August 18th, 2014 at 1:18 am by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, Weather
Here I am Sunday afternoon about 75 feet above the lake on the bluff overlooking Lake Michigan at a park in Grafton, Wisconsin. Click on the picture to enlarge. There is a layer of low clouds over the lake as you look east toward Michigan. The temperature on the car thermometer pulling into the park was 65° and that was probably about the high for the day. On the bluff there was about a 15-20 mph NE wind off the lake. To my right you can see one (small white dot) boat. While I was at the park, scanning the horizon, I saw 5 boats total. I thought that was on the low side, since I was just north of Milwaukee. Waves were around 3 feet and there was a significant longshore current. The only creature that went in the water down at the beach was a dog fetching sticks amid the waves. I admired the dog’s unconstrained enthusiasm for doing the task at least a dozen times as I watched, shaking the water off for a few seconds before bounding into the water again. This evening, we’re in Green Bay. Found a motel and (with the help of the motel clerk) got the best deal off of Priceline. I had a nice chat with some guys checking into the motel from the NFL Network, here to cover the Green Bay-Oakland game Thursday night. Daughter 2 and I are going to do the Lambeau Field tour tomorrow. I’ve been to Lambeau once before. Daughter 2 has not and really wanted to see Lambeau Field. If I’d have thought about it earlier, I would have scheduled a way to see the game (there are usually plenty of tickets floating around for sale for the pre-season games on both stub-hub and the NFL ticket exchange). If you were watching the Sunday night game – which we did – you could see plenty of empty seats (Kansas City played at Carolina). Earlier in the day, I did get recognized in a Walgreens.
On the way up, we stopped at the town of Belgium, Wisconsin and saw the Luxembourg-American Cultural Center. We missed the Luxembourg Festival in Belgium by one week (it was last weekend). My father was 100% Luxembourger – both his parents were born in Luxembourg – coming to America separately and then meeting in Chicago. Luxembourg is slightly bigger than Kent Co. and has a population of approx. 525,000 – compared to roughly 622,000 in Kent County. You wouldn’t recognize many famous (even part) Luxembourg-Americans. The most famous is probably tennis player Chris Evart. It’s the only Grand Duchy in the world (with a Grand Duke), but is actually a parliamentarian republic. It has the 2nd highest GDP per capita in the world next to Qatar. It’s between France, Germany and Belgium. It’s was overrun by the Germans in both WWI and WWII and historically was once part of Belgium and the Netherlands. The Belgium American Legion is having their big auction and grill-out next Saturday. You get free corn and – get this – FREE BEER! That’s right – free beer (that’s one way to get the bids up at the auction!). We hope to end up in Munising tomorrow evening. Happy Monday from the land of cheeseheads!
August 17th, 2014 at 12:27 am by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, Weather
Late night – I’m in Wilmette – figured out how to get WIFI off my iphone (at least until the battery is drained). Stopped to buy peaches at the old Ross-Roy farm on Four Mile Rd. (hi to Nick, Ellen, Billy and Gunner)…then stopped at the American Legion Post on Wilson (the one with the tank out front) to buy some raffle tickets for the drawing next week. Good cause, they help a lot of people in the community, kids – Boy Scouts, etc. Then we stopped at the farm market at the Pullman exit and bought $65+ of goodies to take to Wilmette – good stuff. We’ve stopped at Ed’s for decades. Traffic was the usual heavy, and we had a couple of brief slowdowns. We took mom to Saturday evening Mass, then fixed burgers and lots of Michigan vegetables…went for a nearly one mile walk in the park across from Bill Murray’s childhood home (he showed up for his grade school reunion this year) and we had strawberry-rhubarb pie baked this morning at the Dutch Market. It’s neat to see that in the local independent grocery store – they have signs that say “Michigan apples” and “Michigan fresh peaches”. We’re getting up to blueberry pancakes and blueberry syrup from S. Haven. My brother’s coming over for breakfast and we might have time to go across the street to the park for some bocce. That’s doable in our “old age”. Well into our forties, we’d go hit fly balls and throw the football around like we were still teenagers. I’ll try and check in tomorrow night, wherever we might land.
Picture here is my 95-year old mother with my daughter, Marie – with a picture that Marie drew in 2nd grade that my mother has kept on the refrigerator door for 25 years. Presents that count don’t necessarily have to cost a lot of money. Enjoy your Sunday.
August 16th, 2014 at 11:42 pm by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, Weather
Click on the image to enlarge. The last couple pixels of ice are still visible on the Saturday satellite view of Hudson Bay. Those will likely be gone today or early this week. As with Lake Superior this spring, there may be some icebergs floating around unseen by satellite for a couple more weeks. In any case, that’s a little bit later than average. There’s definitely no northwest passage, though the ice has melted close to the Alaskan shore (see the Barrow, Alaska webcam). Look at the month of August so far in Barrow…not a single day warmer than average, 4.2° cooler than average for Aug. 1-15 and strong winds – discount the 0.0 and the average wind speed has been 18 mph. They had snow flurries on the 13th and 14th. July was 2.9° cooler than average and June was 1.9° cooler than average at Barrow. Temperatures from 80° N. Latitude to the North Pole have been consistently cooler than average since May 1. That’s reflected in the Arctic sea ice extent, which is greater than each of the last four years at this point in summer. Antarctic ice extent continues to be a record high levels. Not only is the ice extent much greater than average and significantly greater than last year at this time, but we continue to set daily records for sea ice extent in Antarctica. There was actually some scattered frost across N. Wisconsin and the U.P Thursday AM. Record cold in Canada. Jamstec Model and Weatherbell leaning more toward cold for the coming winter. Record cold in Australia. Cold summer leading to leaves changing color in mid-August in PA.
This is the first time since 2000 that the formation of the Atlantic’s third tropical storm will occur past Aug. 16. Drought in California, but crops are irrigated…so…”back-to-back bumper crops“! Here’s U.S. Storm Reports for Saturday.
Also, woman thought to have died in the recent flooding in Detroit is quite alive.
August 16th, 2014 at 1:18 am by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, Weather
I’m on the road this weekend and this coming week, starting out with a visit to the Chicago area to see my 95-year old mother. One of the bands my brother plays in (Dr. Mark is a real heart surgeon) is doing their annual all-Beatles concert in Highland Park. That group has opened for a couple of big-time acts – including at the Horizon. This group has played together for 25+ years. Here’s a write-up on them in the Chicago Tribune from 1990. After that I’m heading up into Wisconsin (stopping at Lambeau Field – seriously thought about getting tickets to the Thurs. night game with Oakland) and the U.P. to Pictured Rocks and Tahquamenon Falls to do some kayaking and hiking. While I’m off – newly married Kyle Underwood will be back. Next Saturday AM, I’d like to get back for the Humane Society Tails on Trails Dog Walk at the Ottawa Discovery Center. Blog updates will be few and far between over the next week to ten days, so I’ll leave it to the astute commentators here to keep you up to date. Have a good week. (As of 11:30 pm Sat. night – the line of scattered showers is roughly Holland to Lansing and dropping south. As it moves down toward and into Indiana, it’ll leave us with a pretty nice Sunday. The overnight run of the GFS gives G.R. highs of 80 and 81 for Sun. and Mon. with a 50% chance of rain Monday evening/night.)
Links: Grand Rapids radar, Northern Indiana 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 late. st 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 (until they reset it). 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). Check out the webcam at Krupp’s Resort in the U.P. Here’s the U.S. Low Temperature map. Here’s a live look at the Houghton Bridge. Here’s the Consumers Energy Power Outage Map. Here’s Closings.
August 16th, 2014 at 12:35 am by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, Weather
Click on the image (from the High Plains Regional Climate Center). This is the departure from average temperature for the U.S. for Jan. 1, 2014 to Aug. 14, 2014. You can see it’s been a cool year for most areas east of the Rockies and warmer than average in the Western U.S. The departures from average of over 6 degrees across the Northern Plains into the western Great Lakes are impressive. Grand Rapids is -3.65° for the year. Since Jan. 1, Grand Rapids has had 23.72″ of precipitation and that’s 0.84″ above average. The warmest day of 2014 in G.R. has been 89° on 7/22 and the coldest -12° on 2/28. G.R. has had 9 days with 100% sunshine and 32 days with 0% sunshine.
Also, check out the plane escaping either a tornado or large funnel cloud in England.
August 16th, 2014 at 12:19 am by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, Weather
Friday, the Muskegon GLERL camera caught the Lake-Express Ferry coming into the channel into Muskegon Lake. Click on the pic. to enlarge (from NOAA Coastwatch). Here’s some departures from average temperature for August 1-15: Grand Rapids -1.9°, Lansing -2.9°, Muskegon -3.0°, Detroit, Ann Arbor and Kalamazoo -3.1°, Cadillac -3.7°, Ludington -5.1° (7 of 15 mornings in the 40s) and Manistee -5.4°.
Here’s low temps. from Friday AM: 46° G.R., Muskegon and Holland, 45° Lansing and Battle Creek, 43° Kalamazoo and Sturgis, 42° Hastings and Benton Harbor, 41° S. Haven, Belding and Hart, 40° Marshall, Ceresco and Hartford, 39° Pellston and Bellaire, 37° Cadillac and Lawrence, 36°, Kalkaska, Vanderbilt and Baldwin, 35° Kalamazoo Nature Center, 34° Leslie, Paulding, 33° Stonington, 30° Leota (Clare Co.) and 29° at Doe Lake in the U.P.
August 15th, 2014 at 2:25 am by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, Weather
The pic. on the left is sunset from the Muskegon GLERL camera at the channel (from NOAA Coastwatch). The afternoon high temperature on the beach there Thursday was 57.6° for a sunny day in the 2nd week of August – amazing. On the right we have the overnight update from the Storm Prediction Center for Saturday PM/Night. There is a small Slight Risk Area over Missouri and a “See Text for West Michigan. SPC says: ” ISOLATED TO SCATTERED SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED DURING THE AFTERNOON/EVENING. WEAK INSTABILITY AND POOR LAPSE RATES WILL LIMIT THUNDERSTORM INTENSITY…BUT 0-6 KM SHEAR NEAR 30-35 KT AND FAST STORM MOTION COULD RESULT IN SOME GUSTY WINDS. COOL TEMPERATURES ALOFT /500 MB/ NEAR -10 C MAY ALSO ALLOW FOR SOME SMALL HAIL IN STRONGER STORMS.”
The overnight NAM (car.) has 0.08″ of rain for G.R. Sat. PM/Night – it hangs the front up and gives G.R. another 0.28″ Sun. PM/Night. The GFS-plot gives G.R. 0.03″ Sat. evening and another 1/2″ from Sunday midday into Sunday night. The European gives G.R. 0.12″ Sat. Night and that’s it. The models continue to trend downward for high temps. for early next week.
August 14th, 2014 at 8:36 pm by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, News, Weather
The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is unchanged in the last 2 weeks and unchanged in the last 4 weeks. However, the level is 16″ higher than it was one year ago. That’s the biggest one-year change on Lake Michigan/Huron that I have ever seen. Since each inch of water represents 390 billion gallons…that means an increase of 6.24 TRILLION gallons of water in just one year. The lake remains 3″ below the long-term average and 28″ above the lowest August water level in 1964. Lake Superior is unchanged in the last month and 9″ above the level of one year ago. Superior is 6″ above the century average. The biggest of the Great Lakes is 26″ above the lowest water level in August, set in 2007 and only 6″ below the highest August water level set in 1952. Lake Erie is down one inch in the last month, up 4″ in the last year and 6″ above the long-term average. Lake Ontario is down 5″ in the last month, down 1″ in the last year, but still 4″ above the century average. Lake St. Clair is up 2″ in the last month, up 11″ in the last year and it’s now 7″ above the long-term average. Lake Superior’s outflow down the St. Mary’s River into Lake Huron is expected to be “well above average” through August and into September. The outflow from Lake Erie down the Niagara River and over Niagara Falls is expected to be above average for the rest of the summer. (Picture of Lake Michigan from the awesome Michelle Olin)
OK – first, one of my favorite quotations from H.L Mencken: “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” Now – on to my featured article this week, this time from the Montreal Gazette. I encourage you to read the article and see how that matches the reality in my first paragraph. Now, look at the date, August 13, 2014 – so this article came out Wednesday of this week. The article starts: “Climate change experts predict that water volumes and levels in the St. Lawrence River Basin will continue to dwindle over time.” Now, is the water level of the Great Lakes “dwindling”? – obviously no. The writer continues: “It is already nearly impossible to manage water levels in the basin simply by discharging water stored at the Sault-Ste-Marie, Welland-Niagara, Cornwall and Beauharnois dam complexes. We’ve never been able to completely manage water levels. In fact, we sometimes get in trouble when we do try and overmanage nature (dredging in the St. Clair River, building a nuclear power plant where they get severe earthquakes and tsunamis and letting people live 10 feet below sea level on river silt where they get hit by strong hurricanes and storm surges). The article continues: “The levels of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan are already some two feet or 60 centimetres lower than normal.” NO THEY’RE NOT!! The lakes are 3″ below “normal” NOT TWO FEET! The other 3 Great Lakes are well above normal. It goes on to say: “In a report this past June titled Lower Water Blues, the Mowat Centre of the University of Toronto conservatively assessed medium-term economic impacts at about $20 billion. I wrote about the Mowat study 2 weeks ago. The $20 billion figure is of course highly suspect, since the study was based on flawed input. (But it could scare you into allowing them to take a lot more of your money). The “dam solution” to all, the author says, will cost only 6 BILLION Dollars. (Hot dang, we “save” 14 billion dollars!!).
The updated latest weekly Great Lakes water levels are available on the web (no password, no pay wall, no “use Mike’s trick to hide the increase”) from the Army Corps of Engineers every Thursday evening.
August 14th, 2014 at 11:58 am by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, Weather
Here’s a couple of midday pics. from the GLERL cameras in Muskegon (left) and Alpena (right). We’ve cleared out the wildfire smoke and the sky is back to bright and clean blue. We had a scattering of cumulus clouds, just shy of a mile above the ground. The air temperature on the beach at Muskegon, Grand Haven and Holland was only in the mid-upper 50s this afternoon – with full sunshine on August 14 – that’s pretty amazing. Waves at the lake this morning are running around 1 foot with green flags. The morning water temps. were 50° at Hoffmaster S.P., 51° at Holland S.P., and 54° at Saugatuck’s Oval Beach. Beach attendance at the state parks has been significantly lower than average this summer.
The morning run of the NAM (car.) gives West Michigan 1/4 to 1/2″ of rain between 3 pm Sat. and 6 am Sun. It also has the high temp. for G.R. up to 82° on Sat. and 86° on Sun. (the 86° looks too warm) It has another nice day tomorrow with afternoon temps. in the low-mid 70s (mid-upper 60s at Lake Michigan).
Early morning low temps: 52° Muskegon and Battle Creek, 51° Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, 48° Lansing, 47° Hopkins, 46° Mt. Pleasant, Fremont & Alma, 45° Houghton Lake, Manistee, Big Rapids, Reed City and Entrican (Montcalm Co.), 43° Hart and Cadillac, 42° Ludington, 41° Bellaire, 40° Pellston, 39° Baldwin, 36° Leota (Clare Co.), Indian River, 34° Stonington and Doe Lake (U.P.), 33° Wakefield, Amasa, Paulding and Spincich Lake, 32° Kenton and also Tomahawk and Land ‘O Lakes in northern Wisconsin. Stambaugh, Michigan reported a low of 20°. I’m assuming that one is wrong.
August 13th, 2014 at 11:01 pm by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, Weather
Click on the graph to enlarge. This is a graph of the water temperature at the Port Sheldon Buoy which is about 3 miles to the northwest of Holland St. Park. You can see the water temperature was in freefall Tuesday as we had a fairly strong north wind that caused upwelling to occur. Warmer surface water was pushed away to the south and southwest as colder water from +100 feet below the surface rose to the top. The water temperature at the Ludington buoy had a drop of 18°. Here’s a graph of wave height from the mid-Lake Michigan buoy about 40 miles west of Holland. You can see how quickly the wave height increased (to 8.2 feet) and then subsided. The beach water temperature was 49° Weds. AM at Holland St. Park and just 53° at Grand Haven St. Park and Hoffmasteer St. Park. Inland temperatures are much warmer. The water temperatures Weds. evening of Reeds Lake in East G.R. was 74° (2-foot depth).
Also: Portland, ME, picked up 4.49″ of rain in 3 hrs…Updated total: 13.57” of rain fell in last 24 hours in Islip, NY, smashing the state-wide rainfall record, 8.94″ at Chester CT…5.7 magnitude earthquake in Chile Weds. everning…here’s Storm Reports from Weds. There was one tornado (in of all places, Washington State)…the largest hail fell near Meacham, Oregon…the fastest wind gust near Twin Falls, Idaho and a severe storm in Hidalgo, Texas along the Rio Grande River destroyed two mobile homes. I talked to a meteorologist from Brownsville, Texas once and he said they have a Severe Weather Watch about 4 times a year, that’s all.