Winter Storm Watch!

November 16th, 2014 at 3:53 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

advisory   The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for most of West Michigan from Monday afternoon through Tuesday evening.  The Watch will likely be upgraded to a Warning.  The NWS warns of “heavy lake-effect snow, strong west winds, blowing and drifting snow, wind chills down to zero, possible whiteout conditions, dangerous driving conditions”.  Read the G.R. NWS discussion.  It says:  “INSTABILITY BECOMES EXTREME AS THE ARCTIC AIR SPILLS IN FROM THE  WEST AND (Lake Michigan) WATER TEMPERATURES ARE LARGELY IN THE MID 40S. THUS A CONSIDERABLE RESPONSE FROM THE LAKE IS EXPECTED… IF 500 MB TEMPERATURES DO  FALL TO COLDER THAN MINUS 40 OVER THE LAKE…AS SHOWN BY THE NAM  AND GFS (models)…THAT IS DRY ADIABATIC UP TO THAT LEVEL…WHICH IS VERY UNUSUAL. MODELS SHOW INVERSION HEIGHTS CLIMBING TO OVER 15,000  FT…WITH STRONGER OMEGA IN THE DGZ. ALL THIS SPELLS HEAVY LAKE EFFECT SNOW. AS THE COLDER AIR WRAPS AROUND THE SOUTHERN END OF LAKE MI…ENHANCED LOW LEVEL CONVERGENCE IS LIKELY TO LEAD TO AN I-94 BAND OF SNOW…EXTENDING WELL INLAND TOWARD BATTLE CREEK AND CHARLOTTE…IT LOOKS TO ME LIKE CONDITIONS WILL DETERIORATE CONSIDERABLY FOR THE EVENING COMMUTE MONDAY. THIS IS WHEN TEMPERATURES FALL INTO THE UPPER TEENS TO LOW 20S…INSTABILITY INCREASES CONSIDERABLY AND MIXING HEIGHTS  DEEPEN. MOST LOCATIONS WILL SEE GUSTS OVER 30 MPH. THAT COMBINED  WITH HEAVY LAKE EFFECT SNOW SHOULD LEAD TO CONSIDERABLE BLOWING SNOW AND THUS A RISK WHITEOUT CONDITIONS. THUS AN INCREASED POTENTIAL  FOR HIGHWAY PILEUPS…ESPECIALLY FOR PORTIONS OF I96…I196 AND  I94. POSSIBLY FOR THE MONDAY EVENING COMMUTE…BUT MOST LIKELY FOR  MUCH OF TUESDAY.  It won’t be much better on Weds.  I’ve mentioned for several days that we’ll see school closings on Tuesday (and maybe Wednesday).  Travel Monday will be better early than late.  Travel Monday night and Tuesday may be difficult and time-consuming. NAM  The wintry pattern will last much of the week.  Gale Warnings will be in effect for the Lake Michigan shoreline.       Also:  WOW – latest CFS model says cold winter for much of the U.S.   Bittersweet Ski Area staying open ’til 9 today (Sun.).

NAM model forecast snowfall, GFS model forecast snowfall, NWS snowfall forecastLower Michigan snow forecast map.


Coldest in 127 years of record!

Winter Weather Advisory, Sat. Night and Sun.

November 14th, 2014 at 3:34 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

advisory   Winter Weather Advisory for Allegan, Ottawa, Kent, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Mason and Lake Counties from 7 pm Sat. to 4 pm Sun.  for over 6″ of snow.  I’ll bet someone gets 10″ out of this…with much less snow where the wind misses Lake Michigan, southeast of a line from Benton Harbor to Ionia to Mt. Pleasant.  The cold shot coming Mon. – Tues. looks impressive with snow, drifting snow and strong winds.  Bet there will be some schools closed on Tuesday (maybe even a few on Monday), esp. in the lakeshore counties.  Check out European model snowcover for next Tuesday evening – is it January yet?

Also:  7.6” of snow falls in Boise, ID, breaking the record for most snow in a November storm.  Inferior mirage at sunsetSnow on the mountaintops in E. TennesseeFreezing fog along the Missouri River in Bismarck ND this morningFall colors in N. AlabamaFall colors and the skyline of Birmingham.   What a cold week for the first half of Nov.  Lake-effect clouds over Lake Erie.

Great Lakes Water Levels

November 14th, 2014 at 3:19 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

North American Snow Cover  snow gile wisconsin nws duluth This is the Thurs. AM North American snow cover map.  19.8% of the Continental U.S. had a snow cover.  You can see the lake-effect snow on the ground downwind from the Great Lakes with the prevailing westerly wind.  The picture on the right is from Gile, Wisconsin (from NWS Duluth) where they are (as of midnight) up to 49.3″ of snow for the week!

The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron has dropped nearly 2″ in the last week.  The level is unchanged in the last month, 20″ above the level of one year ago and 6″ above the long-term average.  Lake Superior is down 1″ in the last week and also unchanged in the last month.  Superior is now 11″ above the level of one year ago and 9″ above the century average for November.  Lake Erie is down 2″ in the last month, up 7″ in the last year and stands 8″ above the long-term average.  Lake Ontario is down 5″ in the last month, down 5″ in the last year and 1″ below the century average.  Lake St. Clair is down 1″ in the last month, up 12″ in the last year and 9″ above the long-term average.   Flow out of Lake Superior down the St. Mary’s River should remain “well above average” for the rest of 2014.  Flow on the Detroit and Niagara Rivers is expected to remain above average.

Also, the satellite loop from S. Dakota was showing lake-effect clouds and flurries coming off the ponds on the Missouri River!  Shades of the high water levels of 1986-87Killer Shrimp!   Submarines in Lake MichiganStorm and big waves cause color change to Lake MichiganErosion damage to Lake Huron shoreNaming a bridge for a hockey starSpace Station to give CATS scan to the Great LakesYabby prohibited!

Possible Black Ice Tonight into Friday Morning

November 13th, 2014 at 12:25 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

advisory  Snow in Gile Wisconsin Snow Marquette Harbor - Kenny McFarland and MQT NWS facebook 11 13 15 Pic. in the middle is Gile, Wisconsin, where they have had 48.3″ of snow since Sunday night! Pic. on the right is the marina at Marquette, Michigan with 25″ of snow on the ground – the most they have ever had this early in winter.   The Winter Weather Advisory continue for the lakeshore counties, plus Kalamazoo and Lake Counties.  Here’s radar, storm total precipitation (you can see the heavier snow that has fallen in Ottawa and Allegan Co.) and current weather observations.  The National Weather Service issued a statement warning of black ice and slick roads.   Heaviest snow showers at noon in Ottawa, SW Kent, Allegan, and far W. Barry County.  Snow totals:  11″ Coopersville, 10″ Nunica, 9″ Allendale and Burnips, 7.5″ Jenison, 7″ Hudsonville, 5″  Grandville and Spring Lake, 4″ Muskegon, 3″ Marne and Martin, 1″ Grand Rapids and at my place in Alpine Township.   12 1/2 inches since 5:30 in LES band north of Grayling MI.

Also – temperatures in the state of Wyoming where as much as 50 degrees below average this morning!  Low of -24F in Rawlins, WY, this morning shatters the previous Nov. 13 record from 1959 (-3F) by 21 degrees.  Coldest spot in the U.S. this morning was Lucerne, Wyoming with -34F.   23.9°F CONUS (Lower-48) coldest hourly reading prior to Nov 20th since 1986 (23.1°F) and 15 degrees colder than climate average!    Two record lows for price of one. -13°F before midnight on Nov 12th, then -14°F on 13th in Denver.  A dusting of snow on the ground this morning all the way down to Memphis (earliest measurable snow ever), Nashville and Little Rock.  Snow in Grand Haven this morning.  Pine Bluff recorded 0.1 inches of sleet, the earliest measurable snowfall on record. Prev. record was 11/14/1976. Records since 1883.  Little Rock’s snow was the earliest measurable since 11/2/1951, 3rd earliest. Only 11/9/1892 and 11/2/1951 earlier. Records since 1874.

CFSv2 shows coldest air during Christmas week centered over Lake Michigan.  Great week for winter sports and ski areas if this comes true.  Even Florida shivers.

Lake-Effect Snow in the U.P.

November 13th, 2014 at 2:36 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Snow Ishpeming 11 12 14 uppermihigans source matt zika  snow ishpeming 11 12 14 uppernmichigans source cassie lynnSnow upper michigans source melissa potvin 11 12 14snow in negaunee linda livermore uppermichigan's source Here’s some pictures from of the heavy snow around the Marquette/Ishpeming area.  Click on the pictures to enlarge – they’re pretty impressive.   Here’s some snowfall totals from the U.P. (scroll down at the link).  Lake-Effect Snow Advisories continue for much of Upper Michigan and far Northern Lower Michigan.  Marquette set a record for 16″ of snow midnight-to-midnight on Tuesday and a water equivilant of 1.89″.

Also:  Laramie, WY failed to reach the 0-degree mark on Wednesday with a high temperature of -1F.  Casper WY low temp. Tues. of -26 broke the daily record low by 15 degrees!  That also broke the coldest temperature ever in November for Casper by 5 deg.    Denver set records yesterday for low temperature (-13F) and lowest high temperature for the date (+6). Earthquake – Magnitude 4.9  39mi ESE of Lakeview, Oregon.  I got this cool link from Craig James.   Snow flurries at 3 am in Little Rock AR – earliest snow in over 20 years.  Fall color in Alabama.   This guy’s excited about tracking snow for deer season.

Great Lakes Water Levels

November 7th, 2014 at 1:59 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Lake Michigan and Marie Fall 2014   Click on the picture to enlarge.  This is the Lake Michigan shoreline, showing the higher water levels eroding the edge of the dunes.  The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is up one inch in the past month (at a time when the lake level is more apt to go down a couple inches).  The lake is up 22″ in the last year and is now 8″ higher than the long-term average for November.  The highest water level ever in November on Lake Michigan/Huron was in November 1986 and the lowest level ever in November was in 1964.  Lake Superior is down one inch in the last month.  However, Superior is up 11″ year-to-year and is now 9″ higher than the November century average.   Lake Erie is down 2″ in the last month, up 7″ in the last year and is now 8″ higher than the long-term average.  Lake Ontario is down 5″ in the last month and year-to-year and is now 1″ below the century average.  Lake St. Clair is down 1″ in the last month, but up an even foot in the past year and is 9″ above the long-term average.  The flow out of Lake Superior down the St. Mary’s River into Lake Huron continues well above average.  The outflow form Lake Huron into Lake Erie through the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers is above average.  The flow out of Lake Erie down the Niagara River is also above average.  The water temperature of the Great Lakes is slightly cooler than average.

The anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald is coming up.  Lake-effect snow on Lake ErieCleaning up debris that washed up with the big waves and strong winds last week.  The Halloween storm also caused damage in Northern IndianaCoast Guard find zombie floating in Lake Michigan, huh?


Arctic Blast – Snow and Cold

November 6th, 2014 at 3:06 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather    Click on the images to enlarge.  The first map is the 6-10 day (Nov. 11-15) temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center.  That’s about as dark a blue as I have ever seen.  The Arctic blast is coming and it’s going to affect just about everyone east of the Rockies.  The cold will set records.   The middle map is the precipitation outlook for the 6-10 day period (Nov. 11-15).  Note the green over much of Michigan.  That’s snow and probably lots of it.  The third map on the right is the temperature outlook fro Nov. 13-19 – showing the cold will be slow to leave.  This is serious cold and snow.  The surface map for next Tuesday morning shows a low pressure center over Michigan and a HUGE high pressure ridge from Northern Canada into the Northern Rockies.   The air flow is coming straight out of the Arctic.  Note that we have built up an extensive snow cover already across N. CanadaIce is already forming on the edge of Hudson Bay.  The overnight GFS forecasts 15″ of snow for Pellston and 10″ for Sault Ste. Marie by next Weds. evening.  For Grand Rapids, the overnight European shows a few snow showers developing  Sat. PM as the rain ends, another 1-2″ of snow for late Sunday and what would be about 4″ of snow for Weds. PM.  If the European is right, it’s possible we may not get much above 40 next week and we’ll have a couple of days when it may struggle to get above the freezing mark.   Overnight tweet from Dr. Ryan Maue:  “Next week, Great Lakes get ready for mountains of Lake Effect snow.”  Overnight tweet from meteorologist Joe Bastardi:  “Experimental GFS..YIKES!   Could bust early season cold records.  Shades of 1976 winter continue to show up”   (1976-77 is the coldest winter Grand Rapids has had since 1904).  Much of Central and Eastern Russia got a snow cover early this fall and I’ve mentioned several times there is a good correlation between cold/snowy winters in the Great Lakes and early snow in Northeast Asia.  Snow is already solid in the Alps (cool pic. just after sunrise this am).   The dreaded Arctic “hummingbird” (map next Tues. am).   Arctic is continues to build…the icecap extent is now closer to average than where it was at just two years agoArctic ice extent now compared to 6 years agoAntarctic ice extent now 2 standard deviations above average.

Also, major snow and wind in Alaska:  83 mph gust at Vaughn Lewis Ice-Fall, AK, 70 mph gusts with roof damage 10 mi NW of Ketchikan, AK.  The remains of Typhoon Nuri will move into the Bering Sea and they are forecasting waves up to 50 feet!   “CENTRAL PRESSURE WITH THIS SYSTEM DROPS FROM AROUND 970 MB LATE THURSDAY NIGHT…TO BETWEEN 918 TO 922 MB LATE FRIDAY NIGHT. THIS WOULD CREATE A SIGNIFICANT EVENT AS THE CURRENT RECORD LOWEST PRESSURE OBSERVED IN THE BERING SEA IS 925 MB MEASURED AT DUTCH HARBOR ON OCTOBER 25 1977.”  (note the date – late 70s show up again).  Up to 8″ of snow fell near Anchorage.  A Red Cross Rescue spokesman said that the snowfall and blizzard in 11 provinces of Iran had crippled 2000 people.” (I’m guessing that the word “crippled” means “trapped.)   50 cm (20 inches) of snow fell in Artvin, Turkey. On a plateau near Rize a car was stuck in 2 meters of snow.  “Sweden’s weather agency has issued 25 separate warnings across Sweden as heavy snowfall threatens to wreak havoc.”   San Antonio, TX, broke its Nov. 5 rain record with 2.3″.   Skating in New York City.   Snow in Minnesota.    Magnitude-4.5 earthquake 90 mi SE of Klamath Falls, OR.

Early Snow Cover Points to Cold Winter

October 28th, 2014 at 8:40 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Snow Cover Northern Hemisphere 10 28 14  Snow Cover Eurasia 10 28 14  Snow Cover Canada Oct. 28 2014Click on these images from Environment Canada to enlarge.  The graph on the left is total snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere, the graph in the center is snow cover in Eurasia and the graph on the right is snow cover in N. America (Canada and Alaska)  We continue to have a huge build-up of snow in the northern areas of the Northern Hemisphere.  The bottom line in these graphics is average snow cover.  The line above that is one standard deviation above average.  The red line represents the growing snow cover this fall.  From Canada across Siberia to northern Europe, snow has come significantly earlier than average.  There is a strong correlation between early snow cover in eastern Asia and cold/snowy winters in the eastern U.S.  Air that sits over all that snow is going to be cold and getting colder as the sun continues to retreat to the south until we reach the Winter Solstice on Dec. 21.  While this is just one element that is considered in making a winter forecast, this early build-up of snow suggests that governmental units, charities and families should be prepared for the possibility of extended periods of colder and/or snowier weather relative to average  this winter.  This would especially be a factor in the mid-South that are not used to getting much snow in the winter.

Some Good News

October 27th, 2014 at 12:22 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

gas prices  Let’s start off this Monday with some good news.  Here’s the latest from Ed:

Sunday, October 26, 2014, 5:00PM:  “On June 5, there was a hike to $3.99 in Michigan.  Today, you can find gas under $3.  What a move!  Looking ahead, the recent jump $3.19 coincided with another drop in wholesale prices, so there is a lot of room for prices to drop this week.  I would be looking for gas below $2.90 in places soon.

Now, what explains this 25% drop in retail prices since June, and an even better record the past several years?  I have a few theories:  (1) In September, I wonder if some hedge funds got caught “leaning the wrong way”, betting on higher energy prices.  When that did not materialize, they had to liquidate their bets, causing a sudden drop in prices.  I have no evidence of this, other than I’ve seen this happen before, especially in stocks and other commodities.  (2)  There is significant evidence that the demand for oil and gas has been falling the past several years, while the supply has been rising, due in part to significant increases in US production.  We have been driving less, buying fewer cars, and fuel efficiency has been improving. Consequently, we have been buying less gasoline (which is what the Democrats wanted), while supplies have been increasing (which is what the Republicans wanted).  Hence, a bipartisan victory — lower prices.  (3)  Energy “investors” are looking at the Middle East differently than they did a decade ago.  Then, with the war in Iraq, there was a “global tensions premium” built into energy prices.  As our involvement in Iraq has wound down, the premium has slowly disappeared, and, in the case of the past few months, not so slowly.  What is confounding about this theory is that we have new Middle Eastern tensions (a.k.a., ISIS).  But, perhaps ISIS is not as big a deal as it appears, or perhaps the US really is heading towards energy independence as politicians have talked about since 9/11, and finally, in 2014, we are starting to reap the benefits.

In terms of the Gas Game, it is harder to predict price hikes when there are fewer hikes.  But I’m not complaining!!!! — Ed A.

Great Lakes Water Levels

October 24th, 2014 at 2:22 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Lake Michigan Mackinac Bridge Michelle Olin Oct. 2014   Great picture from a few days ago of the Mackinac Bridge – by Michelle Olin.  The big story – Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are 22″ higher than one year ago!  Wow…22 times 390 billion gallons per inch = a gain of 8.58 TRILLION gallons of water in just one year.  For Lake Huron, that’s 22 times 400 billion gallons per inch = 8.8 trillion gallons.  These are the biggest one-year rises ever recorded on the lakes.  Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are both up 1″ in the last month and are now 4″ above the long-term October average.  From Aug. 1 to Oct. 1 the water level of Lakes Michigan and Huron rose 2″.  On average, those lakes drop 5″ during those 2 months.   Lake Superior is unchanged in the last month, up 10″ year-to-year and the lake is now 8″ above the century average.  Lake Erie is down 2″ in the last month, but the lake is up 8″ in the past year and is now 7″ above the long-term average.  Lake Ontario is down 6″ in the last month and down 2″ in the last year.  Ontario is 2″ below the century average.  Lake St. Clair is down 1″ in the last month, up 16″ in the last year and is now 9″ above average.   If you add up all the Great Lakes – the sum total comes to a one-year increase of 23.99 trillion gallons of water!  That’s enough water to give every person in drought-stricken California approximately 600,000 gallons of water!  The phenomenal increase in the water levels of the lakes is due to above average precipitation, below average evaporation and a longer period with ice-cover last winter.

Also:  State record muskie caught in Torch Lake.  At 50 pounds, 8 ounces – it beat the old record by 2.5 pounds!   7.5 million dollars raised to buy dune land at Saugatuck, MichiganMichigan National Guard testing wind funnelsCleveland christens “floating office”Ghost ships of the Great Lakes.