Monday – Clean-Up

July 7th, 2014 at 10:49 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

damage 1   damage 4  The Grand Rapids National Weather Service has confirmed that damage in Kent County was from an EF1  tornado.  They say:  “*** 6 INJURED *** NWS STORM SURVEY CONFIRMED AN EF-1 TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN IN BYRON CENTER BEFORE MOVING INTO WYOMING AND THEN KENTWOOD BEFORE LIFTING. THE TORNADO HAD MAXIMUM WINDS OF 100 TO 110 MPH. THE PATH LENGTH WAS 6.25 MILES AND THE WIDTH WAS 300-400 YARDS.. Aerial view of storms damage from Adam Dabaja.  There is a Flood Warning for the Pine River at Alma, where the river will rise to a couple inches above flood stage.   There is a Flood Advisory for the Grand River at Ionia and the Maple River in Clinton County with the river will cause some minor flooding, but stay below flood stage.  Rainfall:  4.90″ Alma, 4.82″ McBride (E. Montcalm Co.), 3.72″ Bellevue, 3.13″ Elsie (Clinton Co.), 3.00″ Howard City, 2.74″ Ionia, 2.60″ White Cloud, 2.31″ Grand Ledge, 2.30″ Entrican (Montcalm Co.), 2.00″ Mt. Pleasant, 1.90″ Lansing and DeWitt, 1.68″ Grand Rapids, 1.44″ Hastings.  Hail was reported in Holland and Jenison.  Wind gusts hit 45 mph at the Ford Airport in G.R.   Here’s W. Michigan storm reports and rainfall totals.   As of 7:45 pm – 1,029 in Kent Co. without power, though a scheduled outage will bump that up close to 3500 for a couple hours this evening.  The path of this tornado is similar to a tornado that occurred on April 21, 1967.   That was an F-3 and destroyed 65 buildings.

Kyle Underwood viewed storm damage and called it a tornado, an EF1.  There were at least 6 injuries and the damage path goes on for at least 6.25 miles from S. Wyoming into Kentwood and far south G.R.  With these events it’s very hard to tell between tornado and thunderstorm downburst wind damage.  If the tornado had winds of 70 mph and a forward speed of 20 mph, you’d get a resultant 90 mph on the right side of the tornado and 50 mph (and hence little damage) on the north side of the tornado…so the damage would be similar with most of the debris falling in one direction.  The National Weather Service is doing a more complete damage survey and make the ultimate call.  Here’s more on the Sunday night storms from the GRR NWS.  In their summary, they say:  “In the reflectivity data, in the next-to-last frame, an area of higher reflectivity appears over Kentwood, likely indicative of lofted debris   The “lofted debris” is an indication of a tornado. Here’s a list of roads closed as they clean up debris from the storm.  Here’s photos of the storm and storm damage.   Lower Michigan is in the General Thunderstorm Outlook for this PM/Night, but not a Slight Risk Area.  Here’s Grand Rapids Radar and Regional Radar.

Also, a strong 7.1 magnitude earthquake has hit Mexico and Guatamala.  There are fatalities.

Great Lakes Water Levels

July 4th, 2014 at 2:39 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Lake Superior between MQT and Munising - Michelle Olin   Picture of Lake Superior between Marquette and Munising by Michelle Olin.  Lake Michigan/Huron is up 4″ in the last month, up 14″ in the last year and just 5″ below the century average (that should drop to -4 or -3 this month).  Lake Superior is up 2″ in the last month, up 13″ year-to-year and is now 6″ above average level.  Lake Erie is up 1″ in the last month, up 5″ in the last year and is now 4″ above the long-term average.  Lake Ontario is down 2″ in the last month, down 1″ year-to-year and is 6″ above the century average.  Lake St. Clair is up 3″ in the last month, up 7″ year-to-year and is 3″ above the long-term average.  Flow down the St. Mary’s River from Lake Superior into Lake Michigan/Huron will remain above average through July.  River levels in West Michigan remain above average flow.   The Grand River in Grand Rapids is falling very slowly and is at 4,600 cfs compared to an average flow of 2,740 cfs.  Lake Michigan beach water temperatures are in the 60s.  The mid-Lake Michigan buoy west of Holland (east-southeast of Milwaukee) shows a water temp. of 51°.

Fourth of July

July 4th, 2014 at 4:02 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Flag American Happy Fourth of July or Independence Day. A little history from Wikipedia:

“The legal separation of the 13 Colonies from Great Britain actually occurred on July 2, 1776, when the 2nd Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence (from Great Britain).After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4. A day earlier, John Adams had written to his wife, Abigail:  “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

His prediction was off by two days, but it’s pretty much what many of us will do today. From the outset, Americans celebrated independence on July 4, the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress.  Historians have long disputed whether Congress actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, even though Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin all later wrote separately that they had signed it on that day. At one point during that day, it was noted the temperature was 76° and that a thundershower occurred at 4 pm.

In a remarkable coincidence, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as President, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. Although not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, but another Founding Father who became a President, James Monroe, also died on July 4 – in 1831, thus becoming the third President in a row who died on July 4th. Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President, was born on July 4, (in 1872), and is the only President to have been born on Independence Day.”

Hurricane Arthur

July 3rd, 2014 at 12:24 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

[Image of 5-day forecast and coastal areas under a warning or a watch] Hurricane Arthur has exited the Outer Banks of North Carolina today (the 4th) to the northeast and is heading toward Nantucket and Nova Scotia (then a tropical storm, not a hurricane).  Look at Highway 12, the main highway on the Outer Banks.    Nantucket should see some 60 mph gusts (note how beat up the hurricane flags are at the link).  Arthur will create rough seas all up and down the East Coast.  100-mph wind gusts have occurred on the Outer Banks of NC.  There is flooding on the Outer Banks, which are low barrier islands that have always shifted due to storms. Here’s the Public Advisory on the storm…the Forecast Discussion…the High Wind Probability Map…the Funktop Satellite view of the storm, a Visible Image of the storm (daytime only), a satellite loop of the storm and New England Regional Radar.   Combination of Arthur and old front should produce 1-3″ rains over much of New England.   Arthur is the earliest hurricane to hit N.C. in a season since records began in 1851.  Hurricane Arthur is the first Category 2 hurricane to directly hit the U.S. since Ike in 2008 (a long time in between Cat 2 storms).

Great Lakes Water Levels

July 2nd, 2014 at 3:05 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Kollen Park - Maranda picture    This is a picture of Kollen Park in Holland on the shores of Lake Macatawa.  I was there last night for a little picnic and to hear the fine Holland American Legion Band – that band has been together for 95 years.  They play free concerts Tuesday nights in the summer.  Lake Macatawa connects to Lake Michigan, so the water level of the lake goes up and down with the water level of Lake Michigan.   We’ll (I’ll be at this Park Party) be there in Kollen Park for the next Maranda Park Party, which will be July 10.

The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is up 3″ in the last month. The lake is 10″ higher than it was one year ago and is now just 5″ below the long-term average. Lake Superior is 4″ in the last month. Superior is 13″ higher than it was last year at this time and is a full 7″ above the century average. Lake Erie is up 1″ in the last month and up 7″ year-to-year. Erie is 4″ above average water level and Lake Ontario is unchanged in the last month and 5″ above the long-term average. Lake St. Clair is up 3″ in the last month, up 10″ in the last year and 4″ above the century average. Outflow out of Lake Superior down the St. Mary’s River into Lake Huron is expected to be above average through July. Outflow from Lake Erie down the Niagara River, over Niagara Falls and into Lake Ontario is also expected to be above average flow.

The 10″ of water added to Lake Michigan is (at 390 billion gallons per inch) 3.9 TRILLION gallons of extra water in the lake since one year ago…a pretty amazing jump.

The south mid-Lake Michigan buoy remains at a very cold 46°.   I see the N.Y. Times has noticed the higher lake levels.  Note the article says:  “…the Great Lakes are now abruptly on the rise, a development that has startled scientists…The International Joint Commission, a group with members from the United States and Canada that advises on water resources, completed a five-year study in April 2013 concluding that water levels in the lakes were likely to drop even farther, in part because of the lack of precipitation in recent years brought on by climate change.”   That obviously hasn’t happened.  CO2 and the water levels of the Great Lakes do not make a good match.    Also, Great Lakes shipwreckslowering the threshold for “contaminated” beaches…and…using the cold waters of the Great Lakes to cool industry.

Happy July

July 1st, 2014 at 5:42 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

butterfly   July – warmest month of the year – month with the highest percent of possible sunshine – the garden is growing and starting to yield the first tasty homegrown treats – it’s the middle of the baseball and golf seasons…sports where you exercise a little, but not too much in the summer heat.  Many families take vacations in July, timed to the warm weather and long summer days – especially here in Michigan where we have so many recreational opportunities.  When I was a kid, we played baseball in the street…we went around the block to see if Mrs. Schurzer would let Chloe (the dog) out to play with us…we rode our bicycles – all over the neighborhood -  and to the drugstore to buy baseball cards with gum inside or to get a pack of Chuckles or Life Savers.  Most of the boys were in Little League and Boy Scouts.  I went to Scout Camp (Camp Ma-Ka-Ja-Wan) four summers…driving from Wilmette, Illinois to northern Wisconsin on an old yellow school bus with no air-conditioning and no restroom.  I remember as a kid – that first summer day when my dad took me to Wrigley Field.  I saw it so many times on TV, but there I was right there, walking down Addison St.  You go through the gate and up the stairs and through the tunnel – Wow!  There was the perfectly manicured grass, the famous scoreboard above center field and the vine-covered outfield walls.  I saw Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Billy Williams, Kenny Hubbs…did you know that in 1962, Lou Brock played center field for the Cubs and his salary was $8,000 – Ernie Banks was making a whopping $55,000 (by far the most on the team) and Ron Santo $22,500.  As late as 1977, bleacher seats at Wrigley Field cost as little as 75 cents (now it can cost you $67 for a marquee game) and you could buy a Frosty Malt for a quarter from a guy with one tooth.  Up until 1985, all the bleacher seats were only sold on the day of the game.  All the games were day games – the first night game at Wrigley wasn’t until 1988.

I’m up late…still not very tired after staying at the station past 4 am for severe weather coverage.   It’s now 5:30 am and I’ve watched the morning twilight building in the northeast.  The birds are singing brightly to welcome this new month.  It’ll be a little breezy today.  West winds will keep temperatures a little cooler near the lake, which will be a bit choppy today.  We have a chance of a light shower Weds. but the rest of the week is overall dry.  A shower could sneak in Sunday, but more likely Sun. night or Monday.  It’ll be a little cooler Weds. to Fri. with temperatures back in the low-mid 70s with lower humidity.  Looks like June will come in around 1.7 deg. warmer than average for G.R. (with no 90° yet) with 5.15″ of rain (everything is green) and 59% of possible sunshine.   Today we start the 2nd half of the year.  Happy July!

Mid 70s and rather windy at Noon.  HIGH STRUCTURAL CURRENT RISK this afternoon near breakwaters…esp. at Grand Haven St. Park – DO NOT SWIM ANYWHERE NEAR THE GRAND HAVEN PIER THIS AFTERNOON!  This applies to the SOUTH SIDE of any pier/breakwater!

Strong to Severe Storm This Evening

June 30th, 2014 at 3:51 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather


Severe T-Storm Watch for Berrien and Cass Counties.  Still getting some wind damage reports from WI/IL – but they are spotty.    SPC SAYS THIS IS A “PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION!”   Update from SPC:   WIDESPREAD DAMAGING WINDS ARE SPREADING ACROSS NORTHERN ILLINOIS AND SOUTHERN WISCONSIN. EXPECT 60-75-MPH WINDS TO REACH CHICAGO TO MILWAUKEE DURING THE 545 PM CDT TO 700 PM CDT TIME FRAME. BRIEF TORNADOES MAY ALSO OCCUR. DISCUSSION…THE ONGOING MATURE…DERECHO-PRODUCING MCS IS EXHIBITING AROUND 50-55 KT OF FORWARD MOTION AND HAS LIKELY REACHED PEAK INTENSITY. WIDESPREAD DAMAGING WINDS HAVE BEEN REPORTED…WITH A RECENT WIND GUST TO 78 MPH MEASURED IN SWRN WI. THE FAST SYSTEM MOTION WILL ENHANCE INFLOW AMIDST AN EXTREMELY UNSTABLE AIR MASS TO SUPPORT MCS MAINTENANCE AND WIDESPREAD DAMAGING WINDS ACROSS NRN IL AND SRN WI INTO EARLY EVENING. LINEAR EXTRAPOLATION OF THE ONGOING ACTIVITY TAKES THE SVR-WIND THREAT ACROSS THE CHICAGO AREA AND MILWAUKEE…PRIMARILY BETWEEN 545 PM CDT AND 700 PM CDT.”  Dewpoints have been in the mid-upper 70s across Illinois this afternoon – really adding fuel to the fire.  The storms in Wisconsin and Illinois  are going to hit here this evening…maybe 8:30 pm at the lakeshore and 9:15 in G.R. and Kalamazoo.  Get ready.  Take down hanging baskets, keep your garage door closed, esp. if it faces west, secure trampolines, pick up and secure anything that might blow around (garbage bin, toys)…don’t park under a tree.  Please watch 24-Hour News 8 for the latest.  Here’s U.S. Storm Reports today – lots of them across Iowa into N. Illinois and S. Wisconsin.  TV comes before the blog.  I’ll update here when and if I can.   Calm weather expected the rest of the week after tonight.   Tornado Watch for much of S. Wisconsin, N. Illinois for “widespread damaging winds”.

Here’s GRR looping radar. Links: Grand Rapids radar, Northern Indiana radar, Chicago radar, Detroit radar and Milwaukee radar. Here’s regional radar, the College of DuPage Radar Map (pick any radar in the U.S.), College of DuPage Grand Rapids radar, GFS snowfall for the next 120 hours and NAM model snowfall for the next 84 hours. 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 Precipitation (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 (Apr. to Nov. only), the North Mid-Lake Michigan Buoy (Apr. to Nov. only), 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 agricultural weather stations and Weather Underground (data at the bottom from private weather stations). Check out the webcam at Krupp’s Resort, where the snow has finally melted and the lake ice is gone. Here’s the U.S. Low Temperature map. Here’s a live look at the Houghton Bridge. Here’s the Consumers Energy Power Outage Map. Here’s Closings.

Severe Outlook Monday/Monday Night

June 30th, 2014 at 2:35 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

1300 UTC Day 1 Outlook day1probotlk_1630_torn day1probotlk_1630_wind  day1probotlk_1630_hail  Click on the Graphics to enlarge.   The map on the left is the Storm Prediction Center Severe Outlook for this afternoon/tonight.  The red is the Moderate Risk area, which has been expanded in West Michigan (Ottawa, Allegan, Van Buren, Berrien and Cass Counties).  It also covers much of N. Illinois, SE Wisconsin, Iowa and N. Missouri.  The Slight Risk is in yellow, and that covers most all of Lower Michigan.  The green-colored areas are areas where general non-severe storms are expected.  The 2nd image is the chance of a tornado within 25 miles of a given point, highest in Iowa.   Much of Lower Michigan is in the 5% category.  The third map is the probability of a wind damage report within 25 miles of a given point.  That’s the most significant threat here in Michigan with a large part of West Michigan in the 30% category (moderate risk is 45% chance).  The final map is hail probabilities, highest as storms initiate in Iowa and N. Missouri.  While we have a chance of a t-storm through the day, the most likely time for the strongest storms will be in the evening, after sunset.  SPC says:  “LARGE HAIL…TORNADOES…AND POTENTIALLY WIDESPREAD DAMAGING WINDS ARE EXPECTED ACROSS THE REGION LATER TODAY AND TONIGHT……A POTENTIALLY WIDESPREAD DAMAGING WIND THREAT COULD EVOLVE ACROSS PORTIONS OF IA AND NORTHERN MO INTO IL/SOUTHERN WI AND POSSIBLE LOWER MI/NORTHERN INDIANA DURING THE EVENING/OVERNIGHT HOURS. THIS SETUP COULD YIELD FAIRLY NUMEROUS SUPERCELLS THAT WILL HAVE THE POTENTIAL FOR UPSCALE GROWTH INTO A DERECHO-PRODUCING MCS.”.   Here’s the SPC full discussion.  The next update from SPC is scheduled around 12:30 pm EDT.   I’ll be updating the blog when I can – watch 24-Hour News 8 as we continue to track this potential severe threat.  See threads below for useful links and radar.    Here’s the latest GRR NWS discussion.  Live radar is several threads down from this one.

I think Iowa and N. Illinois will have the greatest threat of severe weather this PM and early tonight.  Here’s today’s storm reports – by 11:20 am, we’ve already had 1 tornado, 4″ diameter hail and winds over 70 mph.

Park Party!!!

June 26th, 2014 at 3:11 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

maranda Today was the first Maranda Park Party. It was at Lamar Park in Wyoming.  Park Parties are from noon to 2 PM, but come early. There’s a free (well, thank you taxpayers, it’s USDA) lunch for anyone 18 and under and lots of other free food (apples, ice cream, cheese curls, candy and more). There’s also the free entertainment, lots of prizes, rides, the climbing wall, games and fun. We’ll have lots of giveaways from the stage, including dozens of t-shirts. The weather should be good, mid-upper 70s and partly sunny skies.  I think they have a splash pad there, so bring your suit if you like.   Check out Maranda’s facebook page.   This is the 20th year of FREE Park Parties…parking is free, too.

Storms Weds. PM

June 25th, 2014 at 9:49 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Rainbow Sparta Andy Schut 6 25 14   Damage Gun Lake 6 25 14    The pic. on the left is a rainbow in Sparta after the storm (from LaVerne and Sharon Schut) and the second picture (from ReportIt) shows a tree down near Gun Lake in Barry County.  Winds hit 50-60 mph at Gun Lake.  The strong NNW winds caused a seiche on the lake of 8-12″, as the wind pushed the water toward the south side of the lake.  Golfball-sized hail fell near Battle Creek, along with 45 mph winds.  1″ hail fell near Fremont, Delton and the southeast side of Gun Lake.  There was nickel-sized hail in Walker, Dime-sized hail in Cutlerville, marble-sized hail in Marne and pea-sized hail in Scotts, Wyoming, Standale, near GVSU,  Bedford and Hickory.  Trees and/or wires were down in Fremont, north of Fremont, Grant and near Battle Creek.   The storms formed along the edge of the lake-breeze in the eastern lakeshore counties and tracked SE-SSE.