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 websites:www.escapeinc.org   and  www.jakethefiredog.org.   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 www.spaceweather.com 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.

Early Snowcover and a Cold, Snowy Winter

October 21st, 2014 at 9:24 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Northern Hemisphere Snow cover    Here’s the map that Jack linked to (The natice site appears to be down at the moment, so this will do fine)  It shows the buildup of snowcover as of October 20 across the northern part of the Northern Hemisphere.   The Rutgers Lab keeps track of N. Hemisphere snow cover and they reported that as of the end of September, this year ranks as #1 in 46 years of record in terms of snowcover on Sept. 30th for North America with 4.899 million sq. kilometers with snow on the ground.  For Eurasia it was #8 of 46 years wtih 2,342 million sq. kilometers.  For the combined N. Hemisphere it was 3rd highest in 46 years at 7.241 million sq. kilometers.  It’s not just in one place, it’s everywhere – all around the N. Hemisphere.   The latest analog years to the current pattern are mostly very cold and or very snowy:  1951-52, 1969-70, 1976-77, 2003-04, 2009-10, 2013-14).  In the mix, we have the coldest winter of the past 110 years (1976-77), the snowiest winter ever (1951-52) and the 2nd winter ever (last winter).  1969-70 was Holland’s snowiest winter.  The other two years had average snowfall (72.2″ in 09-10 and 74″ in 03-04).  There is a good correlation between early snowcover in Siberia and cold winters in the Great Lakes.  Remember, we have a weak El Nino, centered more toward the central Pacific and the warm pool south of Alaska that will work to keep the ridge there.  The QBO is closest in value to 1976. Other notes.  Corn is 87% mature, average is 97% – soybean harvest is at 30% last check -average is 78%.  Honeycrisp apples are large this year and the apple crop is excellent quality this year – for some farms the best crop ever.

Dry Weather Ahead

October 20th, 2014 at 8:53 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Lake Michigan Point Betsie Lighthouse Jack Martin  3 pm – The satellite loop shows skies clearing from north to south.  Skies will be clear just about everywhere by sunset, setting us up for a cold night with scattered frost.   Here’s the Point Betsie Lighthouse – pic. from Jack Martin.  Cloudy, but mostly dry tonight.  There’s a chance of a very light shower/sprinkle tonight and early tomorrow, mainly west of U.S. 131.  We’ll gradually become partly sunny tomorrow…more sun late than in the AM.  We’ll have a chance of frost both Tues. night and Weds. night.  There’s just a slight chance of a light shower on Friday (only 30%).  Temperatures moderate late in the week.  We’ve got out high temps. in the low-mid 60s and partly to mostly sunny for Sat. and Sun.  Monday could be th warmest day – approaching 70 with a chance of a shower (or isolated t-shower).  The PNA goes negative, which should bring some rain (and snow in Cascades to northern Rockies) to the Pacific NW.  The QBO is about as negative as I’ve ever seen it…the last time it was this low in October was 1976 (and that was followed by the coldest winter of the last 100 years in G.R.).  The European weeklies keep us relatively mild into early Nov.  Remember, it’s still fall – meteorological winter starts Dec. 1 and astronomical winter 3 weeks after that, so winter patterns often don’t lock in until late Nov./early Dec.  LOTS of snow across Siberia and N. Canada already…another sign that this winter will be on the cold side in the Great Lakes.

Also, 5.0 earthquake NW of Fairbanks, AKRainbow of the DayGonzalo hits Newfoundland (pics. and peak gusts), will head to Scotland next.  Hurricane Ana will move around the Hawaiian islands with remnant moisture heading towards Vancouver, Canada.   Flooding in the Canary Is4″ new snow in Anchorage, AKRavens and beaver cause power outages.   Storm Prediction Center forecasts for the Moore Tornado.   Summit Camp, Greenland this (Mon.) morning – temperature 45 below zero!

Tuesday AM

October 20th, 2014 at 4:30 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

   Mostly cloudy skies to start Tuesday.  The clouds will break up some from north to south during the PM.  There could be a sprinkle or an isolated patch of mist.  The most likely area to see that would be the SW corner of the state.  We’ll be a little cooler today with aftn. temps. in the low 50s.                     Also – the remains of Gonzalo will give the U.K. and Ireland rain and wind gusts to 25-50 mph Mon. night and Tues.  The temperature at Ulan Bator, Mongolia dropped to -9F this Monday AM.   Check out this waterspout in Madeira.

Here’s Grand Rapids radar and Northern Michigan radar. Storm Total Rainfall will show the heaviest rain and Milwaukee looping radar. Regional radar and the Updated GRR NWS Short Term Discussion. More links: Grand Rapids radar, Northern IndianahC radar, Chicago radar, Detroit radar and Milwaukee radar. Here’s regional radar, the 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. Check out Storm Total Precipitation. 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.