Happy Fourth of July!

July 4th, 2015 at 12:48 am by under Bill's Blog, 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.”

Here’s fireworks and lightning in the same shotLightning just behind Cinderella’s castle at Disneyworld.   (a.k.a. King’s Stefan’s castle).   This pic. is even better!    0.91″ of rain in 30 min. on Upper Cline Creek, N of Phoenix AZ.  Long-range looks slightly cooler than average.    Wenatchee, WA, broke its July 3 high temp record with 106F; old record: 101, 1922.   Berlin, Germany could hit 100 today.  6.3″ of rain yesterday in Tupelo MS – up to 8″ in N. Alabama.  Smoke from wildfires in Canada making the sky milky wite instead of bright blue in W. Michigan.

One for “Jack”.

Friday PM

July 3rd, 2015 at 1:40 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

muskegon glerl  south haven glerl chicago glerl Here’s 3 midday pics. from the GLERL cameras at Muskegon (lots of boats going in and out of the channel today), S. Haven (lots of people on the beach, very few swimming in the cold water) and Chicago (a couple sailboats).  Water temps. taken this morning:  42 Grand Haven (really!), 50 Holland, 64 Saugatuck, 58 Orchard Beach-Manistee, 49 Port Sheldon buoy, 44 north Lake Michigan buoy, 55 S. Haven buoy, 63 Benton Harbor buoy, 55 Michigan City, IN, 59 Lake Forest IL.

Air temps. at 1 pm:  72 G.R., 71 Kalamazoo and S. Haven Airport, 73 Muskegon Airport…63 Muskegon Lighthouse, 57 S. Haven Lighthouse, 61 Chicago water intake, 73 Chicago O’Hare.

Low temps. this am:  50 G.R. (average 62), 50 Muskegon, 51 Holland, 53 Kalamazoo (airport -46 at the Nature Center, a cool spot on a calm, clear night), 36 Leota (Clare Co.), 41 Baldwin, 42 Houghton Lake, 43 Cadillac, 44 Mt. Pleasant, Hart, 45 Alma, Reed City, 46 Big Rapids, Manistee, Belding, 47 Charlotte, Ludington, 48 Lansing, East G.R., Flint, 49 Hastings and Hudsonville.

Severe weather today in the Southern U.S. – already two EF0 tornadoes at Old Hickory TN.  Dust from the Saharan Desert of N. Africa moving west across the Atlantic and into the Southern U.S.   Tropical system passing south of Hawaii could bring showers next weekendBig storm moving into DisneyworldEmpire St. Building in red, white and blue.   After reaching 106 F today, Las Vegas tied the all-time record stretch of consecutive days at or above 105 F, which stands at 21.  Cowabunga dude!

The average temperature for Jan. thru June 2015 in G.R. is 40.36°.  That’s 3.28° below average.  The coldest year G.R. ever had was 1917 with an average temp. of 44.6°.  From Jan. to June 1917, the average temp. was 38.77°.

High Great Lakes Water Levels

July 3rd, 2015 at 2:07 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Gayle and Lorraine Bird at Sleeping Bear Dunes   Enjoying the sunshine, relatively cool temperatures and nearly calm wind at Sleeping Bear Dunes near Traverse City on Lake Michigan. (picture Tues. by Michelle Olin).   High water levels are becoming a little bit concern on the Great Lakes.   Heavy June precipitation has shot water levels upward in the Southern Great Lakes to the highest levels in 20 years.  Here’s the latest numbers:

Lake Michigan/Huron (one lake for lake-level purposes – they’re connected that the Mac. Bridge) is up 3″ in the last month and up 11″ from one year ago.  The level is now 6″ higher than the July average level.  Lake Superior is also up 3″ in the last month.  Superior is up 2″ in the last year and stands at 7″ above the long-term average.  Lake Erie rose an amazing 11″ in the last month.  Erie is now 11″ higher than last year and 16″ above the average July level!  Lake Ontario rose 13″ in the last month.  Ontario is up 3″ year-to-year and is now 8″ above the century average.  Lake St. Clair is also up 11″ in the last month and is now 16″ above the July average water levels.

Check out June rainfall and you’ll see the high amounts that fell across the southern lakes.  Total precipitation in the Great Lakes Basin was 30% above average in June.  Many rivers are unusually high due to heavy rainfall.  The Maumee River at Waterville, Ohio is (as I write this) running at 29,500 cfs (average is 3,160 cfs).  The St. Joseph River at Niles MI is at 5400 cfs (average is 2730 cfs).  The Grand River at Grand Rapids is at 7490 cfs (average is 2240 cfs).  The Kalamazoo River at Comstock is at 2,610 (average is 712 cfs).  The River Raisin at Monroe is at 6110 cfs (average is 292 cfs).  The Fox River at Green Bay WI is at 6,460 cfs (average is 3,220).  All the major connecting rivers (St. Mary’s, St. Clair, Detroit, Niagara and St. Lawrence) are running above average and will continue to do so through most or all of the summer.

Also:  Alewife decline threatens salmon population.    Pictures of Mackinac IslandThe remote lighthouse at Caribou IslandWhat Lake Superior looked like four months ago.           Hot in the West – a little cool over the Great Lakes and Northeast – left the contiguous U.S. only slightly warmer than average in June.   Seattle (93F) was hotter than Miami (92F) on Thursday.  At least 4 killed, 48 injured after M6.4 earthquake strikes China’s Xinjiang region.  Full moon over NYC.   It’s winter in Australia.  There’s still snow left in Glacier Natl. ParkLightning in VegasCold kills 20 times more people than heat.  WOW!  This is cold!   Magnitude-6.0 earthquake 18km (11mi) NW of Santa Monica, Philippines.  Good Morning, Ecuador.  Neat pic. of mammatus in Texas25 years of the best Hubble Space photographs.   American restaurant survey – big winners are Chick-fil-A and Texas Roadhouse.

Slow Warming Trend

July 2nd, 2015 at 2:04 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Gayle and Lorraine 7 1 15   TVC July 2  The first picture was taken yesterday by Sleeping Bear Dunes west of Traverse City.  The high temperatures in NW Lower Michigan were in the upper 50s to low 60s yesterday and tourists were in sweatshirts and jackets.  The 2nd pic. is this morning in the Mission Peninsula just north of Traverse City.   Note the blue sky and sunshine.  Grand Rapids had a low temp. of 51 this morning, 10 deg. cooler than average.  Other low temps:  34 Doe Lake and Spincich Lake (in the U.P.), 36 Indian River (N. Lower MI), 37 Kalkaska, 39 Manistee and Cadillac, 40 Beaver Is. and Baldwin, 41 Pellston and Grayling, 42 Houghton Lake, 43 S. Ste. Marie, 44 Ludington, Traverse City and Alpena.    We’ll have a slight chance of a PM shower or t-shower Sat. afternoon N and NE of Kent Co.  Next chance of rain Monday night.   Look at the water temp. at Grand Haven this morning!!  An east or northeast wind pushes the warmer, surface water away from shore and allows colder water to come up from below the surface.  Below average sunshine in W. Michigan for June and for 2015 so far.   Pocket of cold water sits over the deepest part of Lake Michigan.

0.06″ of rain yesterday at Yuma AZ – not a lot, but enough for a daily record (never been more rain on any July 1).   Nice t-storms moved north to south across Scotland last nightStill a trace of snow on the highest peaks in NM.  Lots of record high temps. in England yesterday – but – look how many stations have a period of record of only 10-23 years…heat wave of 1911 had hotter temps.  Center of El Nino over the Central Pacific – not next to S. America.  Forecasts of a a super-warm winter for the Great Lakes may disappoint.  Recurving typhoons in the W. Pacific often mean a trough aloft in the Great Lakes and Northeast.  No guarantee of a 90-degree day in the next 3 weeks.  3 am t-storm in Las Vegas last night…only 0.09″ of rain at the airport.  Check out the palm trees that caught fire due to lightning strikesThunderstorms in Central CA last night…rain is welcome…lightning-caused wildfires are not.

A Chilly Start to July

July 2nd, 2015 at 12:27 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Erase me Here’s a look at high temperatures for July 1 (Weds.). Our 70 in G.R. was 13 degrees cooler than the average of 83. The high was just 62 at the airports in S. Haven and Benton Harbor. The high on the beach at S. Haven was 58.5…the high at the Muskegon Beach was 56.3 and the high at the end of the pier at Munising in the U.P. was just 49!   Other cool high temps.:  57 Grand Marais MN, 64 Milwaukee, 65 Rochester MN, 66 Mason City IA, 69 Chicago (airport), S. Bend and Buffalo NY.  Here’s the water temps. of the Great Lakes.  Lakes Superior and Michigan are slightly warmer than last year on July 1.  Lakes Huron, Erie and Ontario are all slightly cooler than last year at this time.  The north mid-Lake Michigan buoy shows a water temp. of 41.7 as I write this (south buoy not available).  As I write this, the Western Lake Superior buoy shows a water temp. of 38.8, the Central Lake Superior buoy is at 37.6 and the Eastern Lake Superior buoy shows a water temp. of 37.8.  Over the last 5 days, G.R. has had 42.57% of possible sunshine.  June average is 61%, July average is 64%.  Today is the 10th consecutive day with below average temperatures.

Also:  Drone video of the Pitsch fire.   Flash flooding in Sedalia, MO, with vehicles stranded, roads closed, emergency management reports…Typhoon Chan-Hom will come close to Guammoon over the Gulf of Mexicotornado look-alikeshottest July day ever in London as the temp. hit 98.  Paris, France hit 103 – the hottest temperature in July since 1947.    Thunderstorms hit Scotland – but Michigan lightning-free.

Huge Fire in G.R.

July 1st, 2015 at 9:59 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

NW fire  There was a large fire at Pitsch Wrecking on Richmond NW.  Here’s drone video.  The smoke could be seen +10 miles away.   Story here.  Winds were north…so smoke moved south over the city.  Smoke was visible on radar.   An observer said there were several explosions.  Chemicals/propane and oxygen tanks might have been at the site.   There were no injuries.     A brief evacuation took place east of McReynolds area of Richmond.   Eleven of the 17 fire crews in G.R. responded, plus Walker.

Also:  Tornado today at Lee’s Summit MOMore close video of the twister.  A few spots out west had t-storms today.  1.6″ of rain at Markleeville CA, 0.52″ Reno NV, 0.16″ Blythe CA, 0.04 Riverside – just a trace at L.A. – gusts to 65 mph at Yucca Mt. and 3/4″ hail at Colorado City AZ.   0.06″ Yuma, 0.07″ Tucson and 0.63″ at Nogales AZ.  Here’s today’s (Weds.) U.S. storm reports.  Hot places Weds.:  89 Seattle, 95 Portland OR, 108 Medford OR, 102 Boise ID, 100 Reno NV (before a t-storm), 101 Dalhart TX…cool high temps:  63 Augusta ME, 68 Buffalo, 69 S. Bend and Chicago (arpt.), 66 Mason City IA, 65 Rochester MN, 57 Grand Marais MN, 56 Munising MI.

Rain in the Corn Belt

July 1st, 2015 at 8:11 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

June Rainfall Michigan  June Rainfall U.S.  Click on the maps to enlarge.  On the left is June rainfall for Wisconsin/Michigan and on the right is June rainfall for the U.S.   First, it was a wet month for the U.S. and particularly the Corn Belt that runs from E. Nebraska to Ohio.  Lots of rain means overall a good year, though standing water in some fields has been a problem.  Here in Michigan, the network isn’t fine enough to pick out the heavy rain in E. Allegan and Kalamazoo Counties to the east, but you get the general idea of where the heavier rain fell.  The Michigan Crop Report shows soil moisture at 55% adequate, 42% surplus, 3% short and 0% very short.  WASHINGTON, June 30, 2015 –”The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) estimates 85.1 million acres of soybeans planted in the United States for 2015, up 2 percent from last year and setting a new record high.”  Since 4/1, Richmond has had over 19″ of rain and they are more than 9″ above average for that period (thru 6/29).  Nationally over 2/3rds of the corn crop was rated good-excellent.  That percentage was 84% in Wisconsin, 83% in Iowa, but only 66% in Michigan, where cool, wet weather knocked down the percentage a little.   A one-sentence summary of agriculture in Mexico:   “Widespread, locally heavy rain maintained overall favorable conditions for corn and other rain-fed summer crops.”  I read thru the International Summaries (page 20) and they are mostly favorable.

High temps. today (Weds.):  70 G.R. (avg. is 83), 62 Benton Harbor, 61 Houghton Lake and Traverse City, 60 Ludington and Gaylord, 59 Copper Harbor, 56 Munising.   The marine station at Grand Marais in the U.P. had a high temp. of 49 today!!   Here’s GRR NWS June Weather Summary.

Tornado video near Kansas Cityboiling mammatuslooks like a tornado, but not a tornado...for throwback Thurs. – heat wave in Paris, France – 588 fatalities in 1911Temperatures in France hit 108F.

Frost in July?

July 1st, 2015 at 12:37 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Frost WCNC  Some unseasonably cold temps. in the U.P. this morning.  The low temp. was 31 at both Kenton and Baraga Plains.  The temperature bottomed out at 34 in Wakefield, 35 in Pelkie and Greenland, 37 at Ironwood and 39 at Houghton.  The wind held up and we had some clouds over night in our area…so our low temps. were not as cold.  Grand Rapids had a low of 55.  The coolest temps. were 49-degree readings at Reed City and Baldwin.  June ended up 1.4 degrees cooler than average in G.R., with 4.03″ of rain (0.26″ above average).  The warmest temp. for the entire month was just 83 and that’s the coolest June maximum temp. since 1928.  The lowest temp. in June was 40 on 6/1.  Sunshine totaled 53% – below the average of 61%.   Here’s a summary of June weather in the U.P.  I would guess at this point that July will also end up slightly cooler than average with the heat in the West and slightly cooler than average weather over the Great Lakes and Northeast.  A high wildfire danger will continue in AK, CA, OR, WA, ID maybe W. Montana.  A lower than average wildfire risk will continue for much of the country east of the Continental Divide, plus Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.

Fourth of July Weekend Lookin’ Good

July 1st, 2015 at 1:54 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

bill steffen at fourth of july 2010       What a great weekend we have coming up weatherwise.  The overnight run of the GFS has high temps. for G.R. starting with today:  68, 75, 77, 78, 83, 85, 78…with our next rain coming Monday night.  I could certainly see mid 80s Sun. and Mon…maybe an upper 80s in there.  We go to 19 at 850 mb.  Most days temps. will be cooler near Lake Michigan.   Finally some sunny days to dry out the southern counties and to warm up Lake Michigan.  The north mid-Lake Michigan buoy water temperature fell from 55.6 deg. at 8:50 am Tues. to 40.6 deg. at 8:50 pm…a drop of 15 deg. in 12 hours.  That was due to the wind increasing to 15-20 mph and stirring up colder water from below the surface.

Also, Here’s what Venus and Jupiter looked like last night…here’s a perspective on the position of Venus, Jupiter and Earth from NASA.  Note the distance between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.  St. Louis MO received 13.14″ of rain in June…Houston TX has had 41.62″ of rain so far for 2015. This is already more than the 2013 and 2011 yearly totals combined…pic. of Bowman ND tornado…the full moon looks red through the smoke layer in N. Alabamahow many days since the last tornado warning by NWS office coverage areaJune 2015 global temp anomaly +0.196°C (1981-2010 climological average – preliminary)…warm in the Western U.S. and relatively cool in the Great Lakes to Northeast.  You can see the El Nino (warm water along the Equator in the Pacific Ocean, the warm PDO (backwards “C” of warm water from Alaska down the West Coast of North America and the cold AMO (backwards “C” of cooler than average water from Greenland down to off the coast of NW Africa.  The cool water and lots of Saharan dry air and dust should continue to discourage hurricanes to form from Africa to the Antilles Islands.  Thunderstorms Tuesday in S. California!  Look at this – lightning hits the Queen Mary!   Not much rain in CA:  0.04″ San Diego, 0.20″ El Cajon, 0.41″ Palomar Mt., 0.53″ Alpine, 0.55 S. Lake Tahoe.  There’s a chance of a couple more isolated t-showers in S. Calif. todayDriest 4-year period ever in downtown L.A.

Cold high temperatures Tuesday:  44 Munising East, 49 NWS Marquette and also Wawa and Timmins, Ontario, 52 Copper Harbor, 57 Sawyer AFB, 59 Houghton – warm high temps:  112 Las Vegas, 113 Red Bluff CA, 105 Hill City KS, 102 Boise, 101 Salt Lake City.  Rainfall:  4.68″ Meridian MS, 2.96″ Houston TX, 2.07″ Memphis, 0.48″ Grand Rapids MI.  Temperature departure from average in June:  Boston -3.0, Chicago -1.4, Washington D.C. +2.9, Spokane WA +9.1.

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.