Monday PM

December 15th, 2014 at 12:45 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

  Monday, 7:10 pm – Just a few scattered sprinkles now, but showers over Lake Michigan and N. Indiana will move in and continue overnight into tomorrow AM.  Roads will be wet for the morning commute.  Showers will become more widely scattered for the midday and afternoon tomorrow..  Temperatures stay well above freezing tonight and tomorrow, in the low-mid 40s, dropping into the 30s Tues. evening.  We go below freezing Tues. night and sprinkles will change to flurries, so a slick spot is possible late Tues. night into Weds. AM.  Temps. will cool to the low 30s during the daytime (close to average) for Tues. and Weds. with a quiet pattern into the weekend.   We will see at least light fog, with a Dense Fog Advisory north of U.S. 10 for N. Lower Michigan and much of the U.P.    I don’t see any significant snowstorms in the next week at this point.  Colder pattern sets up a couple days before Christmas and that should lead to some lake-effect snow (and a White Christmas?).   A significant (mostly) rainstorm misses us to the east this weekend.  Remember, I’ve been saying the main storm track this winter might wind up south and east of West Michigan.   I think with the help of man-made snow, ski resorts should be in good shape this Christmas to New Year’s break.  Check out the Sea-Surface Temperature Anomaly Map.   You can see a warm PDO (backwards “C” of warm water (red color) along the West Coast of N. America), the El Nino (warm water along the Equator in the Pacific Ocean) and the warmer than average water off the East Coast of the U.S. In the mean, ridges will try to form over the warm water, leaving a cooler trough over the land areas of Eastern and Central North America.  Get your red flannel ready, folks.  The winter cold is going to come back.

This is pretty neat.  I just checked my twitter followers (@bsteffen).  96.9% are in the U.S., but I have twitter followers all over the world (inc. Brazil, S. Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, mainland China, the Philippines and even one in the Cook Islands!).

Also:  National Climate Data Center says the average global temp. for November was 13.55°C.   (-0.13°C compared to 2013).  The coldest relative to average was in central North America and central Russia.   So far, December 2014 is running a whole 0.01°C behind Dec. 2013 globally … would be 4th warmest in satellite era using NCDC’s “adjusted temperatures” ranking scheme.   Atlanta skyscrapers poke out of the morning fogSunrise over the Atlantic at Palm Beach FLAnother 1-3″ of rain coming to Northern and Central CACanadian model look pretty chilly for much of the U.S. between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Here’s Grand Rapids radar and Northern Michigan radar, NAM model 3-day snowfall forecast and GFS model 5-day snowfall forecast (totals increased on the Sat. overnight model run). Storm Total Snowfall will show the heaviest snow and Milwaukee looping radar. Regional radar and the Updated GRR NWS Short Term Discussion. More links: Grand Rapids radar, Northern Indian radar, Chicago radar, Detroit radar and Milwaukee radar. Here’s College of DuPage Radar Map (pick any radar in the U.S.), College of DuPage Grand Rapids radar, the West Michigan Lightning Tracker, National Lightning Tracker, the local warning/advisory map and the National warning/watch/advisory map, 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. 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 recent 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 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). Here’s the Consumers Energy Power Outage Map.

Monday AM

December 15th, 2014 at 3:22 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Bill at IWX NWS Sunday 12 14 14Bill with Giant UCLA shoe in New Castle Indiana 12 14 14 The first picture is the National Weather Service Office in North Webster, Indiana. North Webster is about halfway between S. Bend and Fort Wayne. I stopped to visit Sunday PM. As you can see, the sun was shining there and the temperature was in the low 50s.  The North Webster Office is responsible for the Michigan counties that border Indiana from Berrien to Hillsdale and for several counties in NW Ohio.   The giant UCLA shoe was in front of a motel (owned by the coach of UCLA) in New Castle, Indiana.

We headed home thru Central and Northern Indiana on the back roads. We stopped quickly once because we had a bee (or yellowjacket) in the car. It was quite lethargic and my brave wife flicked it out the open door. We passed a cemetery where they had a canvas sign saying “two for one sale!”. We continued the theme of stopping at a Subway for their December $2 six-inch cold cut sub. We passed a drive-in that looked like it was abandoned 50 years ago. We also passed half-a-dozen Amish buggies in N. Indiana and a guy just tooling down the highway on his lawnmower. I stopped in a lakes/woods area and walked for about 30 minutes. We saw a couple of big deer on the edge of a field. The first corn I saw that had not been harvested yet was in N. Webster and there were just a few fields from there to home where the corn still stood in the field. We stopped to get a bite to eat at the Wendy’s in Three Rivers. Kudos to the girl behind the counter who was working hard (and succeeding) to keep up. That was the first time someone recognized me. A young woman (and I hear this a lot) liked the way we don’t hype severe weather and that she liked my soothing voice in the middle of the storm.   We saw our first parking lot snow pile next to the Wendy’s in Three Rivers and a few linger here in the Alpine Ave./Walker area.

Now, back to work this week. I wonder how much I forgot! It’s a warm morning, but cooler air sends temperatures back near normal for the middle and end of the week. Sunday’s high/low of 47/43 was 16° above average for 12/14 in G.R.  We’ll see clouds and maybe some fog/mist as low pressure heads toward Michigan.  Later this PM, we’ll get rain showers and they may change to snow showers Tues./Tues. Night.  A slick spot is possible Tues. night into Weds. as colder air moves in.  We could see snow showers Weds. as temperatures go from well above average to slightly above average.  One tornado an some pretty good sized hail in OK Sunday PM.  Snow on the mountains around Lake TahoeSunset in Togoville, Togo (Africa)GFS for Christmas Day morning shows colder air over much of the Continental U.S.  Tallest buildings and the Space Needle poke out of the fog Sunday AM in Seattle.  I’ll second that.

From Somewhere in Central Indiana

December 13th, 2014 at 11:58 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

I honestly don’t know what town I’m in…we’re at a motel somewhere east of Indianapolis.  We got up in Renfro Valley KY and went to the motel breakfast, very nice, lots of choices and lots of food.  They had only sold out 12 rooms out of 50 that night.  Every place we’ve been to south of the Ohio River you can get grits and biscuits with gravy.  The previous night the motel was pretty well sold out because of a big tour bus.  I decided to walk through the large campground to the east of the motel.  There were several creeks, small and large going through and on the border of the campground.  At one spot, there was a beaver dam that had raised the water level a good two feet.  You could see the beaver’s home (I didn’t see a beaver) and you could see where they have been gnawing on the nearby small trees and bushes.  Along the way, I saw blooming dandelions and another small purple wildflower.  There were birds chirping and quite a variety of trees.  The entire day was cloudy, not a minute of sunshine, and the wind was light.  It was clear for much of the night, so we woke up to a fairly thick frost and a solid overcast.  Temperatures warmed into the 40s.  While I walked, Gayle went to the Renfro Valley shops that were around the music theater.  Many of the shops were closed for the season and the rest were closing for the winter within the week.  Many of the shop owners are senior citizens retired from their previous jobs.  I talked to one man that retired 12 1/2 years ago…and said he lasted four months before he had to do something, so he opened his shop there in Renfro Valley.

They have a series of cabins and old cabins from Civil War times in the complex that they have assembled in a circle.  You start at a small gift shop and I went there to see the cat.  We usually come down I-75 and stop at Renfro Valley either coming or going twice a year.  Punkin the cat was a stray that started hanging around the Renfro Valley Music Complex.  They took the cat to a vet. to get it fixed up and adopted it.  They’ve had the cat now for over 7 years.  It can go inside or outside, but when the temperature is cooler than 55° outside, the cat will turn right around and come back inside.  I go over to pet the cat (or the cat comes to see me) and it looks right at me.  It’d stay next to me all day if I stayed there petting it.  We bought some post cards, a t-shirt, a puzzle and a homemade wooden spoon.  The lady (volunteer) at the shop must have been in her 80s.  She makes the baskets and quilts sold in the shop.  Many other homemade items where there…bird houses, soap, little girl dresses.  They had local cookbooks and books about the history of the area.  I met one of the performers from the show we saw the night before.  They do 2 shows on Saturday (matinee and evening).  He chatted about the importance of music and how a lot of people around there can play a musical instrument well, and some of them multiple instruments.

We drove down the highway a bit and decided to break for a bite to eat.  We decided to go to Chick-fil-a.  We’ve driven past a Chick-fil-a 100 times, but never stopped.  This one was on the south edge of Lexington.  We got there around 2:15 pm and the place was packed.  I’d say there were 60 tables inside and 55 were in use.  Outside there was not one, but two lanes for the drive through.  I noted 12 cars waiting to order at Chick-fil-a and only one at the nearby McDonald’s.  Gayle and I estimated that 2/3rds of the people who where in the restaurant were female, with an emphasis on mothers with little kids (every high chair was taken).  There were also tables of senior citizens (again mostly women) and younger women (maybe in their 20s) mainly in groups of 3-5.  The ordering of food was extremely efficient.  They bring your order to your table and it was there in maybe 3 minutes…and it is all things chicken…a wide variety of chicken sandwiches, salads, soup…and not much beyond that.  I got soup and it was very good.

We drove around Cincinnati on the west beltline expressway, passing a ski resort that had plenty of man-made snow and took a back road to Oldenburg, where there is a beautiful old Catholic church and school.  There is an organic farm there called Michaela run by the Sisters of St. Francis.  This is a large working farm, where it’s not unusual to find a nun doing typical farm chores.  They have cows, chickens and grow many good things.  There is a little unheated “store”, where you can purchase farm goods in season and other items like post cards and t-shirts.  It’s all on the honor system.  You just put your money in the bucket and take out your change.  Today, we bought several dried herbs, squash and 3 different kinds of items.  They have popcorn and lots of eggs (which we couldn’t get home).  The first nun came to Oldenburg from Vienna, Austria in 1851 and since then the Sisters of St. Francis at Oldenburg have done much good work.

We’ll drive back to G.R. Sunday and I’ll be back on TV on Monday.  I may stop at the NWS office in North Webster IN.   It’ll be nice to see the cats and to come home and not see a foot of snow in the driveway.    Least snowy Dec. 1-15ths in G.R.

CPC 8-14 day outlook says warm everywhere…now, look at the GFS model for Christmas Day PM, does that look like the CPC Forecast?   The ENSO analog also starting to look chilly.  GFS ensemble days 9-16.

I wrote before that this was coming (note, it’s the NY Times).   Here’s the important passage: ” A year ago, the governors of the six New England states agreed to pursue a coordinated regional strategy, including more pipelines (for natural gas) and at least one major transmission line for hydropower. The plan called for electricity customers in all six states to subsidize the projects, on the theory that they would make up that money in lower utility bills.  But in August, the Massachusetts Legislature rejected the plan, saying in part that cheap energy would flood the market and thwart attempts to advance wind and solar projects. That halted the whole effort.”   Wait until the first day below zero with no sun and no wind and see what happens to the power grid.  They have shut down coal and a big nuclear plant (in order to “save the planet”).  They won’t budge global temperature by 1/1000ths of a degree…but they are building a power grid that is susceptible to failure  due to unreliable energy sources and impoverishing thousands of people with these unnecessarily high utility bills.

Also…sunset at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.Ca Geminid meteor in the U.Kthe lights of NYCsunset at Weiss Lake AL…Casper, WY, had its 11th straight Dec. day of 50F or warmer on Saturday, breaking its record of 10 straight in Dec. 1939.  Satellite pic. of the entire Earth on Saturday.   HUGE volcanic explosion of Mt. Singabung in Indonesia.

December 13th, 2014 at 1:02 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Bill at Kentucky Welcome station    lake laurel kentucky 12 12 14 Saturday AM – from a motel in Renfro Valley, Kentucky.  It was hard to leave my mother today, but after a nice 5-day visit, we took off from Oak Ridge TN in the early afternoon.  It was another sunny, calm and cool day with a thick morning frost.  We drove north into Kentucky – the first picture is at the Kentucky Welcome Rest Stop with the horse and Cumberland Falls in the background.  The picture on the right is me squinting into the sun at Laurel Lake.  Laurel Lake is relatively new, completed in 1977. The hydroelectric dam was begun in 1964. I’m standing on the dam here in the picture. You can see the buoys still in the water and one boat in the distance.  Just behind the dam, the lake is 280 feet deep, which makes it 70 feet deeper than Lake Erie! The lake extends back 19 miles and there are 206 miles of shoreline, dotted with campsites and boat launches. As of 2006, it produced an average annual energy of 67 gigawatt hours of hydroelectricity.   The dam does have some modest capacity to hold water during a flood situation.  It was so calm that you could barely see a few ripples farther out in the lake.  The temperature was a cool 42°.  You could see where dripping water and (very small) waterfalls had turned to ice overnight and not thawed out during the day.  We stopped at the tiniest General Store I have ever seen.  It was about a third the size of our TV studio and there was one of everything…one jar of peanut butter, one jar of mayo., one package of flour.  They didn’t seem to have room for anything else.  The woman there could heat hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza in a microwave and they served ice cream…they had four flavors.  A sign said this little General Store had been in operation since 1880, but I can’t see that it would make much money.  There was an old dog out front lying in a chair.  When we came, it looked scared and walked behind the building, looking out apprehensively.  We got stuck behind two big pieces of farm machinery that took up both lanes of the 2-lane curving road.  A truck with flashing yellow lights traveled about 1/4 mile ahead stopping traffic (I think in five miles we only had four cars come thru) and getting them out of the way.  Much of the area is state forest or wooded hills.

We came to Renfro Valley to hear their Christmas Show.  Renfro Valley is the country/bluegrass capital of Kentucky (this is the 75th year) and they feature concerts and shows many nights of the year from April – December.  There are shops here with local, handmade items.  They polled the concertgoers and  had us whoop and holler when our home state was mentioned.  Gayle and I whooped pretty loud when they said “Michigan”.  I figured no one knew me down here!  About 20 states and Canada were represented in the crowd.   After the show, the performers do a meet-and-greet.  They also have a “village” of old cabins from the 19th century – very interesting and usually free with donations accepted.  They have the nicest cat the roams through the old cabins.   The Kentucky Music Hall of Fame is here, too.  That’s not limited to country/bluegrass -  honorees include Rosemary Clooney, Lionel Hampton, Mary Travers and promoters, managers and behind-the-scenes people.   We head home later today (Sat.).  We might make it…if we don’t, we’ll be back on Sunday.

Also, as of 1 am, Difficult driving with icy patches reported in NE Indiana, reports Indiana DOT…Thursday was the wettest day EVER at Salinas and Monterey CA, 3rd wettest day ever at San Francisco (airport), San Jose and Oakland.  1.05″ of rain in San Diego.  San Diego, CA, has seen more rain in the first 12 days of Dec. (3.58″) than in the first 11 months of 2014! (3.27″).    Partly cloudy and a waterspoutVideo of tornado in South Los Angeles…est. winds of 85 mph.   Video of fog filling the Grand Canyon.  3 dead, 107 missing in landslide caused by heavy rains in central Indonesia.  Don’t know if I’d walk out on this pierSunset, Fort Walton Beach FL.   Sunset, Fire Is. NY.   Sunset, Centreville VA (see the plane?).  From Dr. Maue:  During past 10-days, California averaged 3.5 inches across entire state –> 10 trillion gallons of liquid water.  LAPublicWorks has captured 1billion gallons of rain so far today, enough for 30,000+ people for an entire year.   A whopping 14.8″ of rain was recorded from Wed night to Friday AM in part of Shasta County, CA.

Over the past five years, the newscasts have essentially doubled the amount of time spent on weather and natural disaster stories. The time has more than quadrupled since the early 1990s.”  People get the wrong impression that weather “events’ are much more numerous than in the recent past when a simple, objective internet search debunks that notion.  Pew Poll on most important problems in the U.S.   Top concerns:  Unemployment, Economy, ACA/Obamacare/Health and National Debt – only 1% cite the environment/climate change as #1 problem in U.S.  Weather stations in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales all reported snow Fri. morning.

Friday PM – Quick update from TN.

December 12th, 2014 at 12:16 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Quick note – Friday noon – colder this AM here than in Michigan.   The low temperature in G.R. was 26°, Muskegon only dipped to 32°.  The low was 21° here in Oak Ridge with lots of frost.  The low was 26° in Albany GA and 31° in Savannah GA.  Bright sunshine again today here…not a single cloud.  I looked at the overnight European out to 10 days…nothing much for Michigan.  The pattern looks chillier (and probably snowier) around Christmas time, but it looks more like back to average than a big dump of Arctic air.  The rain and wind in California and the West has been impressive.  I still think the warmer than average water off the Pacific Coast will eventually induce a trough in the Eastern U.S.  The El Nino pattern of the storm track mainly south of Michigan should be the rule for at least the short and mid-term.  Ski areas should be able to make some snow in this pattern and travel conditions should overall (with very limited exceptions over the next 10 days) be favorable (good deal for me).  Enjoy your weekend.

From Oak Ridge

December 12th, 2014 at 1:35 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Lake Melton Tennessee 12 11 14   Bill with Ducks at Lake Melton TN 12 11 14  Early Friday morning.  Today is my wife’s birthday!  We already had cake and sang happy birthday Thurs. evening here in Tennessee.  These are two pictures from Thursday.  It was clear and beautiful here with hardly a breeze all day.  You can see the calm waters of Lake Melton, which is actually the dammed up Clinch River – and part of the TVA.  They hold rowing competitions here and I’ve seen local college (and even a few high school) teams from Lower Michigan down here, usually in the spring.  I don’t know where it ranks now, but when I was in college I saw a list of the average wind speed at weather stations throughout the continental 48 states.  The weather station at Oak Ridge was the least windy of the over 200 stations listed (the windiest was the top of Mt. Washington in N.H.).  There is a train track on the other side of the river and trains come by fairly often.  We saw one while we were down there…64 cars long.  We also saw an eagle perched high on a utility pole on the other side of the river.  There were various ducks, geese, several loons and what looked to me like coots (dark body with a whitish beak).  The picture (click to enlarge) looks like I’m teaching weather to some attentive ducks…but they have a vending machine where you can get real duck food for a quarter (I thought it was a good deal, considering that you got a whole handful of pellets and it took awhile to throw them all out.  I made sure they all got a few.  There was one motorboat on the lake (two fishermen) and a variety of people on the asphalt path walking the dog, jogging or riding a bicycle.  We went to the China Buffet for dinner and then to the Christmas Concert of the Knoxville Chorale.  The concert was at the local Methodist Church and it was free.  The church was at least 90% full and they gave them a standing ovation at the end.

The high temperature here in Oak Ridge Thursday was 42°.  That was the same as Midland MI.  Grand Rapids wasn’t far behind at 38°.  There was a big temp. difference between the high and low temp. where there was snow on the ground to the north.  The high/low was 39°/-1° at Indian River and 38°/3° at Roscommon.   The low temp. Thurs. AM was -5° at Wakefield, -3° at Raco and Spincich Lake and +2° at Newberry.

For you weather geeks…the weather looks pretty quiet for the next few days…but there are signs of a pattern change around or shortly before Christmas.  Note that the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) trends downward after mid-month…same for the AO (Arctic Oscillation).  The PNA (Pacific North American Pattern) remains positive.

West Coast Storm

December 11th, 2014 at 11:14 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Portland Peak WindsLake Tahoe 8-10 foot waves gusts to 70 mph Click on the images to enlarge. The first is waves up to 10 feet high on Lake Tahoe, where winds gusted as high as 70 mph. Surfers were out on Lake Tahoe. The second map is peak wind gusts in Oregon. The fastest gusts were on mountaintops including 139 mph on White Mt., 147 mph on Mt. Lincoln and 117 mph on Squaw Mt. The strong winds have downed numerous trees and power lines. There are more than 111,000 without power across Western Washington and more than 100,000 without power in the San Francisco area…75,000 in Oregon. Some major highways (I-5, US 1) were partially or completely closed for awhile today due to flooding or downed trees. The wind broke windows in an office building in Portland OR today. At 5:23pm – Portland Airport gust to 67 mph! Strongest since 71 mph on Mar. 26th 1971! Second strongest gust ever in Dec.  In mountainous areas of California, rainfall has totaled up 9″+.   Here’s some reservoir levels in California, improving (and that trend will continue much of Dec.), but a ways to go yet.   Travel by kayak and canoe.   CA 1 southbound from Muir Beach to Muir Woods in Marin Co. is closed after road collapse.   Manhole cover blown off, results in 20-foot high geyser!   80-foot tall tree falls on a house in Fairfax CA.

Also:  Sunset at the Vatican in RomeSunset in IowaSunset St. Simon’s Island GA...Sunset in the Mojave DesertSunset in the Florida KeysCumulonimbus with mammatus by Seattle, WashingtonFog fills the Grand Canyon…creates fogfall in the Grand Canyon

Wednesday Evening

December 10th, 2014 at 7:08 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

muskegon glerl  November 2014 temperature   Click on the images to enlarge.   First is the sunset at the Muskegon GLERL weather station at the Muskegon Channel.  Note the low clouds over the lake and a bit of a resemblence to the wavy Kelvin – Helmholtz clouds.  On the right we have state-by-state November temperature rankings.  This is for 119 years of data.  We have five states with a top 5 coldest November in 119 years and 21 states with a top 12 coldest November (inc. Michigan).  Only California had a top ten warmest November.  The first 10 days of December have continued the trend at 2.7 deg. colder than average in G.R.  Despite the cold (and this is unusual) we have had only a trace of snow in G.R. this month (though areas to the north have had 1-2″.  The overall pattern will be near to above normal temps. and overall dry conditions for the rest of the week with a trend to colder and snowier weather around Christmas.  I still expect a cold January.  It was cold this AM up north with lows of -3 at Spincich Lake and Raco in the U.P. and +2 in Newberry.   Kind of odd to see no snow on the 5-day GFS in mid-December for the U.P.    Nice sunset in G.R. courtesy of GRR NWS.

Snow on the ground:  19″ Grand Marais and Ishpeming, 15″ at S. Ste. Marie, Marquette, Munising and Paulding, 13″ at Newberry, 12″ at Ironwood, 11″ at Watersmeet, 5″ at E. Jordan, 4″ at Gaylord, 2″ at Reed City, Cadillac and St. Ignace and 1″ at Traverse City.  The frost depth in G.R. is 2″ officially.     Are you dreaming of a White Christmas?  The afternoon run of the GFS ensemble is.   Brazilian model (METSUL) shows Chicago 6+ deg. colder than normal in the few days before Christmas.

During November, the average contiguous U.S. temperature was 39.3°F, which is 2.4°F below the 20th century average. This ranked as the 11th coldest ever and coldest since 2000. Locations from the Rockies to the East Coast were cooler than average, where 18 states across the Midwest, Ohio Valley, and Southeast had a top 10 cool November.  Alabama and Mississippi each had their second coldest November ever. The Southwest was warmer than average, where California had its ninth warmest November on record.

The California drought gets a real smackdown…up to a foot of rain in the next week in Central and Northern California.   Powerful Pacific storm prompts Bay Area schools to call first-ever rain day.   May have to scratch that one off the Lima list.  Storm is expected to cause Napa, Sacramento and Russian Rivers to crest above flood stage. Target in Sacramento says they sold out of flashlights. People worried about losing power.  Pacific storm causes cottages/homes to fall into the Pacific OceanBlizzard Warning for the California Mountains.   More than 25,000 customers without power in Vermont due to heavy snow.     Snowing in NYC tonight.   11.5” of snow falls in Syracuse, NY, breaking the daily snowfall record set in 1978.  17.1″ of snow fell 2 mi NNE of Homer, NY.  20″ in Jamesville N.Y.    Nice sundog.   Magnitude-6.1 earthquake strikes 67 miles NE of Taipei, Taiwan.   Seattle sets new ALL-TIME record high temperature for December Weds. morning, reaching 66°. Old record was 64° on this date in 1993.   15,000 without power in Washington State due to high winds from storm system.   WOW!   A snowstorm in Northern Africa!  Here’s how Lake Wakapitu in New Zealand looked today.    52-foot wave west of ScotlandSnow in Scotland.    Another pretty late spring/early summer scene from the lakes region of New ZealandTime lapse video of thunderstorm coming into Sydney, Australia.   Massachusetts nor’easterTallest buildings of Dallas stick up out of the fogWider view of Dallas tall buildings sticking out of the fogDrone goes up thru the Dallas fog.   East coast storm produced nearly 3″ of rain in NYC and nearly 5″ at Ipswich.  Pics. of flooding in New Jersey.

The Sacramento NWS has issued a Blizzard Warning, a Winter Storm Warning, a Wind Advisory, a High Wind Warning, a Flood Warning, a Storm Warning, a Gale Warning, a High Surf Advisory, a Small Craft Advisory for Rough Bar, a Small Craft Advisory for Hazardous Seas, a Hazardous Weather Outlook, a Flash Flood Watch and a Hydrologic Outlook.  The good news?  While there could be a thunderstorm, tornadoes are unlikely at this point.

Weds. AM

December 10th, 2014 at 2:25 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Bill - Holly and Evergreens in Oak Ridge 12 14 In the foreground, there are a couple of holly bushes – very green with bright red berries in the winter and in the background, evergreens that seem to attract cardinals. There were also a couple of robins poking along the grounds (it’s rare to ever see a robin at a bird feeder). There is still a touch of green to some of the grass here in Oak Ridge, so it just doesn’t quite look like winter in Michigan. We had a relatively cool day here. I took this picture in the about 5 minutes of sunshine we had all day. We had a few hundredths of an inch of rain and a high of just 44 with a cool north wind. I don’t know if it still is, but when I was in college, I remembered looking at a table of average wind speeds for different cities around the country and noting that Oak Ridge was the least windy place in the U.S. We have mountains (more like hills) on 3 sides. Nearby Lake Melton (the dammed up Clinch River) holds many a rowing regatta from late February through the spring. We spotted Michigan teams down here, including Grand Valley, and I once spotted a team from my high school (New Trier East in Winnetka IL).

Today with the clouds and spotty sprinkles, I took my mom shopping. She wanted to go to Aldi’s and the Dollar Store. There was a Food Lion about a block away (very convenient – my mother used to walk), but that closed earlier this year and now she has to trek across town. She’s 95 and still drives, with a clean driving record. Now, this is not a criticism, but my mother shops in slow motion. Every label is read, every option considered. every weekly flyer not just read, but memorized. It reminds me a reading the Cliff notes for the that Sommerset Maughum book you had to read in high school.

Monday Evening

December 8th, 2014 at 11:23 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Bill with red Georgia Clay    This picture was taken today in Lumpkin GA. and shows the red clay that is prevalent throughout much of the South.  Very few basements are built in tornado prone areas in Tornado Alley across the South due to the shrinking and contracting clay.  I visited Moore OK after the EF5 tornado of 5/3/99.  I talked to a home-builder.  He said he’s only built a handful of basements in Oklahoma.  He told me that the last basement he built cost $40,000.  They had to bring down truckloads of “good” dirt from Kansas and put in a pricey drain system to make it work.

Monday am – we got up, went down to the motel breakfast then Gayle went up to shower and I walked down to the beach (at Destin FL.).  On the way, I passed the seafood restaurant we ate at the night before.  Being a two-cat owner, I was missing my own a little and had befriended a cat who lived outside the seafood restaurant in a dog house.  They set out food, water and a litter box.  The must have remembered me.  It came over and I petted it for about a minute before wishing it a nice life.  The sky was as interesting as it was the night before…several layers of clouds in a variety of colors.  The air was clean and clear and you could see detail all the way down to the horizon.  One young man was fishing at the edge of the water.  There were a dozen people walking beach.  Our motel was right on the incoming landing strip for the Regional Airport (and maybe Eglin AFB), so I saw a handful of planes fly very low to the ground overhead.

We drove north into an overcast sky, but with quite a bit of color variation.  Temperatures quickly fell from the 50s to the mid-upper 40s and a cool north wind gave a hint of December.  We drove past more cotton fields, most harvested, some not.  There was a trail of cotton balls on the side of the road.   There was one spot where there were dozens of large pressed cotton rectangles, big enough to take up most all the room in a semi or to fill a train car.  The cotton was covered by colorful tarps of yellow and orange.  I should have taken a picture.  The Southern Pines stay green all year and I imagined that the pine forests didn’t change much with the changing seasons.  We reached Atlanta as the evening rush hour was beginning and that slowed us up.  On I-75 north of Atlanta there’s one short distance where they had 8 lanes going in each direction (and we were still clogged up).  It got dark by the time we reached the Tennessee border (earliest sunsets of the year this week).  We got to Oak Ridge around 8:30 pm.  Gas here is as low as $2.35.   Everyone is turning in early (inc. me).

I see (as promised) we have the mix of precipitation across Michigan as I write this.  Temps. are in the low-mid 30s as I write this.  Anywhere it is at or below freezing, or above freezing, but snowing fairly hard there could be slick spots during the morning.  Newaygo and Mecosta Counties have had about 1.5″ of snow so far.  There is also some fog.  Slick spots are reported in Northern Lower Michigan.  The first 8 days of Dec. have averaged 3.8 deg. below average.   The GRR NWS reports that November 2014 was the cloudiest November since 2000, with 19% of possible sun.  However G.R. had 43% sun 1st week of December.   Snow at Lambeau didn’t slow the Packers.  Look at this:  Blocking Ridge means temps. like the fridge!  Look at the chilly flow over the Great Lakes.

Also – wind gust to 78 mph on the coast of Iceland, waves to 48 feet!…Flood Watch for San Francisco and much of Central California as powerful new storm moves in off the Pacific…the past three days at Marble Bar, Australia, temps hit a scorching 117 F Saturday and 118 F on Sunday and Monday…Snowfall in IrelandNOAA report says California drought due to natural causes not so called “global warming”.  December rain causing sizable dent in drought and helping to refill reservoirs in California…Halo around the moon in Ohio Sunday nightHeavy coastal rains and inland snows with the northeast storm…24 fatalities in the Philippines from Typhoon Hagupit…