Arctic Ice

July 19th, 2014 at 1:42 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

north american snow cover   North Pole Ice Cover  Arctic Ice Extent Click on the images to enlarge.   The first map on the left shows in yellow the ice left in Hudson Bay.  The last ice is usually piled against or near the south shore of the bay.  It’s not unusual to have ice left in the bay in mid-late July.  You can see the Arctic icecap…right to the edge of Alaska.   You can see the ice on the Barrow, Alaska webcam – 24 hours a day in the land of the midnight sun (the sun won’t set in Barrow until around Aug. 2).  For July 1-18, Barrow’s average temperature was 39.4° and that’s 1.5° cooler than average.  The graphic on the right is the Arctic ice extent for the last four years.  We’re still well below the average extent of 1979-2000, but there’s more ice now than on this date going back several years (graphic from the Danish Meteorological Institute).  Temperatures were warmer than average this past winter north of 80° latitude, but they have been cooler than average since early MayAntarctic sea ice extent remains well above (2 standard deviations above) average.

Dry – Warming Trend

July 18th, 2014 at 12:38 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

modis lake michigan   This is a MODIS Great Lakes satellite picture from Weds. (from NOAA Coastwatch).  You can see plentiful cumulus clouds over the land areas (with the cool air aloft), but it’s mostly clear over Lake Michigan, where the cool water prevented the rising thermals.  The wind is west along the shore in W. Michigan, N-NW in N. Indiana, NNE or NE in Chicago, but the lake breeze is not penetrating inland north of Milwaukee, where the cumulus clouds drift out over the lake and dissipate.

Also, check out the meteor caught with dashcam video near Raleigh N.C.  Some pretty good thunderstorms rolled across S. England overnight.  Here’s lightning and a shelf cloud approaching LondonTyphoon Rammasun will hit far SE China and N. Vietnam today with very strong winds and heavy rain.   This storm heads inland (does not recurve toward Alaska), so the ridge can build over the Midwest and Great Lakes and we can get warm early next week.  The next tropical storm, Matmo, is a little weaker than Rammasun, and will head toward Taiwan.  Overnight, roads flooded in the Bryan-College Station, TX area. Water rescues also occurring according to law enforcement.  In 45 minutes, 0.78″ of rain accumulated near Mt. Morrison, CA, reports a NWS spotter – California needs all the rain they can get.  Tennis ball-sized hail in Alberta, Canada.

Great Lakes Water Levels

July 17th, 2014 at 9:05 pm by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Lake Michigan Sleeping Bear Dunes - Jack Martin July 2014   Picture from Jack Martin, enjoying the Sleeping Bear Dunes.   Lake Michigan/Huron gained another inch last week, bringing it even closer to the long-term average.  The other Great Lakes remain above their long-term averages.

Lake Michigan/Huron (one big lake for lake level purposes) is up 4″ in the last month and is up a whopping 15″ in the last year.  Since each inch of water represents 390 billion gallons, that means Lake Michigan has added 5.85 trillion gallons of water in just the past year.  This is due to a combination of above average precipitation (Grand Rapids has had 9.47″ of rain since June 1, 3.65″ above average) and lower evaporation (lots of ice this past winter).  Lake Michigan/Huron is now only 4″ below the long-term average.   Lake Superior is up 2″ in the last month and up 14″ in the last year.  Superior is now 6″ above the century average and only 6″ below the highest water level ever reached in 1950.  Lake Erie is up 1″ in the last month and up 3″ in the past year.  Erie is 5″ above the long-term average.  Lake Ontario is 4″ above the century average.  Lake St. Clair is up 2″ in the last month, up 7″ year-to-year and 3″ above the century average level.   Lake Superior’s outflow down the St. Mary’s River into Lake Huron is expected to be above average into August.  The outflow our of Lake Erie down the Niagara River is also expected to be above average.

Also, cool picturemosquito population triples (audio)…shark spotted in Lake Ontario??!!grain shipments increase on the Great LakesJuly waterspouts on the Great Lakescold water lingers in the Great Lakesheavy rains cause trash to float into Lake MichiganWSBT gets lake level story right.

Where are the Sunspots?

July 17th, 2014 at 10:56 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

sun - blank  This is a Thurs. AM picture of the sun from the Solar Dynamics Obervatory (NASA).  There is only one recognized sunspot on the side of the sun facing Earth and it’s so small that you probably can’t see it (click on the image to enlarge).  The number of sunspots has been declining over the last 20 years.  Here’s the sunspot record going back to the 1700s.  From the NASA article:  “Early records of sunspots indicate that the Sun went through a period of inactivity in the late 17th century. Very few sunspots were seen on the Sun from about 1645 to 1715 (38 kb JPEG image). Although the observations were not as extensive as in later years, the Sun was in fact well observed during this time and this lack of sunspots is well documented. This period of solar inactivity also corresponds to a climatic period called the “Little Ice Age” when rivers that are normally ice-free froze and snow fields remained year-round at lower altitudes. There is evidence that the Sun has had similar periods of inactivity in the more distant past. The connection between solar activity and terrestrial climate is an area of on-going research.”

Also, check out the “heart rainbow“.  Here’s noctilucent clouds over Scotland at 2:28 am.  Nice Northern Lights pic. from British Columbia.  Here’s this week’s Sky at a GlanceTyphoon Rammusun intensifying and heading toward S. ChinaSignificant freeze in central South America could affect coffee prices (precursor to an earlier frost and early snow in the Great Lakes (Oct./Nov.)?


Gradual Warming Trend

July 17th, 2014 at 2:07 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

muskegon glerl sunset - reddish   Click the picture to enlarge (or click here).  That’s sunset last night from the Muskegon GLERL beach camera (from NOAA Coastwatch).  There is still a lot of twilight on these July evenings, but we have already lost 20 minutes of daylight since the Summer Solstice back on June 21.  We are at our warmest average temperatures of the year at 83/62 for G.R.  This morning’s record low for the date is 48° in G.R. and we may get close to that.  Yesterday’s high temperature of 71° in Grand Rapids was a record low maximum temperature for July 16 (the previous record of 74° was the warmest record low maximum of any day of the year in G.R.).   We slowly warm a few degrees each day with inland temps. in the mid 70s this afternoon, upper 70s to 80° on Friday and low-mid 80s over the weekend.  The humidity will gradually creep up as well.   However, it looks like we’ll be back to a little cooler than average for the last week of July.

Low temperatures Thurs. AM:  51° G.R. (missed record by 3°) and Holland, 50° Muskegon, 49° Battle Creek, 47° Hastings, Belding, Fennville, 46° Big Rapids, Fremont, Marshall, S. Haven, Kalamazoo, Mendon, 45° Reed City, 43° Cadillac, 42° Baldwin and Houghton Lake, 40° Leota (Clare Co.), Mio, Pellston, Newberry, Engadine and Moran, 39° Grayling, 37° Roscommon, Rexton and Stambaugh, 35° Stonington, 33° Doe Lake, 32° Spincich Lake (this is the 3rd time since June 15th that Spincich Lake has been down to freezing with frost).  The weather looks basically dry thru the weekend with a slow warming trend.  Here’s U.S. low temps. last night (84 in Key West and 87 in Phoenix).

It’s been hot and dry in the Pacific NW.  The high temp of 106°F in Wenatchee, WA Weds. set a record for the date and is the hottest reading there since August 1, 2009.  Wildfire in Central Washington has closed U.S. 2 and forced some evaculations.  Picture at link shows the fire and snow on the ground in the mountains.  Aerial view of waterspout off Freeport TX.  3.90 inches of rain fell in 6 hours near Rocky Ford, Colorado.   Hail covers Colorado amusement park.  38 fatalities, more than 26,000 homes damaged after Typhoon Rammasun slams Philippines.  Waterspout off Venice, FL.  ”Soybean conditions are the highest recorded in July since 1994.” — USDA.   Flooding in Central China.   Check out the  U.S. high temp. map from Weds…105° in Central Washington, low 60s in Western Kansas.

Park Party in Ionia (Free Fair)

July 17th, 2014 at 1:51 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

maranda Today is Maranda’s Park Party at the Ionia Free Fair, from Noon to 2 pm (free lunches for kids starts at 11:30 am). LOTS of free food, free games and rides, free entertainment and LOTS of free giveaways. We have 2 more park parties coming up this month the next 2Thursdays.  The Park Party on July 24 is at Smith Ryerson Park in Muskegon and the Park Party on July 31 is at Northwestern Middle School in Battle Creek.


Wednesday Evening – Chance Shower

July 16th, 2014 at 1:33 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

   6:45 pm – We’re still tracking some (mostly light) showers.  Most of them are from Grand Rapids to the east and southeast.  The showers are moving southeast and should fade away around sunset.  It’ll be a cool night, with lows near 50.  Cool spots will reach the mid-upper 40s.  We’ll be mostly sunny to partly cloudy tomorrow.  The chance of rain for Thurs. PM and Fri. PM is about 15%.   So, most of us will stay dry.  Temperatures will gradually warm…inland areas into the mid 70s tomorrow afternoon (upper 60s at Lake Michigan),  upper 70s to near 80 inland on Friday and low 80s on Saturday.  It’ll be warm and more humid for the early part of next week, with highs in the mid-upper 80s from Sunday through Wednesday.   Lots of links below:

Here’s GRR looping radar. 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, and 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 (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.

A Warming Trend

July 15th, 2014 at 8:59 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather  Click on the images to enlarge.   These are the latest 6-10 day outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center.  This is for July 21-25.  For a change, we’re going to see warmer than average weather push into Michigan and the Great Lakes.   I’m forecasting temperatures in the mid-upper 80s for the first half of next week.  We have a chance that on one of those days, we could hit our first 90° day of the summer in G.R.   Last year at this time, we were in the midst of six days in a row of 90-degree temperatures from the 14th thru the 19th.  One of the reasons that we have not made 90° is the above average rainfall that has covered much of the eastern U.S.  The sun has to spend some energy evaporating water (it’s like when you get out of the shower and you feel cold…as water evaporates off your skin, it “steals” heat from your body).   When there is less water to evaporate, the sun can spend more of it’s energy heating air.  The high moisture air also brings higher dewpoints, which means temperatures don’t get as cool at night relative to when we have drier air.  We’re also going to increase the humidity and  by the middle to end of next week, we’ll have a better chance of our next round of thunderstorms.  Through today, here is the temperature departure from average for July:  Grand Rapids -3.6°, Lansing -3.1°, Muskegon -4.0°, Cadillac -5.9°, Ludington -6.4°, Manistee -7.0°.    The 8-14 day outlook has temperatures back to average over the Great Lakes.    Our average temperature for July 1-15 is 68.9° in Grand Rapids.  If we ended the month at 68.9° that would tie us for 6th coolest July ever…however, the warm air coming next week will knock us out of at least the top 15 coolest.

Patchy FROST possible in the U.P Tonight!

July 15th, 2014 at 7:50 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

frost    FROST is possible in parts of the U.P. tonight!  Temperatures are expected to dip as low as the low 30s.  Spincich Lake has already been down to 32° twice in the last 4 weeks.   Temperatures in our area will stop in the upper 40s to low 50s.

Gas Price Going Up

July 15th, 2014 at 10:32 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

gas prices   The latest from Ed:  Due to sliding wholesale prices, there was on-going pressure to keep retail prices down.  However, wholesale prices have stabilized, and I’m seeing gas in the $3.20′s in Fort Wayne, and $3.30′s in Lowell, Michigan.  By my calculation, the price to retailers is about $3.40.  So, I’m going to fill up Tuesday morning, expecting a hike with a new price at least $3.69. — Ed A.