The main type of mosquito plaguing us right now is the Aedes mosquito. They are a floodplain mosquito and their population has exploded after the April flood. Their eggs can lay dormant for 7 years, waiting for the next flood. Another bad trait of the Aedes mosquito is that they like to bite in the daytime. Some mosquitoes are more active in the evening and at night. The Aedes mosquito will bother you morning, noon and night. This crop may be around for another 2-3 weeks. Watch us tonight for a story on the pesky critters. One piece of good news…the Aedes mosquito does not carry the West Nile Virus. Leave a comment and let us know how bad or not so bad are the mosquitoes where you are. We had a lot of rain in April and there’s still a decent amount of standing water around for them to breed.
The tornado that hit south of Granbury, Texas has been rated EF4 with winds of at least 166 mph. The official death toll is 6 at 1:45 pm EDT Thurs. “About 50 people were taken to a Granbury hospital and two were transferred to a hospital in Fort Worth.” Look at this damage. Buildings destroyed. New video here of the tornado across Lake Granbury. Hardest hit is the Lake Granbury area west-southwest of Fort Worth. “As many as 100 people have been injured by the twisters in the Dallas-Fort Worth area”, said MedStar Mobile Healthcare spokesman Matt Zavadsky. The preliminary count is that there were 10 tornadoes. At least 7 were injured in Cleburne TX. Granbury has a population of about 8,000. A tornado near Rio Vista was said to be “a mile wide”. Damage in Hood, Montague, Parker, Johnson and Wise Counties. Here’s Dallas radar. Here’s video of the Granbury Tornado forming. More tornado video here and here. Here’s photos. Hail up to softball-size has fallen. Here’s storm reports. Thunderstorm gusts to 80 mph were reported at Cleburne. Here’s coverage from WFAA (“It’s a scene of complete devastation in this neighborhood off Acton Highway near Granbury. Emergency personnel are going door-to-door trying to determine if anyone is trapped in damaged homes. Dozens of ambulances were staging nearby at a triage center to deal with as many as 100 injuries. ”
There is a solar eclipse today. You can view it here (live broadcast starts at 5 PM EDT). Here’s a map that shows where the eclipse will be visible. This is called an annular eclipse. The moon is, on average, 238,900 miles from the Earth. However, this distance can vary from 221,600 to 252, 500 miles. Today, the Earth-Moon Distance is closer to 248, 700 miles. So, the moon is farther away than average. At this distance, the Moon does not quite cover the sun and it will produce a “ring of fire” as it passes in front of the sun. Check out the animation here. The next good solar eclipse here in the central U.S. will be in August 2017. Here’s this week’s skygazing summary. Here’s a list of times when you can see the Intl. Space Station flyover. Finally, check out this great picture of the Northern Lights over Lake Superior on May 7.
Lightning hit an American Airlines passenger jet heading from Detroit to LaGuardia Airport on Wednesday. The captain declared an emergency. Fortunately, the plane landed safely at LaGuardia. The American Eagle flight with 20 passengers and three crew members was hit on its approach to the New York area. Comment on the story: Allison Cooper · Works at Yale University School of Medicine “My brother was the pilot on the plane. At first, there was a loud boom. They thought it was a bomb. Then a second one. The flash let them know it was lightning. It is not avoidable. He landed the plane safely. The whole back end was burned and the flight grounded until the plane can be thoroughly inspected. He just called me to tell me what happened. He is shaken by it. Who wouldn’t be. The passengers were screaming they were going to die. How scary. No damage to the instruments and was a normal landing. Unfortunately, weather patterns change fast and lightning is not avoidable. Thank God everyone is safe!” The thunderstorms produced over 3″ of rain at Central Park and there was some local flooding.
Also, the temperature reached 80 at S. Ste. Marie on Weds., 81 at Iron Mt. and 78 at Houghton. Here’s an oddity, the warmest place in the U.S. Weds. was Entiat, Washington (97). The coolest spot was Sunset Crater, Arizona (24). Grand Rapids made 80 on Weds., the 4th 80-degree temperature in the last 8 days. We are now 11.6 deg. warmer than average for the first 8 days of May. We have also had 12 days in a row warmer than average. The pop-up showers/t-showers produced 0.47″ of rain at the Kalamazoo Airport in the late afternoon. We had 0.03″ at WOOD here at Heritage Hill and 0.02″ at GVSU downtown. Spotters recorded 0.17″ near Mendon and 0.15″ on the near West Side of Kalamazoo.
The latest from Ed: “We are firmly in spike territory, so firm we should see a spike even with the Gulf Coast discount. Expect a spike as early as Monday, although it may hold out ’til Tuesday.”
Picture taken May 2 of the flooding Ontonagon River in the U.P., courtesy MQT NWS. They say the flow on the river was up to 15,000 cfs or 20% of the flow over Niagara Falls! This is due to the rapid snowmelt. Snow cover on Thu. May 2: 15″ Hoist Basin, 10″ Atlantic Mine and 10 miles south of Grand Marais, 4″ at Ironwood (all new snow in the last 24 hours) and 1″ left at the Marquette Airport and at Mohawk. Lake Michigan/Huron is up one inch in the past week and up 9″ in the last month. The lake is down 6″ year-to-year and is still down 24″ from average, but it’s up 6″ above the low level of May 1964. Despite a dry weather pattern over the weekend into next week, the lake is still expected to add another inch due to above average river flows. Lake Superior is up 1″ in the past week and 4″ in the past month. The lake is down 1″ from May 2012 and is still 14″ below the century average. Lake Superior should also add an inch in the next week. Lake Erie is up 7″ in the last month and is now 7″ below average level. Lake Ontario is up 10″ in the last month and is 6″ below average level. If you add up all the water added to the Great Lakes in the last month, it comes to a staggering 11.8 TRILLION gallons of water added to the Great Lakes. Wow!
The South Lake Michigan buoy is back in the water, 40 miles west of Holland. At Midnight, it was showing an air temperature of 39.0, a water temperature of 39.9 and a north wind at 27 mph gusting to 33 mph. The North Lake Michigan buoy is also back in service and shows a water temperature of 36.9. Finally, they’re spending 198 million dollars to build a tunnel 200 feet under Lake Erie. Pics. of the day: Saunders Island in N. Canada and frozen fjord on Baffin Is.
Check out these two images from the MODIS satellite. Click on on the images to enlarge. The first (on the left) is from April 5, before the heavy rain. The second was taken on April 21 during the flood. Click here for a wider view of the S. Great Lakes from April 5 and click here for a wider view of the Great Lakes from April 21. You can see how the land has turned green over the past couple weeks. Look at the increase in water spilling out of the Maple River, which comes in from the ENE meeting the Grand in E. Ionia Co. The Maple joins the Grand in E. Ionia Co. There’s not nearly as much difference in the Grand River south of the junction with the Maple, which comes into E. Ionia Co. from the south (the Grand River starts in N. Hillsdale Co.). Note also how the heavy rain filled up the Shiawassee Wildlife Refuge just southwest of Saginaw. Their facebook page has some aerial views of the flooding there. In fact, go here and you can scroll from one image to the other! Here’s current flood conditions in the Midwest. Note how the Mississippi River has gone from near record low levels last summer, so flood levels this spring. Also, here’s a look at the cold and snow weather records in the Lower 48 states since March 15.
Grand River Flood – helicopter view from WOOD-TV (more helicopter pics. here). Click on the picture to enlarge. The water level of Lake Michigan climbed 3″ in the past week. That’s after going up 3″ in the previous 6 days. So, the water level of Lake Michigan has jumped up 6″ in the last 13 days! That’s a remarkable increase! An inch of water added to Lake Michigan is 390 billion gallons. So, a 6-inch increase means we have added 2.34 TRILLION gallons of water to the lake (and 2.4 trillion gallons to Lake Huron)! With area rivers still at very high levels, we’ll likely add another 2″ to that in the next week. We’ll have very little precipitation in the next 5 days and evaporation rates should be back to average. The past two weeks have also been cloudier than average, with relatively high humidity, cutting down on evaporation. Ice cover hung on until today in Green Bay. So other factors have been favorable for increased lake levels. See the thread below on the satellite pictures where you can actually see the muddy water of the Grand River extending at least 5 miles out into the lake and moving down the shore past Holland with the prevailing NW wind today. Lake Michigan is up 8″ in the last month, but is still down 7″ year-to-year. It’s 21″ below the century average for April, but now 9″ above the lowest April level back in 1964. Question…if the lake levels go up significantly, will we be able to do less dredging?
Lake Superior is up 1″ in the past week and up 3″ in the past month. Superior is still down 2 inches in the last year and is now 11″ below the century average. Much of the snow around Lake Superior hasn’t melted yet (snow cover Thurs. evening: 38″ Hoist Basin and Atlantic Mine, 29″ 1.6 miles ESE of Houghton, 28″ Marquette Airport, 17″ Munising, 11″ Ironwood…in NW Wisconsin: 18″ Bayfield, 21″ at Upson (home of the famous horserace track, Upson Downs)…in Minnesota: 19″ Duluth, 14″ International Falls, 26″ Finland, 25″ Island Lake…with deep snow north of Lake Superior in Canada: 37″ Hearst, 20″ Atikoken, 18″ White River and Geraldton) and Superior is likely to add 2-3″ just from snowmelt in the next 2-3 weeks. Lake Erie is up 6″ in the last month, but remains 6″ below the century average. Lake Ontario is up a whopping 9″ in the last month and is now only 2″ below the century average. Lakes Erie and Ontario should go up in the next few weeks with average rainfall and more inflow from the 3 Great Lakes upstream.
Great Lakes News: Asian carp DNA in the Great Lakes…Forum on the water level of Lakes Huron & Michigan (“Among the suggestions why levels are dropping are the widening and deepening of the St. Clair River where it flows out of Lake Huron, more water-taking on both sides of the border and climate change.” – note what’s #1 on the list), and an eco-friendly new road in Whitehall.
11:20 PM - As I expected, the Grand River in Ottawa County is holding steady. At Robinson Township, the water level is at 16.7 feet, only up from 16.6 feet Sunday. It should hold at around 16.7 tonight and start falling tomorrow despite the rain. Robinson Township crested at 17.1 feet last Friday. The Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids has dropped around 8″ since the crest of 21.85 feet Sunday evening. Comstock Park is down 7″, Ada has dropped about 14″ from crest and Lowell is down about 20″ from crest. All other area rivers are falling. Smaller creeks and rivers will rise with the rain late tomorrow into Weds., but should stay well below peak water from the last week. Here’s a nice summary of the event from the GRR NWS. You can click here to get current river level readings. The Grand River crested at 21.85 ft. Sunday evening in downtown G.R. Other crests included 24.69 ft. in Ionia at 9:45 AM Saturday, 19.02 feet in Lowell at 6:35 am Sunday, 22.88 ft. at Ada at 1:30 am Sunday and 17.8 in Comstock Park around 10 PM Sunday. The peak flow on the Grand River was 33,700 cubic feet per second and the flow of water was over 6.2 times the average volume of water. On the Muskegon River, the crest at Evart was 12.52 ft. Saturday, and at Croton the crest was 11.11 ft. at 7:45 PM Friday. The Grand River set a modern record high water level in Kent Co. (the flood of 1904 had a significantly greater water flow and the floodwaters covered the entire West Side all the way to John Ball Park). The North Park Bridge, the 6th St. Bridge and the Fulton St. Bridge were closed. West River Dr. was down to one lane in each direction west of Northland Dr. Sunday. Volunteers were making sandbags are being made at a rate of up to 6,000 per hour. WOOD-TV has amazing helicopter views of the river and we’ll have full coverage on 24-Hour News 8 on DAYBREAK and at noon. The picture is the railroad bridge south of the S-Curve with water up to the rails. They have parked a train loaded with calcium chloride from Ludington on the bridge to weigh it down (something that’s been done during floods over well over 100 years). Each car weighs 131 tons (263,000 pounds). In the background, you can see the evacuated Plaza Towers (no electricity). Picture from kulmum at ReportIt. See the picture enlarge here.
Season snowfall in the U.P.: Twin Lakes 291.3″ (inc. 43.4″ in April!), Herman 251.8″, Marquette Airport 208.4″, Munising 200.9″ and Ironwood 198.4″. Anyone got a guess when the ice will be gone from the lake by Krupp‘s Resort?
Monday was Earth Day. I worked on the first Earth Day in 1970, while a student at the Univ. of Wisconsin along with Senator Gaylord Nelson. I was a co-chair of the Dane County Clean -Up and made a couple of local TV appearances to promote the day. I wanted it to be constructive, to accomplish something – more than the usual angry student rallies. This week is also the Lyrid Meteor Shower. A picture has been circulating telling of a spectacular event. While that’s not impossible, it’s not likely. There are other meteor showers that are usually more eventful than the Lyrids. This year we also have a 3/4 full moon to light the sky. Final note…today is the 35th wedding anniversary of Bill and Gayle Steffen. You can see a wedding picture at my facebook page.
Check out these pictures from Charlie Rozema. This is standing in the same spot (see the rock at the bottom of the pictures) at the Southern Grand Marina on the Grand River near Grand Haven. This picture on the left is normal water levels early last summer, and the picture on the right is Saturday PM (4/20)
Model update: The overnight European model has these rainfall forecast totals for Tuesday/Tuesday night then Thursday: Grand Rapids 0.51″, 0.26″ Kalamazoo 0.44″, 0.26″ Lansing 0.28″, 0.22″ Jackson 0.28″, 0.19″ Muskegon 0.69″, 0.20″ Big Rapids 0.73″, 0.19″ Holland 0.59″, 0.22″. The GFS gives G.R. 0.86″ Tues./Tues. Night and just 0.04″ on Thursday. The NAM (caribou) has 0.46″ for G.R. for Tue./Tue. night Both the GFS and European have our temperature at 850 mb (a constant pressure surface usually a little shy of a mile above ground) at -4C on Thursday. That’s betting borderline for some mixed snow.