Dry Weds.

April 14th, 2014 at 8:07 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Local  Weds.  am – Dry today  New snow Monday night:  3.5″Allendale,  3″ Grandville and Walker, 2″ Grand Rapids, 1.5″ Kalamazoo.   Grand Marais in the U.P. had 8″ of new snow and they are back to 41″ of snow on the ground!!  Detroit and Flint have now had their snowiest winters ever!  The temperature Tues. morning got to +3° in Marquette, -2° in Champion and -3° in Kenton.   The Muskegon River at Evart is at an all-time record 16.0 foot flood stage.  Consumers Energy is down to 412 customers without power..  Season snowfall in G.R. up to 116.0″.    The average high/low for today is 58°/37°.   Clouds prevented most of us from seeing the total lunar eclipse.     Cold start to Tuesday over much of the country, with some record lows in the South.  Waco, Texas tied their latest freeze ever with 31° this morning.  It was 19°in Marfa, TX, 23° at Hebron OK, 11° at Sioux Falls, SD -7° at Land ‘O’ Lakes WI, and north of Lake Superior, Landsdown House, Ontario reached -21°F!  Monday, Chicago had a high temp over 60ºF AND more than 0.5″ of new snow in the same day for the first time ever recorded.   On April 12, Antarctic sea ice area was above normal by an area almost as large as Alaska, and the highest on record for any April 12.  Global sea ice well above average…could reach highest since 1996.  A citrus-greening disease is ravaging trees in Florida, the world’s second-biggest orange grower.  Orange-juice futures climbed 7.2 percent last week on ICE Futures U.S. in New York, after the USDA projected this season’s Florida orange crop will be the smallest in 29 years.   Atlanta hits 3 home runs in a row in the 8th…wild game 12 runs scored in the last inning and a half.

Updated season snowfall totals:  Grand Rapids 116.0″, Muskegon 132.7″, Lansing 69.1″, Kalamazoo 115.3″.    On April 14th, Grand Rapids had both a high temperature of 65° AND a record daily snowfall – on the same day!

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, GFS snowfall for the next 120 hours and NAM model snowfall for the next 84 hours. 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 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, the weather station at Manistee Harbor 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, where they are pushing toward 3 feet of snow on the ground. Check out the cold temps. on the U.S. Low Temperature map. Here’s the morning run of the NAM forecast snow amounts. Here’s a live look at the Houghton Bridge. Here’s the Consumers Energy Power Outage Map. We continue to watch for ice jams on Michigan rivers. Here’s Closings.


Monday – Rain, Local Flooding, Colder

April 13th, 2014 at 3:45 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Local   First this message from the GRR NWS:  ” I just got this from Jim Maczko, our Warning Coordination Meteorologist:  Based on photographic evidence, radar data, video and media, Emergency damage assessments – damage caused by the storm on April 12th in Muskegon, Newaygo, Kent (other counties impacted by the same storm) was the result of straight-line wind damage equivalent to EF-0 on the Wind Damage Scale. We estimate from witness reports we have seen/heard, the strongest wind lasted between 3 and 5 minutes and peaked at an estimated 75-85 mph for a large portion of that 3-5 minutes. Damage seen throughout the path of this storm is consistent with what is typically seen from winds gusting to 75 to 85 mph for that long a period of time.”  

Monday  12:50 pm   Model update – snow totals for tonight – first number is NAM caribou and 2nd is GFS caribou:  Grand Rapids 2.3″, 0.9″…Lansing 2.7″, 3.1″…Jackson 2.5″, 3.4″…Muskegon 0.6″, 0.6″…Mt. Pleasant 2.4″, 2.8″…Big Rapids 0.5″, 1.1″…Pontiac 1.8″, 6.0″.

  Grand Rapids is down from 62° to 39° since 6 am.  Peak gusts:  48 mph G.R., 45 mph Ionia and Holland, 40 mph Muskegon and Holland.   There is still a chance of a shower south of a line from Saugatuck to G.R. to Alma.  It’s snowing (visibility 3/4 mi. at Ludington with a temp. of 32°.  Moderate to heavy snow is falling up at Frankfort.   Pentwater has had 5.5″ of rain in the last 48 hours, 5.42″ SW of Fremont, 4.87″ Hart, 4.87″ Big Rapids, 4.25″ was reported in Scottville, 4.24″ Croton,  3.62″ in Summit Twp./Mason Co. where there was wind damage, 3.96″ Newaygo, 1.76″ Sparta.  Some evacuations along the Muskegon and Manistee Rivers and along Lake Mitchell in Cadillac.  The Muskegon River is higher than it was last spring.  The river is expected to rise another 4-5″ at Croton.  There are many roads either closed or that have water going over them from Oceana and N. Newaygo Co. almost up to Traverse City  Very cold air coming…it’s 22° with a strong north wind at Houghton.  The puddles are all going to freeze this evening.  Plus, we have a little shot of light snow (maybe an inch) that will ice up roads this evening/tonight.  Much of the U.P. has had 3-6″ of new snow.  Snow depth is back up to 34″ at Grand Marais, 25″ Munising and 20″ at Marquette (airport).  We again have record ice for this date on both Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes combined.  Consumers Power update:  44, 794 without power.  Here’s the percent of customers in each county without power:  Montcalm 21.6%, Mecosta 21.3%, Muskegon 8.3%, Newaygo 8.1%, Oceana 5.5%, Kent 1.9%.   Here’s  Grand Rapids radar and regional radar.  Rain/Showers, mostly AM – may change to a flurry late.  Temps. will be falling.   We go to -14°C at 850mb by Tues. AM – that’s cold for mid-April!  Fortunately, it’s a quick shot of the cold and temps. warm back up closer to average by Weds. PM/Thurs.   Flood Warnings continue for Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Montcalm, Mecosta, Isabella, Mason, Lake, Osceola, Clare  and Gratiot Counties.  Flood Advisories are in effect for Mason, Lake, Osceola and Clare Counties.  Flood Warnings have now been posted for the Grand River at Comstock Park (expected to go to 12.5 feet – half a foot above flood stage and the Pere Mqt. River at Scottville, expected to go to 6.5 feet or 1 foot above flood stage.  We also continue to Flood Watch.   Water is topping the dam at Barryton on the Chippewa River and water is being released, causing significant rises to the river downstream. Pretty much unrelated to the rain that’s been mostly north of I-96, there is a Flood Warning for the Portage River at Vicksburg which is near Flood Stage.  Muskegon, Newaygo and Oceana Co. all reports some roads are underwater.   Check river levels here.

Peak gust 57 mph Muskegon, 49 mph Alma, 43 mph Fremont, 38 mph Big Rapids.  It looks like there were many spots from Muskegon Co. east that had winds of 60-90 mph.  Rainfall as of Sunday AM:  4.00″ Fremont, 3.82″ Montague, 3.48″ Hersey, 3.6″ Ferry, 3.46″ Ludington, 3.36″ Pentwater, 3.18″, Big Rapids, 2.78″ Harrison, 2.78″ Clare, 2.63″ Newaygo, 2.5″ Vestaburg, 2.44″ Leota, 2.41″ Grant, 2.18″ Wellston,  2.17″, 2.02″ Lake City, 2.02″ Cadillac,  Baldwin, 1.77″ Shepherd,  1.67″ Mt. Pleasant, 1.53″ Houghton Lake, 1.25″ Comstock Park, 1.00 Breckenridge, 0.74″ Nunica, 0.72″ Spring Lake, 0.30″ Holland.    Here’s the percent of each county without power (Consumers Energy) as shortly after midnight Monday:  Total without power 44,000 (down from 101,000).  Percent without power:  Mecosta 36%, Montcalm 23%, Muskegon and Newaygo both 11%, Oceana 6%, Kent 2%.      Leave a comment if you get any severe weather or if you can leave a rainfall total, we’d appreciate that.  Here’s the WOOD closing list.  Here’s the latest Grand Rapids NWS discussion, which is pretty good.  Here’s storm reports from West Michigan. Lots of links below.   Here’s a roof blown across a road.   Michigan is in the General Thunderstorm Outlook for late this PM and tonight.

Model update:  All models have the bulk of the rain out of here by around 9 am.  The NAM has 2.3″ of snow for G.R. Monday night and the GFS-plot has around an inch (probably better).  Things freeze up Monday night – so watch for icy roads.  Tuesday’s going to be a cold day.  Both the NAM (car.) and GFS-plot have afternoon temps. Tues. in the low 30s…then upper 40s Weds. and upper 50s  Thurs.  There’s still 21% ice on Lake Michigan.  There’s still a 45% ice cover on the Great Lakes (mostly Lake Superior).  Here’s North American snow cover.   Here’s the GFS snowfall forecast .

The NAM model is still trying to print out a band of 2-5″ of snow from Coldwater to Flint Monday evening/night.  The U.P. gets another snowstorm.   Snow cover this Sun. AM was down to 30″ at Calumet, 27″ at Mohawk, 22″ at Munising, 19″ Newberry, 18″ Big Bay, 17″ Marquette (airport), 11″ S. Ste. Marie, 6″ in the woods at Gaylord.  Here’s the Snowman Cam at Krupp’s Resort in the U.P.

Could be the latest spring freeze ever over parts of N. Texas.   Lightning over Lake Michigan Sat. Night.   At 7 PM – Denver, CO is 24°, heavy snow, wind gusting to 35 mph.  Yesterday they were 76°.   At 4 pm Sunday, the average temperature of the Lower 48 states was 59° – nine degrees cooler than it was 24 hours ago.   Snowstorm in Nebraska.

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, GFS snowfall for the next 120 hours and NAM model snowfall for the next 84 hours. 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 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, the weather station at Manistee Harbor 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, where they are pushing toward 3 feet of snow on the ground. Check out the cold temps. on the U.S. Low Temperature map. Here’s the morning run of the NAM forecast snow amounts. Here’s a live look at the Houghton Bridge. Here’s the Consumers Energy Power Outage Map. We continue to watch for ice jams on Michigan rivers. Here’s Closings.

Also – Wildfire consumes 2,000 homes in Chile.  The fire has left 12 dead and dozens injured.  A State of Emergency remains in effect.


Severe Storms – Wind Damage/Severe Hail

April 12th, 2014 at 3:00 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

Damage onedamage 2hail muskegon mike schmalz 4 12 14Damage 4 12 14 golf cart boulder creek 2 injured

12:59 am  – Line of storms training along US 10 with heavy rainfall…solid line of storms back to Iowa…bow echo along the Mississippi River will have to be watched.  Serious Flood Situation, esp. for Oceana, Newaygo, Mason, Lake, Osceola, Manistee, Wexford, Clare, and Isabella Counties, perhaps for N. Muskegon, N. Montcalm, Gratiot Counties. 100,356 Consumers Energy customers without power now, inc. 29,426 customers in Muskegon Co (37.0% of the county customers), 4,796 in Ionia Co. (21.3%), 16,166 in Kent Co. (6.0%) and 7,066 in Montcalm Co. (26.5%) and the worst county is Mecosta with 77.3% of the county without power (12,097 customers).  Gust to 56 mph at Big Rapids.  Flood WARNINGS now for Newaygo, Oceana, Muskegon, Montcalm, Mecosta, Isabella and Gratiot Counties after 2″ of rain…an additional +2″ of rain is possible by Monday AM.  At midnight, the front is along I-94.   Here’s Kyle Piers video – driving in the hail late PM near Cedar Springs.   2″ hail reports from Wisconsin and Iowa – storms moving east.   Hail to nearly 1″ in Hesperia.  Here’s regional radar…storm go all the way back into Iowa.   The storms have knocked the front down to S. Allegan and S. Barry Counties…at 10 pm the temperature is 70 at Kalamazoo, 48 in Grand Rapids, 72 at O’Hare in Chicago, 44 at Milwaukee – pretty easy to find the surface front.   Pics. on the left- a building that looks like it has been destroyed in Grant and a plane and building damage – from Lili Cruz – a golfball-sized hailstone from Mike Schmalz in Muskegon – and the golf cart at Boulder Creek that got hit by a falling tree.  Those guys were lucky they are still on this side of the divots.   Click on the pictures to enlarge.   – serious “training” of storms tonight along US 10 could produce severe  flooding.

Storm Reports:   5:27 PM TSTM WND GUST SPARTA  911 CALL CENTER LOCAL AND STATE POLICE HAVE ESTIMATED WIND GUSTS TO BE AT LEAST 80 MPH.  Semi blown over in Muskegon.   Multiple roofs of and partially damaged in Muskegon and S. Newaygo Counties.    Grant [Newaygo Co, MI] law enforcement reports TSTM WND DMG at 04:10 PM EDT — roofs off multiple structures with campers blown over.  Local Storm Report by NWS GRR: Kent City [Kent Co, MI] 911 call center reports TSTM WND DMG at 05:26 PM EDT — local Ford dealer in Kent Co. has suffered severe roof damage.   A TRAILER AND LOG CABIN HAVE LOST THEIR ROOF WHILE A BARN SUFFERED HEAVY DAMAGE.   From GRR NWS chat: Had a report from a lady between Sand Lake and Cedar Springs a few minutes ago of a 75 mph wind gust on her Davis Weather station.  Gust to 55 mph on Kuttshill in south Rockford.  Measured gust to 65 mph in Rockford – Eaglecraft Mobile Home Park – 18″ pine tree uprooted healthy, 8″ healthy large branch down, multiple pine trees uprooted in area.      If you have pics. of hail, damage send them to WOOD at ReportIt.   Several reports of pea-marble sized hail north of Whitehall/Montague.   Severe T-Storm Watch coming for IA, WI, IL.   Leave a comment if you get some hail.    There were severe t-storm warnings for the NE corner of Illinois for large hail.  Hail pics. here.    Those storms produced LOTS of severe criteria hail – up to the side of eggs (2″ in diameter!).  Check out more hail pictures here and here.  The storms also produced a 55 mph wind gust NW of Chicago at the town of Harvard.  Here’s all of today’s severe weather reports from SPC.    Radar here.  WOOD Lightning tracker here.    Any surface-based thunderstorms will weaken (though probably not die out completely) as they come out over Lake Michigan.  Elevated storms don’t care what’s underneath them…they’ll chug across the lake without skipping a beat.   We made 71° officially in G.R.   Much colder north of the warm front.   At 2 pm Sat. it was 35° with a stiff east wind on Mackinac Island.  Nice to be home, where I can spend more time on the blog…if and when I’m at work…I’m doing TV and won’t be able to update very often.

From Blythefield Country Club on Northland Dr. just north of West River Dr. “The golf course will be closed tomorrow due to extensive tree damage and debris from this evening’s strong storms and wind.  We lost several large trees not only on the course but around the clubhouse as well. Straight line winds have been reported at more than 85 miles per hour and uprooted these trees. The power is still out at the club.”

Another huge earthquake:   USGS just downgraded e-quake to 7.6 – still big.   67 miles SSE of Kirakira, Solomon Islands, the USGS reports.  .  Tsunami warning area reduced to Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea.

Overnight models print out some very serious rainfall totals.  The morning run of the European model gives G.R. 0.62″ of rain this evening (that may be overdone), then 2″ of rain from Sunday into Monday, then 1 to 1 1/2″ of snow Monday night, then more rain Thurs. night into Friday night.  The model also gives Ludington 3.85″ of rain, then half an inch of snow as it ends.  The models have been consistent in forecasting the very heavy rainfall and with it the prospect of significant flooding.

Also:  SURF’S UP!    and….Airbus wins weather satellite contract valued at millions of euros.

 


Flood Watch

April 11th, 2014 at 9:39 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Advisory  qpf Click on the graphics to enlarge.   A Flood Watch (see graphic on the left) will be in effect from late Saturday afternoon through Monday.  Look at the graphic on the right.  I hope that’s way overdone, but the forecast here from NOAA shows up to 4.7″ of rain for Central Michigan over a 72-hour period.  There are also Flood Advisories in effect for the Grand River at Ionia, the Looking Glass River at Eagle and the Muskegon River at Evart.  The Grand Rapids National Weather Service says:  “BY MIDDAY MONDAY…ONE TO POSSIBLY THREE INCHES OF RAIN MAY FALL ACROSS THE WATCH AREA.”  River levels are already high and we expect runoff rates to be a little higher than average.  We anticipate that rainfall of 1″ could cause minor flooding issues, while a rainfall of 2 1/2 – 3″ would cause moderate flooding.  Here’s where you can check area river levels.  Here’s the complete write-up/forecast from the GRR NWS.       We’ve been very lucky to escape the snowmelt without heavy rain.  Since March 1st, Grand Rapids has had 2.10″ of precipitation.  That’s 1.34″ below average or 61% of average.

Also:  Space Station transit across the moon…So far, no reports of deaths or injures as Cyclone Ita came onshore in Australiaenhanced satellite pic. of Itawaterfalls of water and ice in Minnesotaa pretty sunset in New York Citymagnitude 6.6 earthquake in Nicaraguacherry blossoms in D.C.


Ice at the Lake – Warm Weekend

April 11th, 2014 at 12:42 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

modis lake michigan  muskegon glerl twomuskegon glerl lake michigan ice If you are along the lakeshore north of S. Haven and south of Whitehall – you may be looking out and seeing ice on Lake Michigan. The ice cover on Lake Michigan this (Fri.) morning was at 23% and for the entire Great Lakes, we were at 48% on Thursday.  As far as I can tell, those are both records for this late in the season.  The first picture here is Weds. from NOAA/COASTWATCH and you can see where the ice is along the shore (and also over Green Bay and the far north part of the lake).  The next two pictures (from NOAA GLERL) are at the Muskegon Channel from this (Fri.) morning.  The last image is the ice extent on the lake (from NOAA GLERL).  At noon it was in the low 60s inland and low 40s at the Lake Michigan shoreline.

New data starting to come in…there is a chance of a light shower/sprinkle north of Kent Co. tonight – most of us stay dry.  Most of Saturday will be dry.  The NAM has rain starting in G.R. (and points north and west) in the early evening.  On the NAM (car.) G.R. gets 0.35″ Sat. night.  Cadillac gets 0.74″.   While we continue the chance of showers or a thundershower on Sun. there may be more hours without rain than with rain.  On the NAM (car.) the cold front comes thru Sunday night.  After highs in the mid 60s to low 70s Sat./Sun. it’s back to 40° Monday AM and holds there most of the day.  The NAM (car.) has an additional 1.11″ of rain for G.R. and it’s rain.  Cadillac gets a dusting of snow, but most of the area gets trace amounts or nothing.


Happy Retirement John Coleman

April 11th, 2014 at 2:31 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

john coleman one   john coleman two John Coleman retired yesterday from KUSI in San Diego.  He’s a few months shy of 80 years old and has been in the broadcasting business for 61 years (the last 20 years in San Diego).  Many of you remember him as the first weatherman on Good Morning America, starting in 1975. He was also a founder of the Weather Channel.   The picture shows him on the left as part of the news team of WLS in Chicago in the early 1970s (with Fahey Flynn – who always wore bow ties), Joel Daly, John Drury and Bill Frink.  I grew up in Chicago.  I remember John riding a tricycle the entire length of the big Fourth of July Parade in Evanston (my home town).  I first met John at my first American Meteorological Society Conference in Toronto in early 1976.  I was so excited to get to the conference that I was the first meteorologist to arrive for the evening dinner the first night.  John was 2nd and came over and introduced himself.  He was  telling everyone who would listen about his idea of having a live 24-hour weather channel.   He was gregarious, witty and friendly as the West Texas High Plains where he grew up.   On rare occasion, I would call him at GMA and let him know about an interesting weather event in West Michigan.  One day after an Alberta Clipper dropped 9″ of snow on Grand Rapids, he came out on GMA with a golden snow shovel and “awarded it” to “Grand Rapids and Bill Steffen”.  I think the Golden Snow Shovel is still in the garage.  (click on the images to enlarge – first image from Wikipedia – second from John’s facebook page)


Palm Sunday Tornado Anniversary

April 11th, 2014 at 1:20 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

  Today is the 49th anniversary of the famous Palm Sunday tornado outbreak of April 11, 1965. It was the second-biggest tornado outbreak in world history. This is a picture of a rare double-tornado near Elkhart, Indiana. This twin-tornado moved into the Midwest Trailer Park, where 33 people lost their lives. 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. near 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.


Review: “Draft Day” scouting report – NFL fans should wait

April 11th, 2014 at 12:01 am by under Entertainment
"Draft Day" poster courtesy Summit Entertainment

“Draft Day” poster courtesy Summit Entertainment

“Draft Day” (2014)
Rated: PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language and sexual references
Runtime: 1 hour, 49 minutes
Genre: Sports Drama

My spoiler-free review:

As a huge fan of NFL football, a long-time fan of a struggling team, and somewhat of a draft nerd, I really wanted to like this movie.  Even though it appeals to more than just football fans, with its behind-the-scenes of NFL drama, its no “Moneyball” (2011) and certainly not Kevin Costner’s best sports movie.  Setting this movie at the upcoming 2014 draft caused it to have too many factual issues which challenged my ability to believe a movie that tries so hard to be realistic.  I give it 6.0 out of 10.  This may actually play better for moviegoers who are not pro football fans.

Warning to parents: the movie is rated PG-13 on appeal for brief strong language and sexual references

Since this movie was filming several months before the start of the 2013 NFL, it makes sense that the filmmakers wouldn’t know the outcome of the season, and wouldn’t know which team would have the pivotal number one pick in the 2014 draft.  However, why did you choose the Seattle Seahawks?  Sure the franchise has never won a Super Bowl and for years (I have been a fan since 1984) they were a team in the top or middle of the draft, having missed the playoffs for many years.  But the rebuilding is over and they have been a more likely playoff team recently, and were a 2014 preseason favorite by many analysts.

I’m not bothered that the writers made my favorite team the “villain” of the movie… its that they set the draft of this movie in the present months from now at the 2014 draft… and in the movie the Seahawks have that number one pick and are willing to make a trade with the Cleveland Browns, the team that Kevin Costner is running as the General Manager.  But in the real world 2014 draft… the Houston Texans have the first pick and the Seahawks have the 32nd pick.   Everyone who pays attention to the draft knows that, barring an earlier trade, the team with the worst record in the league gets the first pick, not the team that just won the Super Bowl.  Also, in the movie, the general manager of the Seahawks wants the hottest prospect in the draft, a quarterback.  Anyone who watched the NFL playoffs or the Super Bowl knows that Seattle doesn’t need a quarterback, we’re just fine with Russell Wilson.  There are also moves made on the day of the draft because of players they have on their team that conflict with real players on their team.  Like the characters saying the Denver Broncos wouldn’t take a quarterback because they have (?) Garrett.  I’m sorry, but does the writer know that they have future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning?

So the first advice for anyone who wants to do a movie pulling back the curtain on how NFL teams work… set it in the not-so-distant future where the draft selection and the players on the team could make more sense.  The movie is trying to be real, but lives in a fictional alternate universe set in the present, because the movie uses fictional players currently on the team and as college prospects, but still tries to be authentic by using real retired players, real NFL media, and the real commissioner.   ”Draft Day” doesn’t feel as real as a behind-the-scenes movie about a professional sports team’s General Manager (GM), the way “Moneyball” (2011) did.  The Brad Pitt film included real athletes and actors but using the names of real players, combined with actual footage and Brad Pitt was hidden inside his character, who was a real-life GM not a alternate universe fictional GM dealing with fictional players and fictional prospects.

As important as the day of the draft is, there’s more going on in the preseason leading up to that big day.  Some players on the roster are resigned at the end of the season, some become free agents, some get traded, some retire… the GM has to deal with all of these things and then tries to make some moves himself to fill the needs that might not be filled in the draft.  Then there’s the scouting and prepping for the draft … and not just the first round pick.  There are four days, 7 rounds of picks!  Some teams pick more than once in a round, but the average team has 7 picks total.  Many teams live and die with their first round picks, but many teams thrive making great picks AFTER the first round.  NFL nerds will know that.  This is your core audience.  The peripheral audience of casual fan, friends of fans, or dates of fans, might not… but who are you appealing to then?  ”Draft Day” does not address anything else in the off-season except focus on the first round of the draft.  I know the movie is called “Draft Day” so technically its about the first round, but a GM’s job is never done… he wouldn’t go off to his office after he makes his one pick, and he wouldn’t go to a party at the end of the first round… he has three more days, 6 more rounds to think about.

So enough about the football… I guess the movie’s strength has to focus on the drama… the relationship then, of the people involved in these make or break decisions regarding the franchise.  Costner is Costner.  Solid but very Costner.  This could have been one of many different Costner characters dropped in this role and he would act very similar.  His character wasn’t unique enough to separate him from the actor, so I had a hard time not seeing Costner when we see his character ‘Sonny Weaver, Jr.’.  The story is interesting… he has a challenging day, not only is the draft the beginning of a make or break season for him, everyone in his life is pulling at him for attention… his co-worker ‘Ali’ (Jennifer Garner), the owner (Frank Langella), his mom (Ellen Burstyn), Coach Penn (Dennis Leary), the other coaches and staff, and even his new intern ‘Rick’ (Griffin Newman).  Leary’s ‘Coach Penn’ is cliche.  Too cliche.  He puffs himself up, he’s the tough talking know it all that came from a bigger market and he’s got all the answers.  The executives helping with the draft are not all that smart.  The exception is ‘Ali’ (Garner) she is smart and knows football, and is good at her job, although we only get one real mention of what her job is and what that means (and the casual fan/non-fan may not even know what that is).  There is a lot of insider talk that goes unexplained assuming the audience knows what they’re talking about, meaning the casual fan may not understand the gravity of the dealings made during the movie.  So what’s left is a fairly interesting but completely fictional story which at least to football fans starts too become predictable during what is the most interesting part… the last 30 minutes of the movie.

But the movie does move along well and it does look good, with production elements are solid as it takes us around the league as ‘Sonny Weaver’ tries to make deals to make his team better.  Some of the best moments of the movie showcase what director Ivan Reitman has done in the past – humor – whether its subtle or overt, there is not enough of it… and too many of the characters are paper thin – with very little much depth, leaving the movie to win or lose on the success of its main characters and main cast, who are good, but not great.

Final word to the producers: just because you make it, doesn’t mean football fans will come.

MORE INFO (possible spoilers): Read the rest of this entry »


Great Lakes Water Levels

April 10th, 2014 at 8:03 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

muskegon glerl    Click on the picture (from the Muskegon NOAA/GLERL cam.) taken today.  If you look beyond the breakwaters, you can see ice.  The wind coming off the water sure made a difference today.  While Grand Rapids reached 66° today (warmest since last Oct. 12) and Kalamazoo topped out at 68°, the GLERL weather station here at the beach at Muskegon could muster only a high of 41.6°.

The latest data from the Army Corps of Engineers shows that Lake Michigan/Huron is up 2″ in the last month and up 11″ in the last year.  The lake is still 16″ below the century average (dredging the St. Clair River has been a factor).   Lake Superior is up 1″ in the past month (and should see a bump up with the snowmelt over the next 3 weeks) and is unchanged from one month ago.  Superior is exactly at the century average.  Lake St. Clair is up 9″ in the last month and is 8″ higher than one year ago.   Lake Erie is also up 9″ in the last month and up 7″ year-to-year.  Erie is 2″ below the long-term average.  Lake Ontario is up 7″ in the last month, up 3″ year-to-year, but still down 6″ from average.

16 dredging projects planned for the Great Lakes – including Holland and Grand Haven.   Harsh winter reveals Lake Michigan shipwreck.  A couple years old, but some interesting snow pics. here.   Here’s the MODIS satellite picture of Lake Superior from today (4/10) – still a lot of ice out there.

 

 


Dry Friday and at last part of Saturday

April 10th, 2014 at 2:21 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Local  We’ll stay dry today (Fri.) and at least part of Saturday.  We could catch a shower Saturday PM.   The more significant showers (and thundershowers) begin Sat. night and from Sat. PM thru Monday, the GFS plot gives G.R. 2.33″ of rain.  The European prints out 2.58″ – so both models have quite a soaking.  This will cause some flooding, from ponding of water to small streams to the bigger rivers approaching flood stage in places next week.  There could be a little snow as the precipitation ends Monday and we could see a period of light snow at some point Tues. PM thru Weds. PM., but it wouldn’t be much.   Global Sea Ice Extent is 1,053,000 square km. above the 1981-2010 mean.

The El Nino is coming on…if it turns out to be stronger and centered closer to S. America, that would give us a warmer winter next year….weaker and centered more toward the Central Pacific might very well give us another cold and/or snowy winter – though it’ll be hard top this winter…however we had a combination like that in the late 70s.  In any case, it should mean more rainfall for California next winter than this winter.  It’ll be interesting to see if the El Nino is a one and done or if it hangs around for a couple years.  The water is quite warm along the African to Caribbean hurricane track, but El Ninos don’t tend to favor very active hurricane seasons.  We’ve gone the longest period of time ever without a major (category 3 or higher) hurricane hit on the U.S.).  In the meantime, a strong hurricane is approaching Queensland, Australia.  Here’s a satellite pic. of the storm.   Frying birds with solar energy (and this place gets 1.6 BILLION dollars in U.S. loan guarantees!  I’m still waiting to see that first polar bear that’s died from “global warming”.   Storm approaching a field of bluebonnets in Texas.   The U.S. (48 states) was 10° warmer than average on WedsThis was the Sunday storm on the Weds. AM GFS (scary for both snow and potential flooding).   Cherry blossoms in bloom at sunset in Washington D.C.

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, GFS snowfall for the next 120 hours and NAM model snowfall for the next 84 hours. 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 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, the weather station at Manistee Harbor 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, where they are pushing toward 3 feet of snow on the ground. Check out the the U.S. Low Temperature map. Here’s a live look at the Houghton Bridge. Here’s the Consumers Energy Power Outage Map. We continue to watch for ice jams on Michigan rivers. Here’s any Closings.