Shower/T-Storm Anvil W. Horizon at Sunset

October 26th, 2014 at 7:50 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

muskegon glerl  radar mkx  Looking west at sunset, you could see the anvil of a thundershower that was about 150 miles west of G.R.   Click on the images to enlarge.  The first image is the Muskegon GLERL camera pointing west shortly after sunset (from NOAA Coastwatch).  You can see the thundershower anvil top over the breakwater.  The second image is the Milwaukee radar (see current loop of Milwaukee radar here).   Here’s current National Lightning Data (Sunday evening this is showing the lightning in S. Wisconsin).  We also have a nice crescent moon out this evening.   Here’s a loop of the Muskegon GLERL camera showing some boats going in and out of the channel and a nice sunset.  Most of West Michigan is in the General Thunderstorm Outlook from the Storm Prediction Center for tonight.   SPC says “SMALL HAIL WILL BE POSSIBLE IN THE STRONGEST CELLS.”

The afternoon GFS plot has the temp. for G.R. at 34 for 8 pm Friday with it cold enough that any precipitation would be snow or a mix near the lake.  It gives G.R. highs only in the low 40s for next Sat. and Sun.  The European model takes the 850 mb temperature (a little less than a mile above the ground) to around 12F – that is REALLY cold air. While it predicts an overall dry airmass…air that cold crossing the Great Lakes will produce clouds and snow showers.  We’ll get below freezing Friday night/early Saturday.  That means we could see slicks spots on the roads and maybe even some snow accumulations in some areas.  The most likely places for snow accumulations may be the U.P. and inland areas at higher elevations like Cadillac, Lake City and Mancelona.

Check out the lightning in Australia.  Here’s fall colors in Gunthersville, Alabama.  The fall color change is usually only a week or so later in the Smoky Mts., N. Alabama and N. Georgia than it is in S. Michigan.  Tropical cyclone Nilofar will brush Oman, then head toward SE Pakistan and N. India.  Record high of 89 in Lubbock  TX Sunday afternoon.  Wow!  The Lions are 6-2.  Record low number of weather stations in the U. S. Historic Climate Network reached 90 degrees this summer.   Heavy snow on Mt. Rainier, Washington – over 2 feet expected!  Venice is on the east coast of Italy – so…this is likely either a sunRISE in Venice or it’s not Venice.  I think he meant “fog” instead of “dog”.  Waves up to 26 feet off the coast of Scotland.


October 26th, 2014 at 3:53 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Kalamazoo Nature Center Weather Station   Kalamazoo Nature Center 10 25 14 Kalamazoo Fire Safety Day I drove to Kalamazoo/Portage Saturday for Fire Safety Day.  Had a great time…talked to a lot of people, a few mentioned the blog – thanks to “Irish Coffee” for stopping by.  Leaves were really coming off the trees as I drove down US 131 under cloudy skies.  I left the Lowe’s a little after 2 pm and drove north on Westnedge, stopping at Markin Glen Park.  I hiked through the park and out onto the bicycle trail.  The campground was over 1/2 full – only one tent – the rest were campers.  Then I went up to the Kalamazoo Nature Center.  I forgot how big it is.  You could fit 2 decent 18-hole golf courses on the property.  I brought some gifts and a couple of science toys for Maranda Park parties and other appearances.  I then drove to the prairie to see the weather station.  I think (but I’m not positive) that this is the weather station that reports on the NWS morning regional climate product.  It’s in the prairie (first picture).  There may be a slight dip there, but it’s not in a valley.  It reads significantly lower than the Kalamazoo Airport on calm, clear nights.  Assuming both thermometers are accurate, there is a significant difference between the prairie and the concrete and asphalt environment of the airport.  If that is the case, you could see how moving thermometers from prairies and fields to airports might have caused the climate data to show some warming.   The middle picture shows the end of the prairie, looking east over the Kalamazoo River valley – (click the images to enlarge) – you can see that we are past peak color.  I drove home up Division, stopping to see the horse drawn cart with lots of happy kids in Wayland.   I got in a couple miles of hiking.

We’re looking at a mostly sunny Sunday.  The NAM and GFS MOS give G.R. a high of 57 and 59 for Sunday pm, but it you look at thickness lines, you’d go at least mid 60s.  Monday will be the warmest day of the week (near 70 or into the 70s if we get some sun, and probably our last 70 in 2014).  We get rain mainly Monday night with the cold front…it may turn out to be dry for more hours than not on both Monday and Tuesday.  It’ll be cooler Tuesday and cooler still on Weds./Thurs.  We are still looking at the coldest air of the season for Friday and Saturday.  The GFS-plot has -10C air at 850 mb and that would cause lake-effect rain and at least mixed snow (not impossible that some places could see some light accumulations and the season’s first slippery roads.  The GFS-plot has the 8 pm temperature at 33F with a 10-15 mph north-northwest wind.  The European has temperatures in the mid 30s for trick-or-treating with a decent wind.  It takes the 850mb temp. to -8.2C.  I know Lake Michigan is relatively warm (could keep the precipitation more rain than snow at the shore) and the air mass is dry, but with temperatures that cold, you’d have to consider accumulating snow somewhere…esp. the higher elevations around Cadillac/Lake City and in the U.P.  It’s too early for snow to hang around…but bottom line is we are looking at the coldest air of the season for Friday and Saturday – a cold and maybe wet trick-or-treat time – and the real possibility of our first snowflakes of the season.

The storm that hit the Pacific NW has left nearly 150,000 customers without power in the Seattle/Puget Sound area.  Gusts to 71 mph at Fort Hall, ID, 62 mph Hanford WA, 69 mph at Antelope OR, and 59 mph at Salmon ID.  Oklahoma City set a record high of 92 on Saturday.  It was 96 in Phoenix AZ, 91 in Wichita KS, 80 in Denver and 70 as far north as Havre, MT.


October 24th, 2014 at 11:38 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Lake Michigan sunset S. Haven 10 24 14   This was sunset Friday night from the bluff in S. Haven.  Most all of the weekend should be pleasant.  We’ll see partly sunny skies this Sat. afternoon with a rather brisk west wind.  Sunday looks mostly sunny and pleasant with highs near 60.   Monday may be the last 70-degree day of 2014.  We have a chance of a brief shower or even a t-shower as a warm front comes thru.  The cold front follows on Tuesday with our best chance of rain.  The coldest air of the season is likely for next weekend, with rather chilly and damp conditions for trick-or-treat Friday evening and a cold Saturday.  A couple models show a mix of rain and even some wet snow either Fri. night or Saturday (Nov. 1).  Have a good weekend.  I’ll be checking in with updates as time permits.

The overnight GFS plot has the 850 mb temperature over G.R. down to -9C on Halloween with an 8 pm temperature of 32F.   That’s certainly cold enough for snow if it’s precipitating…and with a north wind – if this were to happen, you’d have to think about accumulating snow from lake-effect.  The wind is north in G.R.   I’m not staying up for the European and I’ll wait to post tomorrow until I get back from Kalamazoo, but it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.  The remains of hurricane Ana will come into the Pacific NW with heavy rain and that will pump up the ridge in the West and induce a trough over the Great Lakes/East.  You might be thinking about a Halloween costume that will keep you warm if you’re going to be outdoors.

Kalamazoo Safety Day

October 24th, 2014 at 11:33 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Fire Safety Day Lowe's Portage  Click on the image to enlarge.  A quick note – I’ll be at the Lowe’s in Portage from shortly after 10 am until about 1 pm.  We’ll have free smoke detectors and free 9-volt batteries (while supplies last).  You can see fire trucks, the LIFE EMS ambulance, the E.S.C.A.P.E. fire safely trailer.  You can meet Jake the fire safety dog.  We’ll have free handouts, Bill Steffen mustaches, candy and lots more.  The Lowe’s is on Westnedge Ave. just north of I-94.  It’s the 11th annual Fire Safety Day.   The E.S.C.A.P.E. Smoke Demonstration trailer will teach families how to be safe from fire. Free fire extinguisher demonstration.   Tour the Portage Public Safety Fire Engine, Life EMS Ambulance and learn about smoke alarms from Safe Kids of Kalamazoo County. Free games and prizes for those who know the correct answers to the safety questions presented throughout the day. Halloween costume contest begins at 11:00 am with prizes.   For more information, you can also visit these   and   You can ask me about the weather for the coming winter or whatever you like.  It’s free.

Weekend Sports Thread

October 24th, 2014 at 9:03 pm by under Bill's Blog, Sports, Weather

ferris state logo Michigan and Michigan St. – 3:30 pm on WOTV4.  Michigan St. is a 17-point favorite.   The weather looks very good…partly cloudy and low 60s.  There will be a cross wind, west at about 15 mph.  Almost all football stadiums run north and south.  Another big match-up is Ferris St. at Michigan Tech.  Both schools are 6-0 in the conference.  That game is at 1 pm.  GVSU has been coming back and they are now back to .500.  They head to Findlay, Ohio for a noon game.  Central Michigan is at Buffalo (3:30 pm – ESPN3).  It’s Homecoming at Western Michigan where they host the Ohio at 2 pm.  The evening game on WOTV4 (8 pm) is Ohio St. at Penn St.  If you really can’t get enough football and don’t need the sleep, the Nevada/Hawaii game in Honolulu starts at midnight EDT.   Then get up early for the Lions/Atlanta match – starting at 9:30 am EDT in London, England.  The Sunday evening game on NBC (WOOD-TV) is Green Bay at New Orleans.  Monday night is Washington and Kirk Cousins against Dallas.    The weather looks good for pretty much all of the games.  That may not be the case next weekend.

Great Lakes Water Levels

October 24th, 2014 at 2:22 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Lake Michigan Mackinac Bridge Michelle Olin Oct. 2014   Great picture from a few days ago of the Mackinac Bridge – by Michelle Olin.  The big story – Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are 22″ higher than one year ago!  Wow…22 times 390 billion gallons per inch = a gain of 8.58 TRILLION gallons of water in just one year.  For Lake Huron, that’s 22 times 400 billion gallons per inch = 8.8 trillion gallons.  These are the biggest one-year rises ever recorded on the lakes.  Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are both up 1″ in the last month and are now 4″ above the long-term October average.  From Aug. 1 to Oct. 1 the water level of Lakes Michigan and Huron rose 2″.  On average, those lakes drop 5″ during those 2 months.   Lake Superior is unchanged in the last month, up 10″ year-to-year and the lake is now 8″ above the century average.  Lake Erie is down 2″ in the last month, but the lake is up 8″ in the past year and is now 7″ above the long-term average.  Lake Ontario is down 6″ in the last month and down 2″ in the last year.  Ontario is 2″ below the century average.  Lake St. Clair is down 1″ in the last month, up 16″ in the last year and is now 9″ above average.   If you add up all the Great Lakes – the sum total comes to a one-year increase of 23.99 trillion gallons of water!  That’s enough water to give every person in drought-stricken California approximately 600,000 gallons of water!  The phenomenal increase in the water levels of the lakes is due to above average precipitation, below average evaporation and a longer period with ice-cover last winter.

Also:  State record muskie caught in Torch Lake.  At 50 pounds, 8 ounces – it beat the old record by 2.5 pounds!   7.5 million dollars raised to buy dune land at Saugatuck, MichiganMichigan National Guard testing wind funnelsCleveland christens “floating office”Ghost ships of the Great Lakes.

Tornado in Washington State

October 23rd, 2014 at 7:34 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Tornado Longview Damage   Tornado Longview Washington Doreen Grose A tornado struck Longview, Washington this afternoonVIDEO HERE.    They report roof damage and trees toppled, but no serious injuries.  It was on the ground for at least 6 blocks.  Pictures from KGW-TV.  More pictures here.  Helicopter video of the damage here (complete with annoying audio).  “The wind also blew the roof off the gym at Kessler Elementary School, but the kids were outside playing in the rain at the time and didn’t even notice, school officials told KGW.”

Partial Solar Eclipse

October 23rd, 2014 at 1:45 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Solar eclipse partial NASA   I didn’t said much about the partial solar eclipse that occurred this evening.  A solar eclipse occurs when the moon comes between the sun and the earth.   In a total eclipse (a very rare event in any one given spot), the moon covers the entire sun and you can sometimes see the “diamond ring effect”.  More common is some degree of partial eclipse.  Today’s eclipse starts at 5:36 pm and reaches a peak right at official sunset around 6:42 pm.  “At this point roughly half the sun will be covered by the moon.  However, we had some clouds that have come in from the west and blocked a good view of the eclipse.  A solar eclipse (much more so for a total solar eclipse at midday than this, a 50% partial eclipse at sunset thru some high clouds) is very dangerous to look at.  You can view a solar eclipse safely by using two paper plates…poking a hole in one and having the sun shine through onto the second plate.   There is a much better solar eclipse coming August 21, 2017.  That will be a total eclipse from Oregon to South Carolina and I believe about 80% for Lower Michigan.

Also, here’s a list of flyovers of the Intl. Space Station.  You can also get the latest on West Michigan astronomical events from the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Assn.  Sky and Telescope’s Sky at a Glance will show you the current position of the planets.   Check out for details on auroras, the number of sunspots, asteroid approaches and more.  Here’s a link to a map that shows where the space station is right now (takes a little while to open the page). Here’s another tracking map with the position of the sun.

Snow for Halloween

October 22nd, 2014 at 8:51 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

gfs_namer_228_1000_500_thick  Click on the image to enlarge.  The GFS model is back to prediction snow for Halloween.  This is today’s run of the GFS model for Halloween (evening) and it’s got a 528 thickness and precipitation…that would likely be a mix of rain and snow.  The European has partly cloudy skies and low 40s around 8 pm Halloween night.  We’ll stick with that for right now.   Also the CFSv2 model is forecasting a cool November.

Also, speaking of snow…some very welcome snow on the way for the high Sierras of CaliforniaPretty snow in SloveniaSnow forecast for Europe.   Snow in Austria.   Snowfall in Germany.  The Northern Lights were visible in N. Wisconsin last nightFall colors in Ohio.   Nor’easter giving Boston steady 40 mph winds, gust to 51 mph and 59 mph at Buzzard’s Bay MA and at Isle of Shoals NH.  Another eruption of  Mt. Sinabung in Indonesia.

Clouds East, Sun West

October 22nd, 2014 at 12:13 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

adds  Click on the image to enlarge.  At noon, we have clouds generally east of US 131 and sunshine to the west.  The cloud area will likely shrink some during the early-mid afternoon.  The clouds helped to keep areas to the east a little above freezing this morning (low temps:  37 Coldwater, 35 Lansing), while clear areas dropped below freezing: (31 S. Haven, 29 Fremont, East G.R. Fennvile, Sparta…28 Hopkins, Hudsonville…27 Ludington, Belding and Kent City…26 Benton Harbor, Houghton Lake…25 Big Rapids…24 Reed City…23 Kalamazoo Nature Center…21 Cadillac, Baldwin).

Look at the rain that fell around Palm Beach FL…up to 9.72″ south of the Port of Palm Beach.