Venus & Jupiter Closest Tonight

June 30th, 2015 at 2:15 am by under Bill's Blog, News, Weather

venus jupiter   Click on the image to enlarge.  Tonight (Tues. June 30) will be an awesome night to view the evening sky.  To the west, the planets Venus and Jupiter will be only 1/3rd of a degree apart – they’ll appear to be touching each other!  Check out this cool video from NASA about the coming together or “conjunction” of the two prominent planets.  Now look at this diagram to show you where Venus, Jupiter and Earth are relative to each other, the earth and the sun.    Venus appears brighter than Jupiter, because it’s significantly closer to us.   Tonight, Venus is about 48 million miles from the Earth.  Jupiter is 12 times farther away, at 565 million miles from the Earth. In reality, Jupiter is 11.8 times bigger than Venus.  Because the orbit of Venus is inside that of the Earth, we never see a “full” Venus (like we can see a full moon).  If you look at Venus through a telescope or a good set of binoculars. it will be a fat crescent.  This conjunction of Venus and Jupiter is more common than you might think.  Next year on August 27th, the two planets will be even closer – at 0.1 degree apart!   Fred Schaaf, contributing editor for Sky and Telescope pointed out that this current string of Venus-Jupiter conjunctions in the mid 2010s closely resembles a similar series of conjunctions that appeared in the western sky between the years 3 and 2 B.C. It has been suggested that their joint appearance came to be known as the Star of Bethlehem.  Quite a few historians place the time of the birth of Jesus as the spring of 4 BC (the 4-year error was due to not knowing at the time the calendar was formulated that Caesar Augustus (where the name of the month of August comes from) ruled for four years under the name Octavian.  Spring was when shepherds were most apt to be watching their flocks by night.  The two planets will slowly separate as we move through the month of July, but still remain relatively close through mid-month.

We also can turn to the ESE in the evening and see the brilliant full moon.  Technically, the moment of full moon is tomorrow night, July 1 at 10:20 pm EDT.  We have two full moons in the month of July.  The full moon of July 1 is the “Buck Moon“.  The second full moon of the month is called a “Blue Moon“.   The moon won’t appear bluish on 7/31 – it’ll look like any other full moon.  The term “blue moon” has been used for nearly 500 years.  This is also the full moon closest to the Summer Solstice (which occurred on June 21).  So, this full moon is the full moon that hangs lowest in the southern sky.   Off to the left an a little higher up in the sky, you can see the star Regulus.  For more on our evening sky, check out this week’s Sky at a Glance.  No ISS flyovers here in Michigan until 7/12.    (pic. is a screen grab from the NASA video by NBC12.com).


From Wilmette, Illinois

June 29th, 2015 at 12:31 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Central Great Lakes sector loop    Early Monday AM – I’m working Tues. thru Sat. this week, so Sunday after church (and my 2nd service work in the church nursery – 10 kids, ages 1 to 2), we headed down to Chicago to see my mother, who will be 96 years old on 7/12.  Mom was at the concert in the park in Wilmette Sunday from 3 to 5:30 pm.  This week they started the concert with free ice cream for everyone and then free water and lemonade during the concert, which was blues/jazz.  We didn’t get to the park until 5:20 pm and by that time mom got tired and walked back to her condo.  We stayed to drink some lemonade and listen to the last two tunes…a B.B. King classic and “Autumn Leaves”, but very well done.  The crowd gave them a well-deserved standing “o” at the end.  The park is right across the street from the house where actor Bill Murray grew up.

We then drove the four blocks back to my mother’s condo.  Mom had snacks and wine ready (carrots, crackers and cheese and grapes) and we chatted.  The trip down had taken the better part of 5 hours.  We stopped in Pullman to get fresh strawberries, raspberries and cherries from “Farmer Ed”.  We were held up by a bad accident on southbound 196 near S. Haven.  We stopped for gas in Indiana (usually 50 cents cheaper than in Wilmette/Cook County) and we hit slow pockets twice in Indiana and twice going thru Chicago.  Every time I come down here, I’m grateful that I live in G.R. and don’t have to drive daily on the Chicago expressways.  If I did the weather down here…I’d either live as close to the station as possible and walk, or live next to a train station.

Daughter 1 came up from Chicago to join us and later my brother – who was playing a gig (with one of the ten bands he’s playing with this summer) in Lake Bluff, about 20 miles north of here.  Tonight it was the “Class of ’68″ dustin’ off some solid gold in a benefit for the area food pantry.  The party broke up around 10:30 pm and I’m updating the blog thru my phone.  I was sorry to hear that the small restaurant/bar where I used to sit and get on WIFI late at night (they left their WIFI on 24/7 and told the world they could sit outside and use it all night for free) had closed down.  We’ve had only enough rain to wet the pavement here so far, as most of the significant rain with the first wave has passed south of Chicago.  Mom is doing as well as a nearly 96-year old can be expected to do, living on her own.  She walks daily and reads a lot (she gets a lot of books at the library).  She likes to read biographies…and right now she’s reading the biography of Ginger Rogers and Kitty Kelley’s book on The Royals.    My mother sang and played piano for the U.S.O. during WWII – she started doing that nearly 73 years ago.  There is a picture around here somewhere of her doing that and I’ll have to find it and get it on the blog – an interesting bit of history.

I’ve made a relatively quick glance at weather…we have a chance of a shower (slight chance thunderstorm) today (Mon.)…most of the day will be dry…a little better chance of a shower or t-shower on Tues.  Wed. and Thu. will probably be dry – then we’ll have a chance of a shower or storm on Friday.  Hopefully, most of those showers will move out by Saturday am (not a sure thing, but stay optimistic at this point).  The GFS says dry for fireworks Saturday night in Michigan.   Temperatures will remain a little cooler than average this week, with daytime temps. in the 70s.   There was a sharp cut-off with the rain Friday night/Saturday…with 0.01″ at the G.R. airport and over an inch in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek.  We’ve had 6 consecutive days that have been cooler than average.  June is now 1.3 deg. cooler than average.

Also:  The Corvette turns 62 years old tomorrow.  Heat in the West:  110 Phoenix, Las Vegas and way up at Boise ID, where it was the warmest day ever in June – 102 Helena MT, Salt Lake City, 105 Spokane WA…unseasonably cool high temps:  69 Cleveland, 62 Erie PA, 61 Buffalo and Hartford, 59 Boston, 57 Concord NH and Bangor ME.   Here’s high temps. yesterday.   More US deaths from lightning (13) to date than tornadoes (10).   WE’RE #1 !!  Leap second tomorrow…June 30 will be 24 hours and one second long!  With my extra second, I’m going to go back and watch all of the highlights from the 2008 Detroit Lions.   2nd wettest June ever in Washington, D.C.  Venus and Jupiter are the two “stars” in the evening sky looking west.   Death Valley CA reached 124 deg. on Sat…highest temp. in the U.S. in 2015 so far.

Links: Here’s Grand Rapids radar and Northern Michigan radar, 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 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


Partly Sunny Sunday

June 28th, 2015 at 2:42 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

erase me 1  erase me 2  erasre me 3  Here’s a couple pics. on the left from KVLY of severe weather (large hail and a rope tornado) in E. North Dakota Saturday PM.  On the right is a pic. of the funnel cloud near Muskegon on 6/25.  That pic. is from Shawn Liverance at Mona Lake.   Here’s Saturday’s U.S. storm reports – quite a number of tornadoes in E. North Dakota…wind damage on the East Coast and a little wind damage in Arizona.  Look at the field covered with hail in ND.  Millville, NJ received over 4 inches of rain on Saturday, more rain than they typically receive in all of June!

Rainfall Saturday:  Just 0.01″ at the G.R. airport and northing on the west side of G.R., 1.00″ Kalamazoo, 1.03″ Battle Creek, 1.39″ Jackson, 1.31″ Detroit, 0.52″ Lansing.  This was one heck of a storm just to the east and south.   A (non-thunderstorm) gust of 66 mph was recorded at Fort Wayne, 55 mph at Huntertown and 52 mph at Bavaria Ohio.  Check out these rainfall totals:  6.90″ 3 miles NNE of Newvilole OH, 4.72″ Bryan OH, 4.70″ Toledo, 4.19″ at Huron, 4.25″ Butler IN, 3.64″ Van Wert OH, 3.93″ Defiance OH, 3.11″ W. Sandusky OH (not a nice day at Cedar Point!), 2.76″ Cleveland…Fort Wayne IN has now had their wettest month ever (11.72″+).    9:20 pm Saturday at the Muskegon beach (while link lasts).

Snow in South Africa (winter there, though snow is not common).  First 100-degree temp. of the summer in Salt Lake City yesterday.  Other hot western highs:  113 Las Vegas, 105 Boise, 102 Spokane, Helena, 92 Seattle, 91 Portland OR…on the cool side, afternoon highs:  63 Detroit, 66 Fort Wayne, 68, Boston, 64 Buffalo.    We’re only in the General T-Storm Outlook for Monday and Tuesday.


Saturday Rain Southeast

June 26th, 2015 at 9:09 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Central Great Lakes sector loop    Saturday 3:45 pm- the rain came S. Haven to G.R. to Alma.  At 11 am it was moderate rain and 56 in Coldwater…they were getting gusts to 33 mph at Adrian.  The center of the low pressure center is over N. Ohio.  Rainfall thru 8 am:  0.67″ Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, 0.77″ Marshall, 0.38″ Charlotte, 0.29″ Lansing, trace G.R., 0.83″ Mendon, 1.12″ S. Bend, 2.41″ Fort Wayne.  Sunday should be partly sunny and pleasant before the next system brings us a few scattered showers/t-showers on Monday.  The 8-14 day outlook keeps us cool with ample rain through the first 10 days of July.

Also:  Friday was (by a few seconds) the latest sunset of the year at 9:26 for G.R. and 9:29 for Muskegon.   Moonwalking?   Nice mammatus.  Fort Wayne, IN, has already broken their all-time June rain record with over 9″ – steady rain there tonight.  Look at the flooding in Muncie IN after another 1-2″ of rain.   Arctic ice extent – slowest melt since 2004.  Antarctic sea ice volume remains 2 standard deviations above average.    This video has been around for a while, but I have to watch every time someone sends it to me…all I can say is “no thanks” and whatever it is, these guys don’t get paid enough to do this.

Links: Here’s Grand Rapids radar and Northern Michigan radar, 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 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


30-day Rainfall Anomaly

June 26th, 2015 at 2:53 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

30-day precipitation anomaly   Click on the image to enlarge.  Here’s the Rainfall Departure from Average for the past 30 days.  You can see that much of the country had above average rainfall (even a few spots in California).  Pretty much all of Lower Michigan has had above average rainfall, with a significant area south and east of G.R. at 6-9″ above average…that’s a lot.  If some private weather stations were included, we’d have some purple showing over parts of Allegan and Barry County.  You can see a large swath of above average rainfall from Texas to the Great Lakes to New England.  Even most of Arizona and parts of California have seen some rain this June.  The pattern that we are in is favorable to ample rain in the Corn Belt and good agricultural conditions over most of the country.  The CFSv2 says Michigan stays cooler than avg. in July.  Pretty nice weekend ahead…slight chance of a shower or t-shower Fri.-Sat. temperatures of the next 8 days…daytime 70s, nighttime lows in the 50s.  Savin’ money on air conditioning.

Rainfall yesterday:  Grand Rapids 0.04″, Holland 0.15″, Battle Creek 0.26″, Big Rapids 0.32″…heavier rain to our south and southwest:  0.85″ at Indianapolis, 1.01 at Chicago and 1.59 at Algonquin IL northwest of Chicago.  Also:  OopsMayfly invasion shows up on Detroit radarHi-res. images of the fiery sunset at Fenway Park Tuesday evening.  5.15″ of rain in about 4 hrs near Troy, MO.  Cool pic. of cumulonimbus at sunsetCrown flash.  59 mph gust at Kansas City.  More than 7″ of rain has fallen in Adel, Iowa.


June 25th, 2015 at 3:42 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Central Great Lakes sector loop    Thursday PM – We still have a chance of a shower (or isolated t-shower) this afternoon…best chance south of I-96.  The showers will end this evening and we’ll become partly cloudy overnight with a chance of patchy fog.  There will be a chance of a period of rain south of a line from S. Haven to Lansing mainly tomorrow PM/night.  Then the next decent chance of rain will be Sunday night into Monday.  Daytime temperatures will continue to be slightly cooler than average (low 80s) on the whole through the first week of July.

Links: Here’s Grand Rapids radar and Northern Michigan radar, 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 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


Severe Weather South of Michigan

June 25th, 2015 at 1:57 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

day1otlk_1200   Here’s the Severe Weather Risk Areas for today (Thurs.).  There’s a large (yellow) Slight Risk Area from the High Plains to the Atlantic.  That’s surrounded by the dark green Marginal Outlook.  The big stuff stays south of Michigan across IL, IN, OH.  I’ll be at the Park Party at Fort Lamar Park from noon to 2 pm.  If you’ve got the day off, come on over and say “hi”…then into work.

So far in 2015, we have not had a single day warmer than 85 degrees.  In 2012, we had 12 days over 85 degrees to this point of the summer.  In 2012, every single day from June 27 thru July 18 was warmer than 85 deg. in G.R.

Check out the video HERE of lightning hitting a crane in Washington D.C..  !  Here’s U.S. Storm Reports from Weds.   83,000 Philadelphia-area customers remain without power early Thurs. AM after Tuesday’s storms.  There was a gust to 71 mph at the Philadelphia Airport.  Blake’s pic. of the sunset in HudsonvilleCool lightning pic. from Helena AL.  5.8 magnitude e-quake 64 mi. west of Willow AK (NW of Anchorage).  Lightning and rainbowIn the Welland Canal moving from Lake Erie toward Lake Ontario (or vice versa – hard for me to tell).   Time to get off the beach!


Severe T-Storm Watch – IL, MO, IA

June 24th, 2015 at 10:43 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

WW0350 Radar The Storm Prediction Center has issued a Severe T-Storm Watch for E. Iowa, NE Missouri and Northwest Illinois valid until 6 am. They’re pretty confident on this one. They have out a greater than 95% chance of 6 or more severe weather reports in the watch box…with a 60% chance of 10 or more reports of wind damage. SPC says: “AN EVOLVING MESOSCALE CONVECTIVE SYSTEM WILL DEVELOP EAST SOUTHEASTWARD OUT OF CENTRAL IOWA THROUGH UPPER PORTIONS OF THE MIDDLE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY OVERNIGHT. THIS WILL BE ACCOMPANIED BY AN INCREASING RISK FOR STRONG…POTENTIALLY DAMAGING…WIND GUSTS AND AT LEAST SOME SEVERE HAIL. ONE OR TWO TORNADOES MAY ALSO NOT BE OUT OF THE QUESTION.”

It still looks like the severe weather and most of the storms will miss us off to the southwest and south.


Showers/Chc. T-Storm South Thurs. AM

June 24th, 2015 at 7:38 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Central Great Lakes sector loop   Here’s regional and local radar.  The first batch of showers has been weakening west of Chicago.  There may be a shower or two left with that batch into Berrien Co. later this evening (after 9 pm), but most of us will stay dry through at least 2 am.

More storms are forming in Iowa, where there is a Tornado Watch until 3 am EDT.  The heavier storms should move ESE, missing Michigan.  Our best bet for rain will be south of G.R. around 5 to 9 am.  There is a chance of heavier rain and a thunderstorm along or south of I-94, but only a chance.  There’s also a chance that the bigger storms will all stay south in IL/IN.  Rain amounts diminish as you go north of I-94.   The Maranda Park Party at Lamar Park is still on – with free lunch for the kids – rides, games, giveaways, entertainment, ice cream, free stuff, prizes (a Chrome laptop, an RV vacation, tickets to Michigan’s Adventure and Cedar Point)…that’s Noon to 2 at Lamar Park in Wyoming.

Links: Here’s Grand Rapids radar and Northern Michigan radar, 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 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


Video of the Portland Tornado!

June 24th, 2015 at 1:47 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Portland Tornado drone   Portland tornado video HERE – this is from Grider-Agency in downtown Portland.  Note the tornado is rain-wrapped – very hard to see what’s coming when you are in heavy rain.  Note the last car that turns left, right into the tornado!  I’m guessing the camera is looking northeast  Maybe someone more familiar with Portland can verify that (I’ve driven down that road before).  Again, peak winds were 110 mph.  Fellow Storm Team 8 Meteorologist and pilot, Kyle Underwood took video along the tornado’s path.  You can see some of that here.   Here’s the story on 5 confirmed tornadoes in S. Michigan Monday PM.   Why there was not a tornado warning in effect for PortlandHow you can donate to help the relief effort in Portland.