MODIS pics.

April 12th, 2015 at 1:37 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

modis lake michigan  modis lake huron modis lake superior  Here’s the MODIS satellite pics of Lakes Michigan, Huron and Superior from Saturday afternoon – a bright mostly sunny day across most of the Great Lakes.  Click on the images to enlarge.  Here’s links to pics of the entire Great Lakes, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.  The land is still brown (I did see my first daffodils in bloom this morning and the very first yellow shoot is out today on my forsythia).  Note that Houghton Lake had open water, but deeper Higgins Lake just north of Houghton Lake was still ice covered.   There was still some snow on the ground in the higher elevations between Higgins Lake and the Mac. Bridge and quite a bit of snow over much of the U.P.  There was still a few floating patches of ice on Lake Michigan west of Ottawa County and you can see the ice that is left in N. Lake Michigan and the other Great Lakes.  Just from these pictures you can tell the prevailing wind is from the west and pushing the ice toward the east side of the lakes.   Here’s a look at the ice in N. Lake Michigan from a ship navigating through the ice.

At 1 pm, Grand Rapids was 61 deg., Kalamazoo was 64.  The S. Haven beach air temp. was 61.2 where the south wind was not coming off the water.  The Muskegon beach temp. was 48.6, where the wind was coming off the water.  The same warm air mass covers all of Michigan.  The temperature in Traverse City was 66 at 1 pm.  When air goes down in elevation, it warms up and the decrease in elevation from Cadillac to Traverse City with a south wind can add 1-3 degrees to the air (Cadillac was 63).  Manistique with a south wind was only 43 with the wind coming down the length of Lake Michigan, while Sawyer/Marquette was 64 (they also can get a little downslope warming with a south wind at Marquette.

The morning run of the GFS-plot gives G.R. 0.38″ of rain late tonight (after 2 or 3 am) into tomorrow morning.  Roads could be wet for the Monday AM commute.  Most of the week should be relatively warm and dry with highs from low 60s to low 70s most days.

Another pic. of the NE Illinois twister

Wet Week in the South

April 12th, 2015 at 3:04 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

WPC   Click on the graphic to enlarge.  This is the NWS Weather Prediction Center 7-day precipitation forecast…lots of rain across the south, including Texas, where parts of the state have been in a long-term drought.  Little help for California though a little rain/snow could fall in the Sierras.  Here in W. Michigan we’ll see showers late Sunday night into early Monday and again around Thursday.  Temperatures will be warmer than average this week, with most days in the 60s to low 70s (cooler near the lake).

Also, nice commemorative program on the 50th anniversary of the Palm Sunday tornadoes.  Dr. Russell Schneider, the Head of the Storm Prediction Center spoke at the event.  Buck Matthews was there.  The Alpine Township Historical Society did a fantastic job, as did Ernie Ostuno from the G.R. NWS.  Also, lots of thunderstorms in MexicoNorthern Lights in Wisconsin last night…Charles Russell got this pic. of the EF4 tornado in N. Illinois on Thurs.  Here’s the start of the tornado northeast of Franklin Grove IL. This was the first EF-4 or stronger tornado in the NWS Chicago County Warning Area in 25 years, since an F5 tornado struck Plainfield on August 28, 1990.   This was the strongest tornado on record (since 1950) for both Ogle and DeKalb Counties.  There were 8 tornadoes in Illinois Thursday PM.   D.C. cherry blossoms.


Weekend Sunshine

April 11th, 2015 at 1:46 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

muskegon glerl  shn glerl soo webcam These are pics. from the GLERL cameras at the Muskegon beach (on the left) and the South Haven beach (in the middle – it’s nice to have the camera and weather station back in operation there).  You can see it’s clear and bright.  On the Muskegon pic. you can see ice still on the breakwater.  The South Haven pic. is interesting.  It looks like there may be brownish ice on the north breakwater (I didn’t see ice on the south breakwater) and that might be ice (the white broken line) on the south (near) side of the breakwater.  Maybe someone who’s been there recently can confirm. On the right is the Soo Locks (from ERDC/CRREL) and you can see a lot of ice and snow.  The Airport at S.Ste Marie reported 1.5″ of snowfall yesterday and 17″ of snow on the ground.  Other snow cover totals:  23″ Munising, 22″ Mohawk, 16″ Newberry and 12″ at the Marquette Airport.  Grand Marais hasn’t come in for a few days, but I assume they have the most, probably between 30-35″ left on the ground.

We have a west wind off the lake…so it’s cooler near the lake.  At 2 pm the temperature was 55 in G.R., but just 39.9 on the beach at Muskegon and 38.7 on the beach at S. Haven.  Milwaukee, Wisconsin was 60 degrees, so the lake is really cooling off the air today.  There are a number of rivers in W. Michigan that have Flood Warnings and Flood Advisories.   The White River above Whitehall and the Rogue River at Rockford were slightly above flood stage this morning.

5 pm – I just made spaghetti for our dinner.   My wife had surgery on her foot last week, so for the next few weeks, I’m doing double duty.  I’m going to take off of work next week to help here at home.  Thanks to friend Sharon who ran to the grocery for us while I was watching the storms at work.   I just fed the cats and cleaned the litter boxes (we have five of them…why?  I don’t know – we have two cats…they had used 4 out of 5 in the last 36 hours).   I’ve got laundry going now.  I can do the basics in the kitchen (I was single and on my own for 3 1/2 years), but my wife has a Masters in what was essentially Home Ec.  She’s a great cook and I’m very easy to please when it comes to food.  She’s certainly more adept than I am at plumbing and home projects/repair.  She has wired lamps, I’ve changed light bulbs. She’s a great cook and I usually defer to her.  There was a time when the kids were little (we had 3 kids in 3 years) when I did pretty much all the food shopping, laundry and some of the cleaning around the house.  Watching the Masters now…nice to see all the green, they’ve had a lot of rain down there this spring.  They have fewer commercials during the Masters – you get to see a lot of golf.  The best golf I played was when I was in high school and a caddy.  I only played a couple times in the five years I went to college (couldn’t afford it) and you do have to play regularly to keep up with it.  I played once in 2013 and didn’t play at all last year.

50th Anniversary – Palm Sunday Tornadoes

April 11th, 2015 at 2:46 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Palm Sunday Tornadoes Paul Huffman picture  palm sunday tornado house on edge Today is the 50th anniversary of the famous Palm Sunday tornado outbreak of April 11, 1965.  TONIGHT (Sat.) a very special commemorative free program will be held at the Kenowa Hills High School Performing Arts Center on Four Mile Road NW – doors open at 6:30 pm, program at 7 pm.  Dr. Russell Schneider, Director of the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma will be providing the keynote address at the April 11th 50th anniversary commemoration. Dr. Schneider will look back at the 1965 tornado outbreak and talk about how tornado forecasting has advanced in the 50 years since.  I will be there.  I hope some of you will be there, too.  Check out this special facebook page for more information and lots of additional pictures and information on the Ottawa/Kent tornado that day.

It was the second-biggest tornado outbreak in world history. This is a picture of a rare double-tornado near Elkhart, Indiana (by Paul Huffman). This twin-tornado moved into the Midwest Trailer Park, where 33 people lost their lives.  The second picture of the house on edge is from Lee Nelson after the F4 tornado in Kent Co.  There were 271 fatalities that day and 1500 were injured. 47 tornadoes were reported in five states, including 12 in Michigan. An F4 tornado moved from Ottawa Co. near Allendale through Walker and Comstock Park (crossing Alpine Ave. at Six Mile Road. The 21-mile long twister caused 5 fatalities and 142 injuries. That tornado crossed the path of the 1956 Standale Tornado on Samrick just north of West River Dr in Comstock Park. Two F4 tornadoes struck Branch and Hillsdale Counties 30 minutes apart with 21 lives lost. The twisters moved across Coldwater Lake, Devils Lake, Manitou Beach and Baw Beese Lake destroying hundreds of cottages and homes. A wind instrument near Tecumseh measured a wind of 151 mph in the 2nd tornado. The loss of life would have been much worse, but for the fact that it was still too early for the summer influx of cottage owners and the fact that many residents had left for evening Palm Sunday church services. An F4 tornado north of Lansing left one person dead and there was a tornado fatality near Middleville in Barry Co. Other tornadoes that day hit north of Kalamazoo (17 injured there), near Hastings, Bay City, Unionville and 2 tornadoes struck Alma. After this event, the Weather Bureau began the Watch/Warning system that is still in use today. Read more here, here, and here. That year we had record snowfall and it was quite cold in March. Please leave a comment if you have a personal story to tell about that dreadful Sunday. Final note: Here’s a radar loop of the storms that produced the hail from Holland and S. Haven east across Lower Michigan last Tuesday (4/6/2010). Hail up to golfball sized fell. This thread has been moved up from last year and new comments start with #18.

Lake Levels – Ice Extent -

April 11th, 2015 at 2:06 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

muskegon glerl  muskegon glerl 2 Here’s a couple of sunset pics. from the Muskegon Beach GLERL camera (from NOAA Coastwatch).  On the left you can see the ice left on the breakwater and the very pink sunset with the sun shining underneath the clouds.

Great Lakes ice cover as I write this early Friday night is at 39.1%. The link here gives you the latest ice extent. The ice cover on all the Great Lakes is slowly breaking up and melting. Ice extent on the Great Lakes usually peaks in early March. Right now ice extent stands at 13.4% on Lake Michigan…for Lake Superior 58.1%, Lake Huron 39.8%, Lake Erie 41.9% and Lake Ontario 8.6%. Lake Erie is the southernmost Great Lake, but usually gets the highest percentage of surface ice cover, because it’s a relatively shallow lake (average depth 62 feet). Check out the graph of ice extent this season for lakes Superior, Huron, Erie and Ontario. Compare Great Lakes ice today to Great Lakes ice one year ago. Here’s a year-to-year comparison for Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Great Lakes ice cover peaked last year on March 6th at 92.5%, a little below the record of 94.7% in 1979. Zoomed in pic. of West Michigan showing the snow cover and ice on Lake Michigan from 3/11.

The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is steady in the last month, but up 19″ in the last year. The lake(s) are 4″ above the April average water level. Lake Superior is down 1″ in the last month, but up 6″ year-to-year. Superior is 6″ above the historic average for April. Lake Erie is up 10″ in the last month, at the same level as one year ago and now 2″ below the average for April. Lake Ontario is up 6″ in the last month, down 8″ year-to-year and it’s 14″ below the long term average. Lake St. Clair is up 15″ in the last month (ice “dam” broke up in the St. Clair River).  The lake is up 9″ year-to-year and 6″ above average.  Water levels on the St. Mary’s, St. Clair and Detroit rivers are expected to be above average for the next two weeks with the Niagara near average.

Great Lakes News:  Ships again moving through the ice of Lake SuperiorGrand Haven Harbor to be dredgedChasing Great lakes algae bloomsCoast Guard cautions you about cold water this spring…”Mystery debris” washes ashore in LudingtonProposed fee increase to enter Sleeping Bear Dunes from $10 to $15Dog rescued from Silver Lake…”Slimy Microorganisms” in Michigan lakesCoast Guard investigating “unknown substance“.

Evening Showers

April 10th, 2015 at 7:01 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

   Showers this evening should clear by around 10 pm.  The Whitecaps are playing, after a rain delay in the start of the game.  We had several dozen lightning strikes over Lake Michigan, but that has not been the case over land.  One shower did produce a gust to 49 mph on the beach at St. Haven and there was a gust to 48 mph on the beach at St. Joseph.  Adrian had a gust to 47 mph.  We’ll be mostly sunny tomorrow (Sat.) and Sunday morning, with high clouds moving in from the west about mid-afternoon on Sunday.  Look for showers and an isolated t-shower Monday and again on Thursday of next week…dry Tues. and Weds.

6-hour rainfall ending at 8 pm:  0.27″ Holland, 0.18″ Grand Rapids (airport), 0.02″ Muskegon, 0.03″ Kalamazoo, 0.04″ Battle Creek and Lansing, 0.01″ Benton Harbor.  At 8 pm, light snow was reported at Gaylord and S. Ste. Marie.

Here’s Grand Rapids radar and Northern Michigan radar, NAM model 3-day snowfall forecast and GFS model 5-day snowfall forecast. Storm Total Snowfall will show the heaviest snow and Milwaukee looping radar. Regional radar and the Updated GRR NWS Short Term Discussion. More links: Northern Indiana 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, Here’s

Wind Advisory Ends

April 10th, 2015 at 4:40 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

wind-advisory   The Wind Advisory is over.  We’ve had wind gusts to 45 mph during the night.  Winds will diminish to 5 mph tonight (Fri. night).  Grand Rapids had a gust to 48 mph shortly before 4 am.  The winds should continue to be quite strong through much of the afternoon, diminishing towards evening.  It’ll  be mostly cloudy with a chance of a brief light shower.  If you get a shower this late afternoon, it may come with some very small hail or sleet.  The best bet for an evening light shower would be along and south of I-96.  The weekend looks nice with some sun and lighter winds.  We’ll have a chance of showers or a t-shower again Monday.  It looks dry and pleasant Tuesday and Wednesday.  More substantial showers could arrive around Thursday of next week.

Illinois Long-Track Tornado(es)

April 10th, 2015 at 3:35 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

WREX2  WREX3WREX4  Looks like one of the tornadoes was an EF4.  They have now confirmed two fatalities, both female, one 67 years old and the other 69 years old.  There were roughly 22 injuries.  There was some lead time, so many people had a matter of minutes to find shelter.  At least one long-track wedge tornado cut a path that appears to be about 50 miles long across Northern Illinois.  The twister appears to have begun east of Dixon, north of I-88.  It hit Flag Center, Fairdale and crossed I-39 south of Lindenwood traveling past Kirkland.  Several vehicles were flipped on the interstate.    What was probably a second tornado hit up near Belvidere, where the zoo was heavily damaged.  Baseball-sized hail accompanied the storms.    Video here and here.  Pictures here and here.  There were over 230 severe reports on Thursday, including 14 tornadoes and a measured wind gust to 91 mph at the harbor at Waukegan IL – on the other side of Lake Michigan.  Here’s a wide view of damage at Fairdale.   At one point 58,000 customers were without power in N. Illinois.  The animals that were killed at the Summerfield Zoo were an emu and a black swan.  Many fences were down and it took awhile to round up the frightened animals.  Damage to the zoo was estimated to be at least $200,000.  A GoFundMe Account has been set up to take donations for repairs at the zoo.   Yesterday was the most active day at the Storm Prediction Center with 7 tornado watches and 8 severe t-storm watches issued.

Severe T-Storm Watch Ends

April 9th, 2015 at 9:58 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

WW0051 RADAR Thumbnail Image A Severe T-Storm Watch expired at 3 am. The good news is that the hail and wind damage reports have been few.  We’ve already had 1 1/2″ to 4″ of rain in parts of Allegan, Ottawa, Kent, Muskegon and Oceana Counties. Additional heavy rain will cause ponding of water. Strong winds will develop behind a cold front with gusts to 40 mph likely after 2 am. A Wind Advisory will be in effect until 6 pm Friday.

Gust to 56 mph on the beach at Muskegon, 44 mph Hart,  43 mph on Henry St. in Muskegon, 42 mph Ludington and at least 35 mph in Fremont.  Outbuilding destroyed near the LC Walker Arena.  Unofficial 2.25″ rain in N. Muskegon yesterday and 5.25″ today.  Rainfall Thursday:  2.13″ Hudsonville, 2.11″ Allendale, 2.01″ downtown G.R. 1.98″ Boatwerks in Holland.  Local flooding reported in Muskegon and Oceana Counties.  Up to 4″ of rain today in Oceana Co.  3/4″ hail near Mendon, Small hail fell at south of Vicksburg, Norton Shores, Fruitport and north of Marne.  Wind damage at Union City (Branch Co.) and Moscow in Hillsdale Co.  Power lines down in Muskegon, 1380 customers without power in the city.   As of 3:15 pm, we still had 1820 customers without power in Kent Co., 449 in Allegan Co., 402 in Muskegon Co. and 350 in Barry Co.  Tree across a road and hail to nearly golf ball size in western Ionia Co.  Damage near Moscow in northern Hillsdale Co.

Lots of 40+ mph gusts behind the cool front in Illinois, gust to 45 mph at Chicago.    Zoo in Belvidere, Illinois was hit by the tornado. “A lot of buildings are a complete loss”.

60% Chance Severe T-Storm or Tornado Watch

April 9th, 2015 at 9:41 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

0827 PM CDT THU APR 09 2015



VALID 100127Z – 100300Z