Clearing Skies

August 27th, 2015 at 11:01 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

muskegon glerl     The clouds hung on longer than I thought they would in G.R., but we’re partly sunny now and mostly sunny in some lakeshore areas.  The high in G.R., Muskegon and Holland (so far) has been 71.  Our average high for today is 79. Sunset tonight is at 8:26 pm, tomorrow 8:24 pm.  Here’s the satellite loop and current temperatures in Michigan.  You can see the blue sky out over Lake Michigan on the GLERL pic. here from Muskegon (from NOAA Coastwatch).

Low temps. last night:  51 G. Rapids, 50 Battle Creek, 49 Muskegon and Holland, 47 Kalamazoo (airport).  Some cool spots:  45 at hastings, Ludington, Charlotte, Hart, Baldwin and Ceresco (Calhoun Co.)…44 at the agricultural station in Lawrence, 41 at the Kalamazoo Nature Center.   It really got cool in the U.P.:  39 Houghton, Marquette and Manistique, 36 at Ironwood, 34 at Paulding, Champion, Watersmeet and Kenton, 33 at Wakefield and the coldest I saw was a frosty 32 at Baraga Plains.   Past week -5.4 degrees w/ highs in the 60s 3 of 7 days. Past 4 days only 19% sunshine.

No, Mars won’t be as big as the full moonPath of “Erika” toward the east coast of FloridaFlooding from “Erika” on the island of DominicaAnother pic. of the flooding – and there may have been a building collapse.   8.86 in (225 mm) in 6 hours at Canefield Apt.  Uh-oh!  – Dominica.   Pic. of baseball-sized hail near Greenbush KSPlanes fighting wildfires get pretty close to the groundHurricane Katrina – 10 years later.    Tropical Storm Jimena forms in the eastern Pacific, the 10th named storm of the season.  No threat to land at this point.  The remains of Hurricane Goni bringing heavy but beneficial rain to northeast China, Vladivostok Russia.

Football Frenzy!

August 27th, 2015 at 12:42 am by under Bill's Blog, Sports, Weather

full moon u.s. naval observatory   football frenzy Football Frenzy – high school football kicks off tonight. It’s all cameras on deck for the Frenzy. We’re planning on covering 20 games this evening and 19 games tomorrow evening. Highlight games tonight: W. Ottawa/Mona Shores, Lowell/Walled Lake Western and Portage/Battle Creek Lakeview. Watch the highlights at 10 pm on WXSP and at 11 pm on WOOD TV8. We’ll also have cut-ins throughout the evening on WOOD.  Pic. is what the moon looked like last night.  We’ll have a nearly full moon the next couple nights.  The full moon is technically Saturday at 2:35 pm and the full moon of August is most often called the Sturgeon Moon.  Here’s the names and times of the full moons of 2015.  Next month we have the Harvest Moon, plus a lunar eclipse!  Here’s this week’s Sky at a Glance, where you can check the location of planets and other cool things to see in our nighttime sky.  Here’s the list of Space Station Flyovers for West Michigan.  You can also get the latest on West Michigan astronomical events from the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Assn.  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.  Nearly full moon hangin’ over the Windy City.  Grand Rapids is now 1 degree cooler than average for the month of August.  Michigan was the coolest of the Lower 48 states on Weds.  Last 4 days G.R. has had 19% of possible sunshine.  Three of the last 7 days have had highs in the 60s.  Last 7 days have been 5.4 deg. cooler than average.

The overnight models are more bullish on rain for Saturday.  the NAM model gives G.R. a 27% chance of rain Fri. night and a 70% chance of rain on Sat.  The GFS has a 29% chance of rain late Fri., a 59% chc. of rain Fri. night and an 80% chance of rain on Saturday.

It’s been a cool start to the day – here’s current Michigan temps, Michigan webcams and the latest Lake Michigan water temps. (Reeds Lake in East G.R. last check had a water temp. of 70).  Here’s yesterday’s U.S. high temps. – including a hot 102 at Laredo TX, Chadron NE and Imperial NE.  On the cool side – the high was only 62 in Cleveland, 68 in Columbus OH, Elkins WV and Pittsburgh PA.  Buffalo managed only 69.  The past two days, Grand Marais (beach) in the U.P. has had high temps. of 54 and 53.  Once again the warmest temp. in the U.S. was at Death Valley CA (115), while Togo MN dipped to a frosty 32.

View of Tropical Storm Erika from the Hurricane Hunters Aircraft near sunset Weds.  Here’s the latest projected path of Erika, which should come close to Florida.  4.76″ of rain near Homestead, FloridaHurricane Ignacio heading toward HawaiiAurora last night in Wisconsin – nearly full moon makes it harder to see.  the kp-index is at a 5 as I write this.   1.31″ of rain in 1 hr at Mount Rushmore, SD.  Look at the cool, wet weather coming for Washington State – great news for fire fighters.

Weds. Evening/Night

August 26th, 2015 at 11:58 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

[Image of 5-day forecast and coastal areas under a warning or a watch]kyle airplane shot   First, the latest forecast path of Tropical Storm “Erika” brings the storm through the northern Lesser Antilles Islands, over Puerto Rico – into the Bahamas and finally into S. Florida as a weak to at most moderate hurricane. The HWRF model takes the storm right into the Miami area.  Here’s the forecast discussion for “Erika” and areas that could see +58 mph wind gusts.  This will not be an “Andrew”.

The picture on the right is from Kyle Underwood, who is flying up to Charlevoix this AM. At one mile above ground, you’re above the clouds and into the sunshine.  The satellite loop shows breaks in the clouds.  Current observations show temps. in the low-mid 60s as I write this (early afternoon).  There are still a couple of sprinkles in the area.

On a personal note, we have a mouse in basement.  We have two cats and when we hear a “cat stampede” in the basement, you can assume they are chasing a mouse.  They never catch the mouse, they just chase it (like a dog chasing a car).  So, I have a live trap – I’ll eventually trap the mouse and take it to some local forest and the cats will sulk because I’ve taken away their toy.

Wednesday – Another Cool Day

August 26th, 2015 at 1:21 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

muskegon glerl cloudy with lake-express ferry 8 25 15   The Muskegon GLERL camera (from NOAA Coastwatch) caught the Lake Express ferry heading back to Milwaukee around 4:20 pm yesterday afternoon.  More clouds than sun for most of us again today.  Here’s the visible satellite loop (daytime) and the infrared satellite loop (nighttime).  Here’s current Michigan weather observations and G.R. radar.   The overnight run of the NAM model gives G.R. highs of 71 today and 74 on Thursday with a cool 49 Thurs. AM.  The GFS has highs for G.R. starting today as 69, 73, 79, 78, 82, 85, 84 – with the chance of rain highest on Sat. (63%) and Sun. (53%).   I don’t think I’ll stay up for the European model tonight.

Here’s U.S. high temps. yesterday.  The warmest and coldest temps. in the U.S. were both in California yesterday, 118 at Death Valley and 31 at Bodie State Park.  The two weather stations are about 180 miles apart.  There is a big difference in elevation, with Death Valley dipping to 282 feet below sea level and Bodie St. Park at a very high 8,375 feet above sea level.  Bodie St. Park is a ghost town.  Here’s a short video about the park.  The average high temperature in August at Death Valley is 113.

Here’s the GFS on the path of Erika – this model run has it greatly weakened in the Keys.  Note the GFS also has a small low pressure center in Indiana, giving areas south of G.R. the best bet for a period of rain on Saturday.    Anyone like red clouds?  There were some relatively hefty rainfall amounts in N. Alaska:  1.52″ Kotzebue, 1.50″ 15 WNW Tanacross, 1.06″ Nome, 0.53″ Barrow.  Up to 5″ of snow is forecast for the Brooks Range.  It should be a relatively quiet week for severe weather.  There’s still a tiny block of ice (yellow color) in Hudson Bay.   The average date for the minimum Arctic ice extent is Sept. 15.  It was Sept. 17 last year and Sept. 13th in 2013.  Here’s the Arctic ice extent today compared to the same date in 2007Kettle Complex fire in WA.

Tuesday Night

August 25th, 2015 at 11:50 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Grand HAven Steelheaders CAM   11:59 pm -  The high today in G.R. was 62°.  That’s 3° cooler than the high temperature was on Christmas Day in 1982 (another year with a strong El Nino).  BTW – four months exactly until Christmas Day.    The lowest maximum temp. for G.R. on this date was 60 in 1940.  Today ties for 7th coolest August high temperature EVER in G.R. (records go back to the late 1800s).  The east buoy in Lake Superior was showing an air temp. of 48 at 8 pm.

The pic. here is a screen grab from the Grand Haven Steelheaders camera from late morning.  When the pic. was taken, the temperature was 59 with a WNW wind at 18 mph.  The lake is a little calmer than yesterday (waves are still 3.8 feet at the Port Sheldon buoy), but red flags are flying at all the State Park beaches this evening.  Here’s radar – mainly just an isolated sprinkle now, with most of the sprinkles north of Cadillac.  Statewide high temperatures:  66 was the warmest I saw at Flint, Detroit and Saginaw.  The high was just 59 in Big Rapids, 58 at Cadillac, 54 in Newberry, 53 at the NWS office in Marquette and just 52 at Spincich Lake.  Rainfall last 24 hours:  0.48″ E. Munising, 0.17″ S. Ste. Marie,  0.10″ Muskegon, 0.05″ G.R., 0.03″ Kalamazoo, just a trace so far at Holland.  G.R. has now slipped into negative territory for the month of August.  For August 1-25, G.R. is 0.7° cooler than average.

Here’s Michigan webcams and  Lake Michigan water temps.  Reeds Lake water temp. this evening is down to 70°.   Here’s the satellite loop (daytime), showing a few breaks in the clouds, but a general overcast back past Milwaukee WI – so we’ll stay under the clouds tonight.   The morning run of the NAM model shows highs of 71° tomorrow and 74° on Weds. with clouds starting to clear tomorrow PM (from southwest to northeast) and Thursday being mostly sunny.  The morning run of he GFS would still give us a chance of a sprinkle thru midday tomorrow.  The morning run of the GFS gives G.R. highs of 69° tomorrow (Wed.) and 73° on Thurs.  The national satellite loop (daytime) shows it’s sunny today over most of the country.  We have clouds in the Great Lakes, New England and some clouds in the SW desert areas of AZ into S. CA and SE NV.

The long-range outlook for the first week of Sept. is warmer than average for just about everybody east of the Rockies.  I agree with this – Sept. should be a warmer than average month over most all of the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.  The pattern shift is good news for fire-fighters in the Pacific NW.

The BP gas refinery in Whiting, Indiana is coming back online – so gasoline prices should start to drop in 4-7 days, I’m told.  Minimal Tropical Storm Erica and what’s left of Danny bringing beneficial rain to the Puerto Rico and the northern Caribbean.  Erika forecast to stay east of the SE US., but it will be a close call, esp. for E. NC.   Lots of smoky skies in the western half of the U.S. this AMFloods in Turkey – 8 fatalities.  EF2 tornado yesterday in The Netherlands.   Honolulu recorded 3.6″ of rain Monday, more than 6x the normal monthly amount.   Why is INDY like the planet Earth?  They both have sprites.   It should be a warmer than average Labor Day Weekend for much of the Great Lakes.   I just checked the GFS for Seattle.  Here’s the high temps. and (% chance of rain) starting Friday:  71° (57%), 69° (86%), 70° (72%), 69° (64%), 72° (52%).  The pattern shift should be of great help to fire fighters in WA and to a lesser extent OR, ID, CA, MT.   Moon and thunderhead at sunset over the Gulf of MexicoWhat the moon looks like tonight (yeah, I know it’s cloudy).  Dust storm moves into Phoenix.  Here’s the dust storm coming into Chandler AZ.  Estimated 8-10,000 lightning strikes over the Hawaiian Islands last night – that’s a lot for Hawaii.  Lightning video from HITropical Storm Ignacio forms, should become a hurricane and head toward Hawaii.    Lightning hits tree – and you could have been zapped standing 75 feet from the trunk.  Racing with the haboob.



August 25th, 2015 at 1:29 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather   Click on the images to enlarge.  These are the 6-10 day outlooks from CPC (the Climate Prediction Center) for the period Aug. 30 to Sept. 3.  I agree with the temperature map…it will cool in the Pacific NW and be warm to hot east of the Rockies.  I really hope the above average rainfall is correct in Washington State.  That would be a big help to fire fighters.  Here in the Great Lakes, that looks like WNW flow thunderstorms, which would be interesting.   Here’s a look at yesterday’s weather on Mackinac Island.

Overnight model data:  NAM high temps. for Tue./Weds./Thu. = 68, 71, 73.  GFS high temps. starting with Tue. (today):  68, 69, 74, 77, 81, 84, 85.  Any showers today should be light and widely scattered.  I think Sept. will turn out warmer than average in the Great Lakes, maybe by 2-3 degrees.

Also – Tropical Storm “Erika” has been named.  Here’s the projected path of the storm – to the west-northwest, brushing by the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico.  That area has been dry, so they can use the rain.  With the system projected to remain a tropical storm, any wind damage would be limited.  The storm should be in the Bahamas over the coming weekend.  Interests in Florida should pay attention to later updates on Erika as the storm could be moving close to or into Florida early next week.  The water is quite warm in the Bahamas and off of Florida.   Most overnight models have Erika turning north before the center reaches Florida.  Erika will not become a major hurricane.   Typhoon Goni will weaken to a tropical storm as it crosses southern Japan and heads toward the Russian coast.   Former Typhoon Atsani is fading as a tropical/extratropical depression far out to sea.  Minimal Hurricane Loke west of Hawaii poses no threat to land and will fade away as it heads north into cooler water.  Nice pic. of last night’s moon.   Record rainfall in Honolulu.   Yesterday was the 46th consecutive day that Central Park in NYC has reached 80 F.  Pic. of tornado in Australia yesterday.   What do you eat when you are hiding in a cave for 6 years?    Danny is the 26th Atl MH in a row to not impact the US as a MH. Odds are ~1:7400, given the 1900-2000 rate of 29% of all MH impacting US.

Several Cool Days

August 24th, 2015 at 11:44 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

muskegon glerl 2 muskegon glerl   Here’s a couple of late AM pics. from the Muskegon GLERL cam (from NOAA Coastwatch).  We’ve got some pretty decent waves inside the breakwaters and whitecaps as far out as you can see.  Click on the pictures to enlarge.  Beach observations this AM show waves of 4-7 feet.   Strong currents are likely this PM and it’s best to stay out of water more than knee-deep unless you have a board and really know what you are doing.  Late morning shows an air temp. of 63.5 at Muskegon with a steady 25 mph wind, 65.1 at S. Haven with a 23 mph wind.  Needless to say, not many people would be spending time swimming at Lake Michigan today.  The buoy at Slate Island in Lake Superior shows an air temp. of 49 shortly before noon.  The surface map shows some 40′s north of Lake Superior late morning.  We should continue to see gusts to 30 mph this afternoon.  The morning run of the NAM model is out and gives G.R. highs of 68 tomorow and 72 on Weds.    At noon – Grand Rapids is 66°, wind west at 23, gust to 30 mph.  Charlevoix, Harbor Springs and Beaver Is. are all raining and 56°.  Houghton and Ironwood are both only 50° at noon.  At 2:30 pm – sprinkles and very light showers north of I-96…will continue there and a few sprinkles, light showers developing south of I-96.

Also, what once was Hurricane Danny has been downgraded to a depressionthe Hurricane Center will stop issuing advisories.  The next storm, “Erika” will be named soon – taking a path eventually toward the Bahamas.  The Eastern Pacific remains quietPic. from 8/24/92 with Hurricane Andrew hitting S. Florida.   Pic. of  board thru palm tree from “Andrew”Number of wildfires below normal this year, but record year for acreage burned.  WOW!   Close cloud-ground lightning strike at the Vikings game – disaster waiting to happen.  Thunderstorms in Hawaii.   Heavy rain in Amsterdam this PM.

Cool Start to the Work Week

August 24th, 2015 at 3:14 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

lightning Grand Haven Kirk Jackson 8 23 15 reportitLightning hits Lake Michigan - ReportIt 8 23 15    Here’s a couple of pics. that Kirk Jackson sent to WOOD-TV through ReportIt.  Just about everyone saw some rain on Sunday.  We’ll have a chance of a shower or two today (esp. north) with chilly air (for August) coming across the warmer waters of Lake Michigan.  The overnight run of the NAM model gives G.R. highs of 71/68/71 for Mon. to Weds.  The GFS highs for Mon. – Sat. are 74/69/72/74/77/76.  Here’s current temperatures and a satellite loop (IR – for daytime or nighttime).  Beach Hazards Statement and Small Craft Advisories for Lake Michigan.  From GRR NWS:  “We closely monitored 2 rotating storms this afternoon. One was near Hastings, other near Mason.  Neither strengthened.  Here’s pics. of the rescue at Grand Haven ThursdayLightning hit Sunday.   I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a waterspout on Lake Superior/Michigan/Huron sometime in the next couple days.   Temperatures will be warmer next week than they will be this week.

Also:  Tropical Storm “Danny” will be only a tropical depression as it passes south of Puerto Rico.    Kahului on Maui Island, Hawaii tied its all-time record high temperature (for any month) with a 97° reading.   Snow for AlaskaUnusual late-summer snow in Calgary, Canada.   Timelapse from a Great Lakes freighter.  Caribou, ME reached at least 80 F for the 10th straight day Sunday, a new record. Previous record: 9 days set three times in the 1970s.  Update on Typhoons Goni and Atsani in the Western Pacific.   Casper, WY dropped to 29 F Sunday morning; Previous record-low: 41 F back in 1966.  Nice pic. of Sunday PM in Lima, Peru.  Lima is the 3rd biggest metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere (behind Sao Paulo and Mexico City).  August is the coolest month in Lima with an average high temp. of 65F.  With a constant wind off the ocean, the temperature doesn’t vary much.  The hottest ever in Lima was 93 and the coolest ever was 46.

Cool Pattern

August 23rd, 2015 at 5:22 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

south haven glerl   This is the South Haven beach from the GLERL (from NOAA Coastwatch) camera at 5:03 pm Sunday.  The clouds cleared out quickly behind the cold front, then it went back to partly cloudy.  The winds move from the south to the west and the dewpoints drop.  The dewpoint shortly before 5 pm Sunday was still 69 at the Ford Airport in G.R., but down to 57 in Muskegon and 59 at S. Haven.  Radar showed the showers and storms moving thru E. Michigan and Indiana headed toward Ontario and Ohio.  At 7:30 pm the rain was about done at Flint and Ann Arbor.  The satellite loop showed that skies over much of the area will become partly to mostly cloudy as the wrap-around clouds head our way from Wisconsin.  Here’s the latest Grand Rapids NWS forecast discussion highlighting the cool weather for the early and middle parts of this week.  Rainfall as of 5 pm:  0.52″ G.R., 0.23″ Kal., 0.38″ B.C., 0.44″ MKG, 0.89″ LAN (1/4″ hail just west of Lansing), 0.51″ Hol., 0.84″ Jamestown, 0.86″ Wayland.  East G.R. had 1.1″ of rain in less than an hour.  Water temp. of Reeds Lake is 75.  3/4″ hail fell in downtown Fort Wayne IN, with relatively minor wind damage and 1″ hail in Paulding Co., Ohio.  Here’s Storm Total Rainfall – the green streaks show where the heaviest rain fell.  Here’s U.S. Storm Reports for Sunday.  More in the threads below.

Also:  Look at the Aurora Borealis from near Anchorage AK last night.

Meso-Discussion for Lower Michigan

August 23rd, 2015 at 1:48 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

MD 1744 graphic The Storm Prediction Center has issued a meso-discussion for Lower Michigan, N. Indiana and NW Ohio. They say only a 40% chance of a Severe T-Storm Watch being issued. Threat is mainly for isolated wind damage, very marginal situation. Best threat east of US 127 (north of Lansing) and east of I-69 (south of Lansing). Here’s GRR radar. See thread and links below.   Cooler air coming in behind the afternoon rain.  The NAM model has high temps. of 70-67 for G.R. for Monday and Tuesday…the GFS model has high temps. of 73, 70, 71, 73 for Monday to Thursday for G.R.   Cool front is past the mid-Lake Michigan buoy at 2 pm, where there is a west wind.  Much drier air on the way.  Dewpoint is 68 in Muskegon – just 51 in Milwaukee.