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.

Tornado near Indianapolis

June 24th, 2014 at 9:27 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Indianapolis tornado   The National Weather Service confirms an EF1 tornado hit near Indianapolis this afternoon.  This picture from WISH-TV shows an RV that was picked up and then slammed into the roof of this house.  Here’s photos of the storm.  The twister hit in the Brentwood area, along the Hendricks/Marion Co. line just west of the city.  Over 200 cars were damaged at an auto auction.  Trees were uprooted and utility poles were snapped.   Flooding was also reported.  The storms produced wind gusts to 60 mph in Indianapolis and hail up to nickel-size was reported with the storms.  Up to 2.58″ of rain fell in less than two hours.

Strong Storms and a Big Earthquake

June 23rd, 2014 at 2:53 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

MD1129 Thumbnail Image The Storm Prediction Center has issued a meso-scale discussion about the possibility of severe storms and a possible Severe T-Storm Watch. This covers area generally south of I-94 and mainly for isolated wind damage from straight-line thunderstorm winds.  SPC says:  “THE WARM SECTOR ACROSS ERN IL/IND/WRN OH IS HEATING AND DESTABILIZING…RESULTING IN MLCAPE VALUES OVER 1500 J/KG /PER RECENT MESOANALYSIS/. THE OVERALL SHEAR IS RELATIVELY WEAK ACROSS THE WARM SECTOR WITH UNIDIRECTIONAL SWLY FLOW LEADING TO GENERALLY LESS THAN 20 KTS OF DEEP-LAYER SHEAR…THUS…STORMS WILL GENERALLY STRUGGLE TO ORGANIZE. ONE EXCEPTION MAY BE ALONG/NEAR THE WARM FRONT LOCATED NEAR THE SRN LOWER MI BORDER.”

Quick update 7:40 pm – The only warning in effect snow is a Flood Warning for Berrien and Cass Counties…lightning trend is dropping significantly with these storms…from 4500 currently down to 550.  The strongest return is along the Ionia/Clinton Co. border moving NE toward Alma.  We have t-showers from Barry Co. along I-69 into Indiana.  Nothing severe indicated now.  We’re getting a sprinkle here at WOOD.

Trees down in Cass Co., estimated wind of 65 mph in Dowagiac, 55 mph wind gust at Schoolcraft, power lines down in White Pigeon, branch down near Klinger Lake in St. Joseph Co., minor wind damage at Buchanan in Berrien Co., 40-45 mph winds in N. Indiana, 2.35″ of rain at Three Oaks in Berrien Co., over 2″ at Sturgis, many roads flooded in E. Cass Co…I’m not anticipating widespread severe weather.  Evening storms will be mainly SE of a line from S. Haven to G.R. to Alma.  The I-94 corridor gets an evening t-storm with heavy rain and probably gusty winds.   This area has also seen 3/4 to 2″ of rain already today, so additional rain will likely cause some flooding.  Concentration of lightning in S. Ionia Co.

Also, 8.0 magnitude earthquake in the Aleutian Islands…it relatively deep – 71 miles underground.  The depth and the very remote area would lead us to minimize the estimate of damage and the possibility of a significant tsunami.

Gas Price Fireworks

June 22nd, 2014 at 10:24 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

gas pump nbc chicago

Here’s the latest from Ed:  “Comment on the June 13 prediction:  Yup, prices went back up to $3.99, as predicted.  CORRECT.

Sunday, June 22, 2014, 8:45PM:  The stocks/gasoline connection has been weaker for a while now.  They used to move in tandem.  Lately, we’ve seen the Dow and SP hit new all-time highs, but gas prices here in Michigan remain (barely) under $4.  (All time high for gas in MI, according to my records: $4.29.)  But the recent rally in stocks may have something to do with keeping wholesale gas prices (e.g. NYMEX) at about $3 and the price to retailers at about $3.70.  With retail prices getting close to $3.70, I predict we are back to $3.99 soon, probably Tuesday, although it could happen Monday or Wednesday.  All in time for the holiday weekend coming up! –Ed A.

Full Moon – Friday the 13th

June 13th, 2014 at 4:20 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

moon full NASA bill ingalls   I hope this doesn’t get too confusing…but, here goes….We have both a full moon and today is Friday the 13th. Well, we do, but Milwaukee doesn’t.   That’s because the exact time of the full moon was 12:11 am EDT.  So…the full moon plus Friday the 13th thing works for the Eastern Time Zone (and Asia, Europe, S. America and Africa), but not for the Central, Mountain and Western Time Zones in the U.S., where the full moon came the evening of 6/12.   Since there are 7 days in a week, there is a 1 in 7 chance that the 13th of the month will come on a Friday (or 14.29%).  A given year can have anywhere from 1 to 3 Friday the 13ths.  There’s a full moon on the 13th of the month about every 3 years.  The time between full moons is 29 days, 12 hours and 44 minutes.   So, we can get 2 full moons in a given month (the 2nd full moon in a calendar month is called a “blue moon”), and on rare occasion, February can have no full moon at all.   That last happened in 1999 and will happen next in 2018.   On average, there are 12.37 full moons in a year and 365.2422 days in a year (and that’s a whole new set of fun math problems…because that’s an odd number, we add a leap day every 4th year…that would work if it was exactly 365.25 days in a year…but because of that .2422, we skip leap year if we can divide 100 into the year…so we didn’t have leap year in 1800 or 1900 – but…we DO have leap year if you can divide 400 into the year, so we DID have leap year in 2000).  Now, there are 12 days a year that are the 13th.  That would be 3.29% of the days of the year.   The odds of any one day being a full moon are 3.39 percent.  So you multiply those numbers and…The odds of any single day being a Friday, the 13th and a full moon are about .0159%.   Since there are 365.25 days in a year, you multiply those two numbers and you get a 5.81% chance that any year will have a single day that is a Friday the 13th and have a full moon – or about once every 20 years.   The last Friday the 13th with a full moon was Oct. 13th, 2000 and the next Friday the 13th with a full moon will be Aug. 13, 2049.  The last June 13th with a full moon was in 1919 (my almost 95-year old mother missed that one by less than a month).  The next full moon on Friday, June 13th will be in the year 2098.  This is the full moon closest to the Summer Solstice (June 21 this year), so it’s the full moon that is lowest in the sky, rising in the SE and setting in the SW.  The June full moon is sometimes called the “Honey Moon” because being lower in the sky and coming during the often hazy summer season, it often has a yellowish or honey hue.  The full moon of June is also called the Strawberry Moon.  The picture is the June “Honey Moon” over the Washington Monument (From Bill Ingalls and NASA).   Many couples get married in June – and the term “honeymoon” goes back to the 1500s.   It’s been fun to write this article…all the while one of my two cats has been chasing a fly – I’ve been enjoying her leaps and bounds – her compensating for her inability to fly.  I’ve seen her leap and swat down flies in mid-air (and eat them…she won’t eat mice, just plays with them…but insects, that’s kitty chow).  She has wonderful vision (and I think other senses as well) compared to me.  So far, the fly has stayed a step ahead of her.

Great Lakes Water Levels

June 12th, 2014 at 9:17 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Saugatuck - Ted Swoboda scattered cu nice pic.  Here’s a nice picture of Saugatuck from Ted Swoboda.   Click on the pic. to enlarge.  The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron was steady last week and up 4″ in the last month.  The lake level is 12″ higher than it was one year ago, but remains 7″ below the century average.  Lake Superior is also up 4″ in the last month.  Superior is up 13″ in the past year and is now 6″ above the long-term average.  Lake Erie is up 4″ in the past month and up 7″ in the past year.  Lake Erie is 3″ above the century average.  Lake Ontario is up 2″ in the last month, up 3″ in the last year and is now 5″ above the century average.  Lake St. Clair is up 4″ in the last month, up 7″ year-to-year and is 2″ above the century average.  The outflow from Lake Superior down the St. Mary’s River is forecast to remain above average through the summer.  Outflow through the rest of the lakes is forecast to remain near average. The Grand River in Grand Rapids is still running well above average flow for early June.  Here’s where you can check streamflow on Michigan rivers.   The high temperature this Thursday was 61.7° at the Muskegon beach weather station and only 47.1° at the mid-Lake Michigan buoy.

New Weather Buoys on the Great Lakes. You’ve probably seen our pics. from the Port Sheldon Buoy on 24-Hour News 8.  Here’s more on.Safe Boating…There’s still a little patch of snow at Mt. Ripley.   Great Lakes water temperatures still “dangerously cold”Wisconsin researchers testing bacteria to limit zebra musselsSatellites used to study lake trout in Lake Superior….and cool sand sculptures.