Slight Risk Area for part of West Michigan

July 22nd, 2014 at 2:21 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

1630 UTC Day 1 Outlook 1630 UTC Day 2 Outlook 1630 UTC Day 3 Outlook     These are the severe weather outlooks for this PM/night, tomorrow and Thurs.   Note that the Slight Risk Area has been expanded east into SW Michigan, from Pentwater to Grand Rapids to Kalamazoo and south into Indiana.  SPC says:  “SCATTERED SEVERE STORMS WITH WIND AND HAIL WILL BE POSSIBLE FROM THE CENTRAL PLAINS EASTWARD TOWARD SOUTHERN LAKE MICHIGAN.” Many could use some rain, especially north of Muskegon and along the Indiana border.  Today is our one shot at 90°.  If we don’t make it today, we’ll have to wait until August for our next chance.   This PM you can follow SPC severe weather watches, meso-scale discussions ans storm reports.  Here’s Northern Plains radar and Great Lakes radar where you can watch the storms develop and move east.   Here’s the GRR NWS discussion.   The average wind speed in G.R. over the last four days has been just 4.1 mph.   Today is also the 7th day in a row that the high temperature will be warmer than the day before.

Here’s U.S. wildfire statistics.   For the last two year period, we’ve had below average numbers of wildfires and acres burned.  Above average rainfall over much of the area east of the Rockies has made for very low wildfire statistics for the Eastern 2/3rds of the country.  Typhoon Matmo heading into Taiwan and then mainland China.    6.9 magnitude earthquake in Figi.

Air Quality Alert (Advisory) Monday PM and Tuesday

July 22nd, 2014 at 12:06 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Ozone Action Day  The Michigan (and Indiana) Dept. of Environmental Quality has declared Monday to be an Air Quality Alert Day (you might remember these as “Ozone Action Days”…kind of like “global warming” has now been changed to “climate change” to cover more bases).  It’s likely that they will declare Tuesday an Air Quality Alert Day, too  The Advisory covers the lakeshore counties, Kent Co. and the Detroit area in Michigan and Lake, Porter and La Porte Counties in NW Indiana and the Chicago area.   This is for Ozone levels marginally reaching the “unhealthy level for sensitive groups”.  There was an Air Quality Alert Day issued for Sunday, but I did not see the readings reach “unhealthy levels”.  So, unless someone can correct me, it looks like they were at least one day early.   Here’s Ozone monitoring stations in Lower Michigan and Air Quality Index Values.  Here’s past Air Quality and Ozone Action Days (only two last year).   You can go to this website tomorrow and check the Ozone (AQI) levels and see if their forecast was correct.   Remember, there are FREE rides on the RAPID in the Grand Rapids Area and the MAX (Macatawa Area Express) in the Holland/Zeeland area (fixed routes only) on Clean Air Action Days.

European model and CPC have more unseasonable cool air

July 21st, 2014 at 9:08 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather   NAEFS July 29 - August 4    Wow!  Check out the 9-day European model.  That’s a 558 height (at the link) and would give us highs perhaps in the mid 60s if this comes true.  The two images here (click on the images to enlarge)  are the 6-10 day temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center for July 27-31.  On the right is the NAEFS forecast for July 29 – August 4.   Wow again!  That’s a very cool pattern for mid-summer!  Tomorrow is our only shot at 90-degres, maybe for the next two weeks.

Severe Storms Blast North Dakota

July 21st, 2014 at 7:31 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

WW0427 Radar Severe storms hit N. Dakota hard yesterday afternoon and evening. Storms produced 80 mph winds, large hail and at least one tornado.  Wind reports of 80 mph winds in Center ND and 75 mph wind gusts in Syracuse and Wilton ND. Here’s storm reports.   The storms continued east into Minnesota during the late night.

Biggest Fire Ever in Washington State

July 21st, 2014 at 7:12 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Fire NW oneFire NW two Click on the images to enlarge. These pics. are satellite views (from NASA and Earth Observatory) of the wildfires out West. The Carleton Complex Fire near Twisp, Washington is now the biggest fire ever in Washington State since records began (and I don’t know how long that has been). The fire has consumed roughly 238,000 acres (372 square miles). That’s roughly four times the size of Seattle. It’s thought the fire was started by lightning on July 14th. 154 structures have been lost to the fire with an estimated worth of five million dollars. There are 1,622 firefighters assigned to this fire, along with 11 helicopters and 132 fire engines.   Fortunately, the heat wave has broken and temperatures are back mainly in the 70s to near 80 in the afternoon in that area.  They have a chance of a shower tomorrow and a good chance of showers on Wednesday.  Winds will not be too strong, so the weather looks good for making progress on containing this fire.   For the entire U.S., both the number of fires and the acreage burned have been below average last year and so far this year.   The total acreage burned so far in 2014 is 1,306, 163 acres – the annual average is 3,738,651.

Also, tropical depression #2 has formed in the central AtlanticIt will meander to the west and stay below tropical storm status.

Warmest Days of July

July 21st, 2014 at 1:56 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Rainfall U.S.   rainfall july 1-20 Click on the images to enlarge.  On the left, we have rainfall for the U.S. from July 1-20 (data not available for the grayed out area in the Pacific NW).  On the right, we have rainfall for Michigan for July 1-20.  Note now there has been less rain north of Muskegon and also closer to the Indiana border.  Grand Rapids has picked up 9.47″ of rain since June 1.  The MAWN agricultural weather station at Ludington has had only 0.57″ of rain so far this month, while Grand Rapids has had 4.32″ and Ithaca has picked up 4.7″.  Nationally, it’s still dry in California.  There has been a lot of rain along the East Coast, in Florida and in the Lower Mississippi Valley.

Temperature departures from average for July 1-20:  Grand Rapids -4.3° (highest 83°), Muskegon -4.9° (highest 81°), Ludington -6.9° (Ludington’s highest temperature for July 1-20 was 77° and they had 6 days with highs only in the 60s).  Cadillac -6.4° (five days in a row from July 16-20 with low temps. in the 40s), Manistee -7.4°, Gaylord -6.1°, Pellston -4.4°, Marquette -3.5° (including a high of 53° on July 15th!), Holland -4.6°, Lansing -4.5°, Kalamazoo -5.1°, Detroit -3.5°, Howell -3.8°, Ann Arbor -4.2°.      The average temperature for July 1-20 for Grand Rapids is 68.2° – if were were to end the month with an average of 68.2°, it would tie for 3rd coolest July ever in G.R.   The four coolest Julys in G.R. have all been relatively recent (2009, 1992, 1996, 2000).   July 20 BTW, is the mid-point of temperature for the summer.  Average temperatures from this point go down.   We have already lost 27 minutes of daylight since the Summer Solstice back on June 21.

Today and Tuesday will be the warmest days of the month of July – best days of the month to spend at the beach, pool or water park.  It gets cool for the last week of July.  The overnight run of the NAM gives G.R. highs of 85° Monday and 88° Tues. and the GFS is similar with 86°/88°.  I’ve got out 86°/90°.   The showers/t-storms may not move in until after sunset Tues. evening…and any leftover showers should end by mid-aftn. on Weds., so you may be able to get in evening activities each of the next five days…maybe.  The timetable for showers/storms will be Tues. after sunset thru midday Weds. and again next weekend.

The sky has been a little hazy and that’s partially due to a thin layer of smoke from wildfires in the western U.S. and in Canada.  It gives the sun an orange tint at sunrise and sunset.  Cooler temperatures and the prospect of some showers will help firefighters in Washington and Oregon.  The Buzzard Complex fires in Oregon have consumed 369,000 acres.  The Carlton Complex fire (impressive pic. at link) in Central Washington has burned 300,000 acres and 85 structures worth 3.7 million dollars.  There are 1,388 firefighters, 133 engines and 11 helicopters fighting that fire.  Despite those two big fires, the U.S. is below average in both the number of wildfires and the number of acres burned so far this year.  Last year we had the fewest number of wildfires since 1984 and the 2nd lowest number of acres burned in the last 10 years.

Sunday marked the 13th consecutive day of at or below normal high temperatures for Chicago…Downtown Sacramento records 0.01″ of rain, breaking a 75 day rain-free streak and setting a daily record…Heavy rain reported near Columbia, SC earlier this eve. 3.39″ fell in one hour, 1.53″ in 15 minutes… flash flooding in the Reno, NV area, multiple roadways closed…Spotter reported 1.10″ of rain in under 30 minutes in Gardnerville, NV, 16 miles from Carson City…Dallas tied its record low of 65 F Sunday a.m., third-straight day of record cool air…the remains of Tropical Storm Wali has produced some local flooding and minor wind damage in Hawaii.   Rainfall included 2.51″ at Hilo and 0.97″ at Honolulu.  There were four weather stations on windward Oahu that had over 13″ of rain in 24 hours!

This is an awfully long post already, but I read something interesting at CapCon…”Hemlock Semiconductor (near Saginaw) is a joint venture of Dow Corning, Shin-Elsu Handotai Company and Mitsubishi. It produces polycrystalline silicon, which is used for solar panels and electronic devices.  The company is the largest electricity customer at a single site in Michigan. According to Hemlock, at full production, it uses about 420 megawatts of electricity, which is estimated to be three times the electricity used by all of the households in Lansing and Ann Arbor combined.”     Three times the electricity used by all the households in Lansing and Ann Arbor combined??!!   That’s shocking!!


Can We Make 90°?

July 20th, 2014 at 1:30 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

muskegon glerl 2  Lots of muskegon glerlboats at the beach in Muskegon Saturday afternoon.  The water temp. at Muskegon St. Park was just 58° Sat. AM, but I’ll bet the channel was warmer.  The overnight NAM model gives G.R. highs of 83/85/88 over the next 3 days.  The overnight GFS model gives G.R. 83/87/90.  I side at least with the higher GFS numbers (I’m not waiting up for the European).   It looks like we get a t-storm Tuesday night (lingering shower at daybreak Weds.?) with the next front and then two nice days for Thurs./Fri.  – another great Park Party coming up in Muskegon and the weather will be spectacular for the G.R. Symphony Picnic Pops Thurs. and Fri. night at Cannonsburg Ski Area.  We may see a couple showers or a t-shower next Saturday.  If we don’t make 90° on Tuesday, it looks like that’s the last chance in July.  Monday and Tuesday should be great days to head to the beach, pool or water park.  Right now it doesn’t look like severe weather for us Tuesday night, but I’ll update that later today.  Happy Sunday!

Also:  Chicago has only had 2 days this month warmer than average…through Saturday, they’ve had 12 days in a row at or below average…here’s high temps. from yesterdayTyphoon Matmo will come close to the northern tip of TaiwanLatest CFSv2 model forecast for the winter looks cool over much of the U.S. east of the Rockies.  Downtown L.A. receives a trace of rain, breaking an 86-day rain-free streak and tying the daily record.  The heat is diminishing in the Pacific NW, but wildfires still a big problem.   The Carlton Fire has burned over 215,000 acres.  Spokane had 12 days in a row of 90-degree heat – average high for them is 84.   AMAZING photo of red sprites above thunderstorm in NMLots of Saharan dust over the Central and Eastern Atlantic Ocean – will prevent early season hurricanes in this area.  Tupelo, MS recorded 4.61″ of rainfall Friday.  High of just 69ºF Friday in Memphis, TN shattered its all-time record for coldest high temperature ever in July.  Look at the eye of Typhoon Rammasun as it was moving into S. China.    Haikou in N Hainan, China reported a wind gust to 101 mph and over 7″ of rain.  Port Arthur, Texas received 6.90 inches of rain Friday.  July 1-18 2014 is the coldest first 18 days in July that Indianapolis has had since 1960.  McAlester, OK reached only 67 degrees on Thurs, breaking their record for the date for the lowest max. temp. by 15 degrees!  Great shot of lightning over LondonFlooding after 6″ of rain in Austin TX.

Warming Trend Continues

July 19th, 2014 at 4:30 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

muskegon glerl   Check out the boats along the beach at Muskegon around 4 pm.  The air temperatures inland  reached the low 80s, while the beach thermometer at Muskegon rose to only 71.4°.  There were a few random light showers and sprinkles along and east of a line from Coldwater to Saginaw.  Those have dissipated.  There could be a patch or two of fog in the central or eastern part of the state late tonight.

Here’s the latest from SPC on the possibility of severe weather Tues. Night/Weds.:  “PRIMARY CONCERN FOR ORGANIZED SEVERE STORMS EXISTS ACROSS PARTS OF THE UPPER MS VALLEY TO WRN GREAT LAKES ON D4/TUE. WITH THE LIKELIHOOD OF AN MCS TO BE ONGOING TUE MORNING…LOW CONFIDENCE EXISTS IN THE MESOSCALE EVOLUTION OF KINEMATIC FIELDS GIVEN A POSSIBLE MCV/MINOR MID-LEVEL PERTURBATIONS TRACKING E/SE AROUND AN EXPANSIVE 600 DM 500 MB ANTICYCLONE CENTERED OVER THE SRN ROCKIES. ON THE PERIPHERY OF THE PLAINS EML PLUME…STRONG TO EXTREME INSTABILITY SHOULD DEVELOP TO THE S/SW OF REMNANT CONVECTIVE OUTFLOW/CLOUD DEBRIS. AT LEAST LOW SEVERE PROBABILITIES WILL LIKELY BE HIGHLIGHTED IN LATER OUTLOOKS.”    I know that’s pretty technical.  I think the best bet for thunderstorms here in West Michigan will be Tues. night and any severe weather would be spotty (if we had any at all) and not widespread.  The main threats would be gusty winds, cloud-to-gro0und lightning and brief heavy rainfall.   I’m working today so check out 24-Hour News 8 for the latest (6 pm, 10 pm on WXSP, 11 pm).

The afternoon European model gives G.R. a high of 90° on Tues….the GFS has 91°.

Severe Weather in 2014

July 19th, 2014 at 2:13 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Tornadoes in U.S. 2014    Mi Severe Reports Click on the images to enlarge.   The first graph on the left is the number of tornadoes so far this year compared to past years.  This year and last year, the tornado count is well below average.   The map on the right shows where we have had tornadoes (in red), hail reports of 1″ diameter or more (green) and reports of wind damage (in blue).   So far this year, Nebraska has had the most tornadoes of any state (86) followed by Mississippi (75), Iowa (62) and Alabama (55).  Get this, California has had 10 tornadoes this year and that’s only one behind Oklahoma (11).  Michigan is also just one behind Oklahoma (central Oklahoma averages more tornadoes per square mile than any other place on Earth).  Michigan has had only 32 severe hail reports and we’ve had 177 wind reports.  Many of our wind reports came during the derecho of June 30, with winds up to 85 mph along I-94.    Ten states have had no tornadoes this year so far (AK, HI, OR, MA, CT, RI, NH, VT, NJ).  The biggest tornado day by far this year was April 28th (122).  We have only had 46 tornadoes so far this month in the U.S.

Arctic Ice

July 19th, 2014 at 1:42 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

north american snow cover   North Pole Ice Cover  Arctic Ice Extent Click on the images to enlarge.   The first map on the left shows in yellow the ice left in Hudson Bay.  The last ice is usually piled against or near the south shore of the bay.  It’s not unusual to have ice left in the bay in mid-late July.  You can see the Arctic icecap…right to the edge of Alaska.   You can see the ice on the Barrow, Alaska webcam – 24 hours a day in the land of the midnight sun (the sun won’t set in Barrow until around Aug. 2).  For July 1-18, Barrow’s average temperature was 39.4° and that’s 1.5° cooler than average.  The graphic on the right is the Arctic ice extent for the last four years.  We’re still well below the average extent of 1979-2000, but there’s more ice now than on this date going back several years (graphic from the Danish Meteorological Institute).  Temperatures were warmer than average this past winter north of 80° latitude, but they have been cooler than average since early MayAntarctic sea ice extent remains well above (2 standard deviations above) average.