News

Thick Ice Remains in Hudson Bay

July 24th, 2015 at 8:33 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

North American Snow Cover  Hudson Bay Ice July 20 2015Hudson Bay Ice July 17 2015 On the left, we have a current (7/24) map showing the ice that still covers roughly a large portion of Hudson Bay. The CCGS Amundsen  was scheduled to be on a scientific expedition to study “climate change” (formerly known as “global warming”) right now.  However, the ship had to be diverted to plow through the thick ice that remains on Hudson Bay. The ice has prevented needed supplies from reaching the Quebec side of Hudson Bay. “  Johnny Leclair, assistant commissioner for the Canadian Coast Guard, said Tuesday.  Conditions in the area are the worst he’s seen in 20 years.   “Ships can usually count on Arctic waters being free of most ice during the month of July. But after a particularly long, cold winter, the ice hasn’t melted as quickly as it normally does and shipping companies have had to shuffle delivery schedules as a result.”  Here’s Hudson Bay Ice Charts from Environment Canada.  Looks like this is the most ice left on the Bay this late in the season since 1992 and third highest in the last 35 years.   Pictured here (center and left) is the Pierre Radisson, which was pictured cutting through the ice on the way to Iqaluit on July 17th.   Another pic. here.


Great Lakes Water Levels and News

July 23rd, 2015 at 11:19 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

S. Haven buoy camera calm 7 23 15  chicago glerl Thunder Bay Island Sunrise The pic. on the left is a screen grab from the S. Haven buoy camera around 9 pm Thursday, plus 6 am (local time) pics. from the GLERL cameras at Chicago and Thunder Bay (MI).  Click to enlarge.  At 8 pm we saw a man in a kayak paddling around the buoy, which is nearly 3 miles out in the lake.  The air and water temp. at this buoy Thurs. evening were both 68.  Water temps. have come up with the sunshine and light wind (Thursday’s water temps.:  65 Ludington and Grand Haven, 66 Holland, 67 Saugatuck, 68 Muskegon, 69 Mears and 70 S. Haven).

All of the Great Lakes have water levels well above average.  The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is unchanged in the last month.  The level is 11″ higher than one year ago and stands at 7″ above the long-term average.  The level of Lake Superior is up 2″ in the last month and is now one inch higher than July 2014.  Superior is now 8″ higher than the July average level.  Lake Erie is up a substantial 6″ in the last month.  Erie is also 14″ higher than it was one year ago and 17″ above the century average!  If Lake Erie would stay that high, there would be a concern for flooding from high wind events in the fall and winter.   Lake Ontario is up 3″ in the last month, up 6″ in the last year and is now 8″ above the century average.  Lake St. Clair is up 4″ in the last month, up 11″ year-to-year and now 15″ above the long-term July average.  The flow on all the rivers that connect the Great Lakes (St. Mary’s, St. Clair, Detroit and Niagara) will continue to see above average flow.

Most rivers in Lower Michigan have above average flow.  As of 12:30 am Fri., here’s some streamflows in cubic feet per second with the median flow in (  ):  Grand River at Grand Rapids  3810 cfs (1640), St. Joseph River at Niles  6450 cfs (2170), Kalamazoo River at New Richmond  2770 cfs (1680).

Also:  116-year-old shipwreck discovered in Lake MichiganNot many creatures can say that they’ve survived being chewed up and excreted, butLake Macatawa traps findSwimmer makes it across Lake Erie for charityhigh water levels eating away at Lake Michigan shoreLighthouse for saleNew bridge to be built over the St. Mary’s RiverBoatnerd.


Storm Threat Along and South of I-94

July 18th, 2015 at 6:53 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

MD 1470 graphic Waterspout Lake Michigan 7 18 15   Tornado Watch cancelled for Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon, Allegan, Newaygo, Van Buren, Berrien and Cass Counties.  Counties most likely to still get severe weather are Branch and E. Calhoun.  Westnedge Ave. closed in Kalamazoo between Parkwood and Inkster – trees down, tree on house.    Possible waterspout on Lake Michigan here, west of Glenn (see pic.).  Most dangerous storm now east of Sturgis.   4 mi ESE of White Pigeon – numerous trees down, inc. a tree on a trailer – wind est. 65 mph along with a possible funnel cloud.  Hail reported in White Pigeon.  Tree down in Buchanan – Berrien Co.  Strong wind east of Sturgis.  Several trees down in SE Van Buren Co. from Decatur to Paw Paw New T-Storm.  Small tree down in Kent City.  7:46 – Shelf cloud moving through Calhoun Co.   4-foot waves in Grand Haven – stay out of the lake – strong currents can occur after the passage of a gusty line of storms.  7,985 Consumers Energy customers without power – inc. 3,186 in Kalamazoo Co.  and 1,931 in Kent Co. – mainly Sparta to Cedar Springs.  Here’s storm reports from N Indiana and the Michigan Counties that border Indiana…from Southwest Michigan, Northeast Illinois and Southeast Wisconsin.

Warning for Cass, St. Joseph and Branch Counties until 8 pm.        From the Storm Prediction Center:  “SUMMARY…THREAT FOR STRONG TO SEVERE STORMS PERSISTS FROM NRN IL THROUGH NRN IND AND SWRN LOWER MI. THE BEST THREAT FOR A FEW TORNADOES APPEARS TO BE FROM NCNTRL THROUGH NERN IND INTO SWRN LOWER MI.

DISCUSSION…EARLY THIS EVENING A CONVECTIVE OUTFLOW BOUNDARY EXTENDS FROM NERN IND NWWD INTO NWRN IND WHERE IT INTERSECTS ANOTHER OUTFLOW BOUNDARY EXTENDING FROM NWRN IND THROUGH NRN IL. THE ATMOSPHERE REMAINS VERY UNSTABLE IN VICINITY OF AND TO THE SOUTH OF THESE BOUNDARIES WITH 3000-4000 J/KG MLCAPE. IT APPEARS THE BEST TORNADO POTENTIAL NEXT COUPLE HOURS WILL BE FROM NRN IND TO SWRN LOWER MI WHERE EFFECTIVE STORM RELATIVE HELICITY IS MAXIMIZED /150-200 M2/S2/ JUST ON THE COOLER SIDE OF THE OUTFLOW BOUNDARY. DESPITE A PROPENSITY FOR THE STORMS TO GROW UPSCALE…EMBEDDED SUPERCELL STRUCTURES WITH LOW-LEVEL MESOCYCLONES ARE POSSIBLE AS THE STORMS INTERACT WITH BOUNDARY FROM SWRN LOWER MI INTO NRN IND. SOME SEVERE THREAT PERSISTS FARTHER WEST ACROSS NRN IL BUT IS MORE CONDITIONAL. A FEW ENHANCED CUMULUS PERSIST ALONG THIS PORTION OF THE OUTFLOW BOUNDARY…BUT LOW-LEVEL WINDS HAVE VEERED AND THIS AREA IS LIKELY EXPERIENCING SOME DEEPER SUBSIDENCE IN WAKE OF LEAD SHORTWAVE TROUGH. THESE FACTORS ALONG WITH ONSET OF NOCTURNAL COOLING LOWERS CONFIDENCE IN ADDITIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN THIS AREA.”

T-Storm Warnings for Barry Co. until 7:45 pm and for Branch, St. Joseph and Cass Counties until  8 pm.  Gust to 39 mph at Holland St. Park,  41 mph in Allegan, 42 mph near Gobles, 43 mph at Benton Harbor, 46 mph at the S. Haven Beach, estimated gust to 55 mph in Kent City – large limbs down – and 65 mph just east of Sturgis and 4 mi. ESE of White Pigeon with multiple trees down.  Strong storms pushing from E. Van Buren and Cass Counties into Kalamazoo and St. Joseph Counties.  Expect gusts to 40 mph, heavy rain and intense lightning.


Tornado Watch

July 18th, 2015 at 5:05 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

WW0438 Radar TORNADO WATCH until midnight!   Crunch time!   Strong winds approaching Ottawa, Allegan, Van Buren and Ottawa Co.  Ahead of the storm, pick up anything that might fly around in a strong wind.  Keep the garage door closed, take down hanging baskets.   SPC says:  “SUMMARY…THUNDERSTORM COMPLEX NOW OVER SE WI/NE IL EXPECTED TO MOVE/DEVELOP GENERALLY E OR ESE INTO PARTS OF LWR MI/NRN INDIANA THROUGH THIS EVENING…WITH ADDITIONAL STORMS POSSIBLY FORMING S AND E OF THE CLUSTER. SOME OF THE STORMS WILL BE CAPABLE OF DAMAGING WIND…MARGINALLY SEVERE HAIL…AND A COUPLE TORNADOES.


Tornado Watch, Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph Cos.

July 13th, 2015 at 9:03 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

WW0417 Radar Erase me  Baseball-sized hail at Hammond IN, tennis ball-sized hail at Burnham IL – window, roof damage reported, 3″ rain today at Berrien Springs.  Tornado Watch for Berrien, Cass and St. Joseph Counties in Michigan and much of Indiana until 3 am. The watch graphic from SPC shown here does not include the Michigan Counties that have been included in the watch. SPC says: “PRIMARY THREATS INCLUDE…A COUPLE TORNADOES POSSIBLE, SCATTERED DAMAGING WINDS AND ISOLATED SIGNIFICANT GUSTS TO 75 MPH, POSSIBLE SCATTERED LARGE HAIL AND ISOLATED VERY LARGE HAIL EVENTS TO 2 INCHES IN DIAMETER POSSIBLE.”  Picture of storm clouds over Chicago from NBC5.

Here’s G.R. radar, and regional radar.  Here’s storm reports from E. Wisconsin, NE Illinois and N. Indiana.  Golfball-sized hail was reported in Gary IN.  Here’s storm reports from SW Michigan (2.25″ rain earlier today in Paw Paw – gusts to 70 mph in Centreville – St. Joseph Co.).  Storm pics. from NBC5 in Chicago.


Skeeter Meter

July 7th, 2015 at 11:39 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

skeeter meter   It’s time for the Skeeter Meter.  Leave a comment and let us know how the skeeters (or any other summer critter) are in your area and/or letting us know what you do to keep the snout-suckers away.

Also:  Animation of Western Pacific typhoons (Atlantic stays quiet).  Tropical Storm to pass north of Hawaii - not a threat.  So far this year, 10 tornado fatalities in the U.S., 17 lightning fatalities (that we know of).  The latest lightning fatality was a 12-year old girl.   A microburst with 90 mph winds struck South Deerfield, MA Tuesday aftn.  4.23″ of rain in Indianapolis.   Hudson Bay now about 50% open water/50% ice – Great Bear Lake has thawed out.  Check out the Barrow, Alaska webcam – 24 hours of daylight up there thru the first couple days of August.  Watch the one-day animation to see the sun dip toward the horizon after midnight to the north and then start to rise again.  Abilene, TX had its wettest July day ever on Tues. and wettest all-time (8.26″); old record for July: 5.67″, 7/6/2002, and old all-time record was: 6.54″, 5/11/1928.

Index update…the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) comes back to or goes a little above averagethe Arctic Oscillation (AO) is coming back toward average…the PNA (Pacific North American Pattern) looks to stay above average…and the model has the Antarctic Oscillation kind of blowing up!  The 8-14 day outlook from CPC has Lower Michigan leaning cool and wet.


Earthquake in West Michigan

June 30th, 2015 at 12:08 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

earthquake 6 30  Click on the image to enlarge.  We’ve had another earthquake in Michigan this morning shortly before noon.  If you felt it, leave a comment.   3.3 magnitude earthquake 7 miles northeast of Union City (Calhoun County) or about 13 miles SSE of Battle Creek.  WOOD-TV did a live hit this evening from the actual cornfield that was at the center of the quake.  So this was significantly weaker than the earthquake in May.    Remember we had a magnitude 4.2 earthquake on 5/2 at 12:23 pm.  That was centered 5.5 miles south of Galesburg.  The earthquake today was centered 5 kilometers (think of a 5k race) underground.  An earthquake of this magnitude usually produces very little or no damage.

From the Detroit Free Press:  “The number of earthquakes has increased dramatically over the last few years in much of the U.S. From 1973 to 2008, there was an average of 21 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 and larger in the central and eastern U.S., the USGS reported. This rate jumped to an average of 99 earthquakes of that intensity per year from 2009 to 2013, and the rate continues to rise. In 2014 alone, there were 659 magnitude-3.0 and larger earthquakes in the same geographical area, USGS reported.”  Check out their article here.

Earthquakes centered in Michigan are rare.  The biggest earthquake in “modern” times was a 4.6 magnitude quake that occurred on 8/9/1947 centered near Coldwater.   Two VERY strong earthquakes that shook most of the U.S. on 12/11/1811 and 2/8/1812 were felt strongly in Michigan.  Those quakes were centered along the Mississippi River in far SE Missouri and were strong enough to ring church bells in Boston.

At noon, it was only 63 deg. in G.R. – a chilly 46 deg. at Munising and 45 at Copper Harbor.  Here’s Michigan current conditions.

Also:  Typhoon Chan-horn forming in the Western Pacific…heading north of Guam.  Recurving typhoons often mean cooler than average temps. in the Great Lakes and East (though this particular typhoon may go into China – not sure if it will recurve yet).  Patchy fog over Lake Michigan…another day with limited solar warming of the lake water.  The south mid-Lake buoy is not reporting right now…the north mid-Lake Michigan buoy is 44.2 deg. and dropping since the wind has come up and the water is mixing.  The water temp. there at the buoy dropped 11.6 degrees between 8:50 am and 4:50 pm.  The smoke plume from Canadian wildfires is still well west of Michigan.   Santiago, Chile has only had 4 days w/ measurable rainfall totaling 6.2mm (0.24”) so far this year- normal is 167.4mm (6.59”).   A record 104 degrees F in Madrid, Spain yesterday.


Venus & Jupiter Closest Tonight

June 30th, 2015 at 2:15 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

venus jupiter   Click on the image to enlarge.  Tonight (Tues. June 30) will be an awesome night to view the evening sky.  To the west, the planets Venus and Jupiter will be only 1/3rd of a degree apart – they’ll appear to be touching each other!  Check out this cool video from NASA about the coming together or “conjunction” of the two prominent planets.  Now look at this diagram to show you where Venus, Jupiter and Earth are relative to each other, the earth and the sun.    Venus appears brighter than Jupiter, because it’s significantly closer to us.   Tonight, Venus is about 48 million miles from the Earth.  Jupiter is 12 times farther away, at 565 million miles from the Earth. In reality, Jupiter is 11.8 times bigger than Venus.  Because the orbit of Venus is inside that of the Earth, we never see a “full” Venus (like we can see a full moon).  If you look at Venus through a telescope or a good set of binoculars. it will be a fat crescent.  This conjunction of Venus and Jupiter is more common than you might think.  Next year on August 27th, the two planets will be even closer – at 0.1 degree apart!   Fred Schaaf, contributing editor for Sky and Telescope pointed out that this current string of Venus-Jupiter conjunctions in the mid 2010s closely resembles a similar series of conjunctions that appeared in the western sky between the years 3 and 2 B.C. It has been suggested that their joint appearance came to be known as the Star of Bethlehem.  Quite a few historians place the time of the birth of Jesus as the spring of 4 BC (the 4-year error was due to not knowing at the time the calendar was formulated that Caesar Augustus (where the name of the month of August comes from) ruled for four years under the name Octavian.  Spring was when shepherds were most apt to be watching their flocks by night.  The two planets will slowly separate as we move through the month of July, but still remain relatively close through mid-month.

We also can turn to the ESE in the evening and see the brilliant full moon.  Technically, the moment of full moon is tomorrow night, July 1 at 10:20 pm EDT.  We have two full moons in the month of July.  The full moon of July 1 is the “Buck Moon“.  The second full moon of the month is called a “Blue Moon“.   The moon won’t appear bluish on 7/31 – it’ll look like any other full moon.  The term “blue moon” has been used for nearly 500 years.  This is also the full moon closest to the Summer Solstice (which occurred on June 21).  So, this full moon is the full moon that hangs lowest in the southern sky.   Off to the left an a little higher up in the sky, you can see the star Regulus.  For more on our evening sky, check out this week’s Sky at a Glance.  No ISS flyovers here in Michigan until 7/12.    (pic. is a screen grab from the NASA video by NBC12.com).


Watch Coming !!!

June 22nd, 2015 at 8:39 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

mcd1124   80% chance of a Tornado Watch soon!   SPC says:  “SUMMARY…TORNADO WATCH MAY BE REQUIRED BY 01Z FROM LOWER MI SWWD INTO NERN IL. DISCUSSION…LARGE SCALE ASCENT APPEARS TO BE INCREASING ACROSS LOWER MI PER EXPANDING ELEVATED CONVECTION THAT IS EVOLVING ATOP BOUNDARY LAYER STRATUS. WHILE 00Z SOUNDING AT DTX IS NOTABLY CAPPED…800MB TEMPERATURE IS 7C COOLER AT GRB IN CLOSER PROXIMITY TO SHORT-WAVE TROUGH. COOLING PROFILES ACROSS THIS REGION SHOULD CONTRIBUTE TO WEAKER INHIBITION OVER THE NEXT FEW HOURS AND ELEVATED CONVECTION IS EXPECTED TO STRENGTHEN AND NEAR-SFC BASED TSTMS WILL LIKELY EVOLVE WITH TIME…ESPECIALLY OVER SRN LOWER MI INTO NRN INDIANA. SHEAR PROFILES STRONGLY SUPPORT DEEP ROTATING UPDRAFTS AND GIVEN THE INSTABILITY OBSERVED SUPERCELLS SHOULD EVOLVE. ADDITIONALLY…DISCRETE SUPERCELL OVER NRN IL IS EXPECTED TO TRACK SEWD ALONG DECAYED OUTFLOW BOUNDARY TO THE SOUTH SIDE OF THE CHICAGO METRO AREA OVER THE NEXT FEW HOURS. THIS ACTIVITY COULD SPREAD INTO NWRN INDIANA LATER THIS EVENING.

from NWS :  – 900pm – We are on a conference call with @NWSSPC to coordinate a possible tornado watch in Southern Lower Michigan. #wmiwx #miwx

A heavy storm is over Gratiot Co.  Other showers and a couple of t-showers are southeast of a line from Muskegon to Mt. Pleasant.   No severe weather has been reported yet this evening.


Severe T-Storm Watch has been cancelled

June 22nd, 2015 at 1:36 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

WW0333 Radar      Confirmed tornado touchdown in Portland around 2:40 pm, on the ground for approx. 10 minutes, preliminary EF1. with 100 mph winds.  Damage in the millions.   NWS has a survey team on the scene. WOOD has had 4 crews in Portland.  We just showed some amazing drone video.   Severe damage to the Goodwill Building (3 were trapped inside…they were uninjured), the Rite Aid and the First Baptist Church.  No serious injuries there, we are told, just a few (5) minor injuries.  Many trees toppled and uprooted.  Damage west of Portland, one  structure fire, 8-10 fire depts. have responded to the Portland tornado path.  Gas leaks have been taken care of.  Canines checking for any further victims.  “Stay out of the area!!” – police.

We have a Tornado Watch for much of eastern Iowa and northern Illinonis.  We have a Severe T-Storm Watch for N. Wisconsin and the SW U.P.   We also have a Severe T-Storm Watch for N. Ohio.  There was a Tornado Warning over by Cedar Point.   Check out the updated Severe Weather Outlook Area and Probabilities here.   The Enhanced Risk Area has been shifted down into Illnois and Indiana.  We remain in a Slight Risk Area for this Evening.   There is a Beach Hazard – high risk of rip currents and structural currents this evening.

At 5:30 pm, 6,101 Consumers Energy customers without power, including 829 in Kent Co. (mostly small outages in 16 separate counties).   Trees and wires were down at 36th and Clay in Wyoming.  Minor building damage, trees down at 44th and Clay.  Looks like a wet microburst.  1.1″ rain in 40 minutes in Ada.

Kyle and I are tracking the showers and storms in Wisconsin.  If those develop into storms (big “if”), we could see a shower or storm at the lakeshore by 9:30 pm and into G.R. around 10-10:15 pm.   Breezy at times…Muskegon had a wind gust to 39 mph.