8:45 pm – G.R. down to 51 degrees, Cadillac is 45°. Scattered light showers/rain across the area – no lightning now. We’re getting gusts to 20-30 mph. The cold air is coming down…wind gusts along the Lake Superior shoreline have been running 30-40 mph with temps. in the low 40s.
Click on the graphic to enlarge. This is the graph of the water temperature of Lake Superior since Jan. 2009. You can see the lake has been consistently colder this year. The lake temperature generally peaks in the first two weeks of August. A period of relatively calm weather may cause the temperature to spike. It then comes back down when stronger winds mix up colder water from below the surface. Lake Superior is 3.5 degrees below normal. Lake Huron and Michigan are roughly 2 degrees cooler than average for mid-October.
The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is up one inch in the last month, at a time when the lake levels are usually falling. The lake is 4″ above the long-term average level for October and 20″ higher than it was one year ago. The highest lake level in October occurred in 1986 (remember the Flood of ’86?) when we had several homes fall into Lake Michigan due to beach erosion. Officially, we had 11.85″ of rain in G.R. in Sept. 1986. Some areas from N. Kent Co. into Newaygo Co. had close to 20″ of rain that month. I looked at the weather that fall and saw that Nov. 1986 was about four degrees colder than average in G.R., though we had below average snowfall that winter. I had mentioned earlier that there were some similarities to the cold, snowy winters of the late 1970s. We had the coldest winter of the last 100 years in 1976-77 – then we had the Blizzard of ’78 the following winter, followed by the coldest February and 5th coldest March that G.R. has ever had. That winter was a weak El Nino and it had above average snowfall in Nov., Dec. and Jan. (in G.R.). The winter of 1978-79 brought Grand Rapids well above average snowfall (96″) and significantly colder temperatures for all 3 winter months.
The water level of Lake Superior is unchanged in the last month, but up 10″ year-to-year and 8″ above the century average. Lake Erie is down 3″ in the last month, but up 7″ in the last year and 8″ higher than the October average. Lake Ontario is down 7″ in the last month (Erie and Ontario fluctuate more than the other 3 Great Lakes), down 2″ year-to-year and it’s now 1″ below the century average. Lake St. Clair is 14″ higher than one year ago and 9″ above the October average. Outflow from Lake Superior down the St. Mary’s River remains well above average. The outflow from Lake St. Clair down the Detroit River and down the Niagara River from Lake Erie into Lake Ontario is also expected to remain above average.
Click on the image to enlarge. It’s the GFS, which has the occasional problem of bringing down cold shots too strong in fall, but…if by chance this is true…it’s probably our first measurable snow…right in time for Halloween (10/31). It would be breezy/windy and cold. If it’s cold enough for Lake Michigan to get significantly into the act, there could be significant snow. Remember 1951, the other year without a 90-degree day in the summer? That year we got dumped on in the first week of November with 1-2 FEET of snow in the G.R. area. So, it bears watching. Later tonight, I’ll add more to this. The Japanese model still looks cool for Dec. – Feb. in the Great Lakes. Speaking of cool, the NAM and GFS would have temps. only in the mid-upper 40s Sat. afternoon with a pretty stiff NW wind. Sunday looks dry, then showers from late Sunday night to Tues. AM – next Weds./Thurs. should be partly-mostly sunny.
1:21 pm – The stock market is down over 400 points today and falling. This is a similar pattern to 2008, when gasoline prices dipped, then the stock market dipped, then the economy dipped right before the election. I’ll leave radar at the top of the blog. A few more widely scattered showers and sprinkles today, lots of clouds and occasional damp pavement. Winds will be light. Oct. 1-14 was 0.5° cooler than average in G.R. Average high temps. are now in the low 60s and falling at the rate of about one degree every 3 days.
First on the left, a spectacular rainbow this evening from Connie Williams Bagley on US 131 south of Plainwell. On the right is a forecast map for October 25 from the NAEFS model. It shows in purple where 500 mb heights are expected to be below average and in pink where heights are expected to be above average. What this means is a trough in the East and a ridge in the West, a pattern that is to be expected about 6-10 days after we have a recurving typhoon in the Western Pacific (Vongfong). It looks like we won’t be tapping Arctic Air…so seasonably cool, but not real cold as we head into the last week of the month. The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) are shining tonight in Wisconsin where skies are clear and across much of the northern half of North America. The kp-index is at 5 (storm) as I write this. From spaceweather: “High-latitude auroras are possible on Oct. 14th-15th when Earth crosses through a fold in the heliospheric current sheet.
Early Weds. AM – Early morning rainfall has been a little heavier north of a line from Muskegon to Reed City. Ludington reports 2.03″ and Manistee had 2.55″. Six-hour rainfall totals ending at 2 am included 1.31″ at both Manitowoc and Oshkosh WI and 1.2″ at Pellston MI. This continues to be a record year for adding water to the Great Lakes. My observer in Oshtemo has had over 5″ of rain since Oct. 1. At 2 am, G.R. was up to 71…winds were gusting to 25-30 mph.
Hurricane Gonzalo produced wind gusts of 70-75 mph on the island of St. Maartin. The storm will head to Bermuda, where they had a 96 mph gust from Hurricane Fay last week. Here’s the latest discussion on Gonzalo. We also have Tropical Storm Ana, which should come close to the Big Island of Hawaii. While not a big hurricane, Ana should kick up some knarly surf and has the potential to produce some heavy rainfall. Here’s the latest discussion on Ana. The last image (of Ana) will enlarge if you click on it. You can see the enlarged track of Gonzalo here.
There’s a mesoscale discussion for S. Michigan/N. Indiana for the possibility of gusty winds along the main line of showers (and a couple embedded t-storms). A Weather Watch is unlikely. The Storm Prediction Center says: “SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS WILL MOVE ACROSS NORTHERN INDIANA AND SOUTHWEST LOWER MICHIGAN THROUGH THE NIGHTTIME HOURS. WHILE SOME GUSTY WINDS WILL BE POSSIBLE…THE OVERALL SEVERE THREAT SHOULD REMAIN LOW AND A WATCH IS NOT EXPECTED.” 173 severe reports and counting today from Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico. There was a tornado warning out for an area about 75 miles south of Chicago – no confirmed touchdown there.