…pretty much all missing land.  The next 2 weeks are, on average, the peak of the hurricane season.  This link is just for “Rocky”.  Waterspouts!


Great Lakes Water Levels/News

August 27th, 2015 at 11:03 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Lake Michigan Traverse Bay Michelle Olin   Here’s a nice pic. of Traverse Bay from daughter #3.  All the Great Lakes have significantly above average water levels.  Lake Michigan/Huron down 1″ in the last month, up 9″ in the last year and is now 6″ above the average August water level.  Lake Superior is up 1″ in the last month, up 1″ in the last year and 7″ above the average July water level.  Lake Erie is down 7″ in the last month, but is still 8″ above the level of one year ago.  Erie is now 12″ above the average July level.  There is still some concern that a strong wind (derecho moving down the lake) could cause significant flooding if the winds push the water toward shore.   Lake Ontario is down 5″ in the last month, up 6″ in the last year and is now 7″ above the average August level.  Lake St. Clair is also quite high, despite losing 4″ in the last month.   St. Clair is up 6″ in the last year and it’s now 11″ above the average level for August.  Some inland lakes also have high water levels.  The St. Mary’s, Niagara and St. Lawrence Rivers will continue to have above average flow.  The St. Clair and Detroit Rivers should have near average flow.  Here’s some current (11:30 pm Thu.) flow numbers in cubic feet per second compared to median flow:  Grand River at Grand Rapids 2270 (1500), St. Joseph River at Three Rivers 605 (555), River Raisin at Monroe 167 (138), Maumee River at Defiance OH 1180 (398).

Gene discovery may help restore Great Lakes troutA story about manure.  Sorry, I prefer rehabilitation to dilapidation.  Michigan led the nation in the growth of Great Lakes and ocean employmentYour tax dollars at work! – not.  Larger number of perch found in Lake MichiganInvasive Chinese jellyfish found in Michigan lake.   The high-tech United States Coast Guard’s MackinawErosion problems on Lake Michigan from higher water levelsSalt tonnage up on the Great LakesThe latest from Boatnerd.

Tropical Storm Erika:  Track MapWind Speed Probability MapSan Juan PR radarForecast DiscussionLatest Advisory with WarningsFunktop Satellite Loopen Español…18,000 customers without electricity in Puerto Rico as I write this.   All flights from the PR international airport have been canceled as of Thurs. evening.  There were at least four fatalities from Erika on the island of Dominica.   There was a gust to 62 mph on St. Croix.  US Virgin Islands governor issues State of Emergency, imposes curfew, activates National Guard.   Coast Guard Warning for Florida.   BTW, Erika has a few things going against it…a hurricane on the Florida Coast is not a slam dunk here.  Overnight European model takes Erika over Hispanola, not conducive for strengthening.

Hurricane Ignacio:  Track MapWind Speed Probability Map…Satellite imageHawaii composite radar…   We also have hurricane Jimema, well west of Mexico and no threat to land.

Also:  Dozens of cars stranded in flash flooding after heavy rain in Sioux Falls, SD.  5.75″ of rain fell in 5 hrs at Sioux Falls…2.04″ of rain fell at Broken Bow, Nebraska in one hour.  Twin waterspouts off Cape Coral, Florida.   Happy summer at Greenland Summit, where the tempeature is -27F.   Stormy day at the northernmost point in the U.SGettin’ up close and personal with a wildfire.

Finally – here’s one of the bands my brother plays with occasionally – out of Chicago…here’s another, Dr. Mark is a surgeon.


Harry Volkman 1926-2015 RIP

August 21st, 2015 at 12:57 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Harry Volkman 1 - at WGN from wiki   Harry Volkman 2 in hospital  A meteorological and broadcast legend passed away yesterday at the age of 89.   Harry Volkman was a TV meteorologist for 54 years, spending much of that time in Chicago (the picture on the left is Harry doing the weather on WGN-TV about 1979 (picture from Wikipedia).  He was the first broadcast meteorologist to go on the air with a Tornado Warning (Alert) in 1952.  The picture on the right was tweeted by his son Eddie this past weekend (from KFOR).  From the Wiki article:  “  Volkman got his start as a weatherman at KOTV in Tulsa, Oklahoma in January 1950. While there he also served as a booth announcer, model, on-air salesman, sportscaster, variety show host and switchboard operator. He also claimed to have worked briefly as a custodian for the station and not having been paid for his first three months.” Harry studied physics at Tufts Univ. – then meteorology at the Univ. of Tulsa.  He worked for 3 TV stations in Oklahoma before moving to Chicago in 1959.  Harry worked at the NBC, CBS and FOX affiliates and at independent WGN over the years.

Growing up in Wilmette, I watched Harry every night.  I’d actually watch every weatherman/meteorologist on TV – switching from station to station during the newscasts.  He lived in Glenview, the next town west of Wilmette.  He sang in his church choir, was a lifelong member and charter member of the Kiwanis Club in Glenview.  I first met Harry at a conference of TV meteorologists in Toronto in 1976.  We had a nice chat.  Two years later at the next conference I attended, he came over and remembered my name.  He did hundreds of school speeches.  Each school would give him a carnation, which he wore on TV and mentioned the school at 6 pm.  There are literally dozens of TV meteorologists today who grew up watching Harry Volkman on TV.


Great Lakes Water Levels

August 20th, 2015 at 9:47 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Lake Michigan waves Grand Haven 8 20 15 David Hart Pearl Mist in Holland  The pic. on the left is waves today (Thurs. 8/20) at Grand Haven St. Park – pic. from David Hart.  On the right, a pic of the Great Lakes cruise ship, Pearl Mist. It docked in Holland Weds. AM and was supposed to leave Weds. PM, but stayed an extra day because of high surf (waves up to 10 feet at Saugatuck Thurs. AM).  Here’s more on the Pearl Mist.   Two teenage girls were rescued from the water at Grand Haven.   It is dangerous to swim in the big waves, especially near breakwaters were strong currents can develop, like the south (left side as you walk out on the breakwater) side of the breakwater at Grand Haven St. Park.  Remember that cold air coming over relatively warm water will make bigger waves than warm air going over relatively cold water.

The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is unchanged in the last month, up 10″ year-to-year and is now 8″ above the average August water level.  Lake Superior is down 1″ in the last month, unchanged in the last year and stands at 6″ above the average August level.  Lakes Erie is down 6″ in the last month, but is up 10″ year-to-year.  Lake Erie is now 14″ above the August century average.  Lake Ontario is down 4″ in the last month, up 6″ in the last year and is now 9″ above the average August level.  Lake St. Clair is down 3″ in the last month, up 9″ in the last year and is 13″ high than average for August.

Great Lakes News:  Mystery trash washes up on Lake Michigan beachBringing the sturgeon back to the Great LakesUpdate on the Coast Guard Cutter, MackinawPowerpoint of Isle Royale.


Isolated Wind Damage in SE MI

August 19th, 2015 at 2:41 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

south haven glerl   -  Pic. is from the S. Haven GLERL camera (from NOAA Coastwatch) in the late PM.  Note the wave coming over the breakwater and if you look closely (click on the pic. to enlarge) there’s a kideboarder on the right side of the pic. under the cloud. Waves are running just shy of 6 feet out at the Port Sheldon buoy camera this evening.  They will be at least that high tomorrow.   Not much severe weather today.  A tornado warning was issued for parts of Oscoda and Alcona Counties.  Gust to 44 mph in Flint from a shower.  There were a few trees and wires down in Lapeer, Mayville and near Brighton.  Check out the wind and waves at Lake Michigan.

At midnight, the dewpoint is down to 62 in G.R. and 57 at Muskegon…down from 70 earlier today.  The dewpoint at Chicago is 53 (despite a light shower) and it’s down to 52 in Milwaukee.

Also:  Video of the funnel/small tornado in N. Illinois yesterday evening.   Snow falling in the Colorado MountainsSweet ride for this Great Lakes freighterFrom the esteemed Chuck Doswell on the “Godzilla” El Nino.   Time lapse of a t-storm developing near Houston, Texas today.


Massive Explosion in China – Death Toll Now 85

August 12th, 2015 at 1:33 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Chinese explosion   Friday evening -  85 fatalities (they still report that some fire fighters “are not responding” – like their vacationing in the Hamptons).   New helicopter pics. of the explosion site…many blocks of devistation.  More new pics.   The death total is a lot more than the official government count of 17 as of 36 hours after the blast.

There was a massive explosion in Tianjin, China (pic. from www.news3lv.com).  The media are not paying enough attn. to this IMHO – I think the casualties are much higher than they are letting on.  This is one of the top ports in the world and this may disrupt the exporting/importing of goods from and into China.  Here’s pictures (a few are graphic).   Amazing video of the explosion here and here.  Reporter says at least 2 or 3 explosions. First in dock area, then “something related to explosives, gas or oil”.  More photos at Chinese social media site Weibo.com.   Reports of many casualties at a huge chemical complex.  Watch this twitter feed for more pics. and video.  The explosion occured around 11:30 am EDT (11:30 pm local time).   People far from explosion knocked off their feet by shockwaves.   SCMP now saying the explosion originated from “a shipment of explosives at a container berth”.  Reports now of “hundreds of people killed and injured”.   Explosion seen from weather satellite!  I believe the Himawari8 satellite is geostationary – or 22,240 miles above the Earth’s surface.   Fire continues along the possibility of dangerous chemical leaks into the water and atmosphere days after the explosion.  Video here shows massive amounts of debris falling.   State media now says gas storage facility blew up…one speculated there could be over 1,000 people killed and injured.   China requesting blood donations.  Many injuries from flying glass as windows broke from the shockwaves of the explosion.  People have been warned to shut all windows and doors in case of toxic gas spread.   Closer video (and the shooter survived).  One hospital says it “has received 300-400 injuries”.   Look at the explosion blow in the doors – captured from a security camera.  The official death toll at 7:15 pm EDT is 17…again, that’s the “official” number.    “first explosion was equivalent to three tons of TNT, the second was 21 tons”  Over 1000 new cars destroyed by the fires.   From an eyewitness:  “The metro station under that ground zero hell highway is likely to be at least partially collapsed and the area near the station was still packed with people at 11:30 pm because they were heading there to catch the last bus.  Toxic chemical fallou from that massive mushroom cloud is the next step now, so every local who owns a car wanted to leave the city by midnight, tried to escape, but ended up in congested streets full of cars and injured people seeking more distant hospitals.  They have banned all discussion about those congested roads, possible military involvement and quarantine zones to stop the spread of panic across the region…”   From the web:  “An internet friend of mine with family over there says whole apartment blocks have been leveled.”   CNN blocked from reporting outside Chinese hospital.   “The Chinese national Supercomputing Center of Tianjin is located at the National Defense Science and Technology University at Tianjin.  One of the fastest supercomputers in the world is located at that facility.  It has now been thought to be totally decimated in the China Cargo explosion“.  Latest pictures show entire buildings and many hundreds vehicles destroyed.    Explaining why you’re only seeing amateur video of Tianjin – entire area sealed by police.    No one – incl media- allowed in.   Explosion showed as magnitude 2.9 earthquake on seismographs.    A blast at an auto parts factory in eastern China killed 75 people a year ago when a room filled with metal dust exploded.   REDDIT here is interesting.   “9 firefighters dead – “lost contact” with 39 other firefighters.   More daylight helicopter footage.

 


Wednesday – Amazing Coast Guard Pics./Video

August 5th, 2015 at 1:37 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Coast Guard damage Glen Arbor     . Coast Guard damage Glen Arbor 2These are two pics. from the Coast Guard helicopter that flew over damage areas. These are classic examples of downburst/microburst wind damage. I’m guessing that we’re looking at 100 mph winds here. In the pic. on the right, the wind was going from the west to the east, or left to right in the picture. Looking at the pic. on the right, you can see the magnitude of clearing all the trees to get the roads open and then clearing the space to get new utility wires up. In a tornado, this would be a relatively small area…the widest tornado ever was about 2.5 miles wide. Here we’re looking at significant damage on a county wide basis across the Lower Peninsula.   You’ve got to see this:  Pictures and video from the Coast Guard helicopter flight.  In the video by the lake, you can see quite a few docks and boats that were ripped loose and sent across to the shore here.  Coast Guard video of the helicopter rescue of a kayaker caught in the storm.  The storms moved east, leaving over 50,000 customers without power in SW Ontario (cool pic. at the link).  The storms injured six people when a tent collapsed in Proton Station.  Pics. here.    Sunset is now before 9 pm in G.R.  We lose daylight at a little more than 2 min. per day in early August.

As of 1 am – 22,098 Consumers Energy customers still without power…inc. 63.9% of Kalkaska Co., 44.9% of Leelanau Co., 32.4% of Ogemaw Co, 12.8% of Oscoda Co., 12.1% of Antrim Co., 8.7% of Crawford Co., 8.3% of Grand Traverse Co. and 7.8% of Missaukee Co.

Also:   Watch the moon pass in front of the Earth – from a million miles away.    Typhoon Soudelor will produce incredible rain – strong wind in Taiwan. 15 to 25 inches of rain forecastForecast loop of Typhoon Soudelor – looks very bad for Taiwan.  Soudelor currently (11 am) a category 3 storm, with top winds (over water) of 115 mphNice lightning shot in IowaHail in Boston TuesdayVery cool time lapse of severe t-storm coming into Boston.   Rocky Fire in CA: – 68,300 acres – 20% contained – 39 homes destroyed – 3,483 firefighters – 4 air tankers – 19 helicopters.   Total number of U.S. wildfires for the past 11 years through August 4th – this year is 9th fewest of those 11 years…last year was 10th fewest and 2013 was fewest in those eleven years.  Slow motion of positive cloud-to-ground lightning strike in the Bahamas.  Interesting fact from David Burge:    2014 base salary of CEO of world’s largest retailer (WalMart) would rank #97 among pro athletes, just behind Aaron Rogers.  Then there’s Floyd!  Studies show that there is four times the weather coverage on the network news than there was 20 years agoWhere the Earth looks upside down.  2.57” of rain in Salisbury, MD, in 1 hr.  Minimal Tropical Storm Guillermo going well north of Hawaii – not a problemCurrent El Nino strongest since 1997.    M5.7 earthquake in Chiapas, Mexico.   0.45” of rain in 5 minutes at Salina, KS


Storm Wrap Up

August 2nd, 2015 at 6:41 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

WW0463 Radar

One fatality and 20 injured as a large tent collapsed at the Wood Dale Prairie Festival west of ChicagoA Calvin College student drowned while swimming in 3-5 foot waves in Lake Michigan.  Two people were hit by lightning, Indian River – minor injuries.  A dome in Rosemon t IL, a bubble supported by air outside the field where the Chicago Bandits softball team plays, collapsed as the storm moved through that area.  Check out the storm reports from N. Michigan (Softball-sized hail and 50-100 trees down 2 miles south of Frederic), SW.Michigan (GRR), SE Michigan, NE Illinois, N Indiana (and the Michigan Counties that border Indiana) and SE Wisconsin.   Here’s some wind gust reports from W. Michigan. The Leelanau County Supervisor was advising people to stay off the roads.   As of 11:45 pm Sun. – Consumers Energy outage map shows 67% of Leelanau Co. without power, 48% of Missaukee Co., 49% of Grand Traverse Co. and 34% of Wexford Co. – 15,503 customers  without power in Kent Co. (5.7 % of county) – total of nearly 109,000 statewide.   911 was down in Benzie Co.  Kalkaska Co. Central Dispatch was also down.  Damage in T.CDock damage on Glen LakeTree on house near Jenison.    The temperature at Cadillac dropped from 81 to 59 between 5 and 6 pm!  East Gr. Rapids had a 20-deg. temp. drop in 20 min.  We had 16 deg. drops in less than an hour at Kalamazoo and Battle Creek.  Storm photos here.

The Glen Lake Fire Department reported that there was  no way to get out of Glen Arbor or around the lakes.  The Glen Arbor Sun reports there was a measured gust to 93 mph and:

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore reports tonight that the following areas within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore will be closed until further notice: The Philip A Hart Visitor Center in Empire; Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive; the Dune Climb; Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail; Glen Haven Historic Village; and DH Day Campground. – See more here, including pics.     Bill adds – the speculation about a tornado is just that.  The widespread nature of the damage might indicate straight-line winds are a better guess at this point.  The NWS will make the final determination.   Kalkaska – “the damage is jaw-dropping“.

Camper blown over on Mac. Bridge!  Tree on a car, N. Muskegon, Causeway.  1″ hail in Muskegon, hail in Grand Haven with heavy rain.  Pea-sized hail in Grandville,  Jenison, Hudsonville, Marne, Zeeland, Ada, Wyoming, Vergennes Twp. and SE G.R., tree down M-21 and Hubbardston Rd. (Ionia Co.).  East G.R. – temp. dropped 20 deg. in 20 minutes – along with hail up to 1″ in diameter.  Grand Rapids officially dropped from 85 at 9 pm to 65 at 10 pm.    Ionia 911: Trees Down (Fire Departments and Road Commission are en route to all): Peck Lake Rd and Hotchkiss Rd, Second St and Jordan Lake Ave in Lake Odessa-wires and trees, Jacoby Rd and Feuerstein Rd.  Tree on a house near Lincoln Lake in NE Kent Co.  Nice lightning pic.   Numerous trees down in Hillsdale Co.


Watch Coming Very Soon

August 2nd, 2015 at 3:52 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Severe T-Storm or Tornado Watch will be issued for our area very soon.  Read this.    SPC says:  “STRONG TO SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED TO DEVELOP OVER THE NEXT FEW HOURS…WITH A PRIMARY THREAT FOR LARGE HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS. THESE STORMS WILL LIKELY EVOLVE INTO A S/SEWD-PROGRESSING SQUALL LINE…WITH THE SEVERE THREAT TRANSITIONING TO MAINLY DAMAGING WINDS. ADDITIONALLY…A TORNADO OR TWO WILL BE POSSIBLE.”