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Here’s a beautiful shot of Lake Michigan from Jack Martin. This February was warmer, wetter and cloudier than average. After two unusually cold Februarys in 2014 (9.1° colder than average) and 2015 (13.5° colder than average – coldest February ever in G.R.) this February was 2.7° warmer than average. The average high for the month was 36.5° and the average low temperature was 22.5°. So this February was 16.2° warmer than February of 2015 – big difference! The warmest was 61° on the 19th. We also set a record high temp. of 57° on the 28th. The coldest temp. was +1° on the 14th. Precipitation totaled 2.78″, which was 0.99″ above average. February is, on average, the driest month in West Michigan. More than half of the month’s precipitation came on Groundhog Day (1.55″) when we came close to having a significant freezing rain event. Temperatures held slightly above freezing during that heavy rain. Snowfall in G.R. totaled 14.8″, which was exactly average. All 3 winter months had below average sunshine (Dec. 16%, Jan. 17%) We had a daily record 7.3″ of snow on Feb. 24th. The average wind speed was 11.4 mph, with the fastest gust of 70 mph at the Ford Airport on Feb. 19th. We had just 25% of possible sunshine, well below the average of 34%. We had only 4 days all month with over 50% sunshine. The average snow depth for the month as a whole was just 1″. Snowfall was quite variable, but not in the usual way. Kalamazoo had 23.1″ of snow in February, Lansing 15.7″ and Muskegon only 8.5″. There was more snow away from the lake. We had one thundershower (2nd) and the average relative humidity was 72%. While March is starting cold this week, next week should more than make up the difference from average. I expect warmer than average temperature pattern to (on the whole) continue into the summer. The models are consistent with the big warm-up next week.
Congratulations to Barry Co. Michigan – which may have been the snowiest county east of the Rockies in the last 8 days. It certainly was the snowiest county in the Western Great Lakes. Here’s GFS model forecast snowfall for the next 5-day period.
Some light snow likely today, mainly south of Grand Rapids…check out the latest GRR NWS forecast discussion (which sums things up nicely) local radar, regional radar and the current weather observations. Here’s the GRR NWS impact map. Light snow is likely today to the south of G.R. with an inch along I-94 and up to 2″ at the Indiana border. Trace amounts if that north of G.R. Friday looks partly to mostly sunny and dry. We’ll pick up a little light snow after midnight Fri. night into Saturday with 1 to 3″ possible. That’s the last of the snow for a long time as a much warmer pattern develops. We’ll see a little sunshine on Sunday – cool in the AM and 40 in the PM…then close to 50 on Tues. and upper 50s to near 60 for Weds. and Thurs. With the warm air, showers will develop and an inch of rain or more is possible during the middle of next week. The warmer than average pattern should last for at least 8-10 days. BTW, the record high temp. for today is 72 in 1983. We had 7 record highs in a row in the first week of March in 1983…then we had a foot of snow from March 19-29.
Also: Pic. of Soyuz capsule returning to Earth from the Intl. Space Station. Beautiful double rainbow. It has rained 19 of the past 22 days in Seattle totaling almost 6 inches. Magnitude 4.3 earthquake near Fairview, OK. More rain headed to California. Only 2.5″ of snow fell in Fairbanks between 12/1 and 2/29. This is the least snowy Dec-Feb on record. Normal Dec-Feb snowfall is 30.5″. Alabama tornado yesterday rated high end EF2. Here’s drone video of the damage. Magnolias blooming in Texas. KA-BOOM! Severe drought in parts of Africa (El Nino pattern). Large hail in Oman. Lightning attacks wind turbines in France. Lightning hits tallest building in the world. Interesting way to get people to understand the severe thunderstorm threat levels. Despite a mild Alaska winter, Iditarod course a “definite improvement” over the past couple of years. Lotsa lightning in OK. Record-breaking snowstorm paralyzes Moscow.
This is a pic. of me at Art Prize yesterday (Sat.). Larry Figurski took the pic. I did 5 consecutive hours of meet and greet, then took a couple of hours to walk around and look at the art with daughter #2. We gave out over 1,000 Bill Steffen moustaches, and I signed hundreds of autographs. Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by. I’ll be there again today in front of the Art Museum Studio from 2-4 PM. We’ll give out moustaches until they are gone. Great weather ahead…dry and pleasant through the midweek.
Heavy rain Saturday: 4.65″ Baton Rouge LA, 4.37″ Jackson MS, 3.05″ Huntsville AL, 2.79″ Buffalo NY, 2.39″ Houston TX, 2.29″ Knoxville TN, 1.99″ Cincinnati, 1.98″ Erie PA, 1.72″ Atlanta. The afternoon high temp. at Houghton MI was only 49. There was a small EF1 tornado Friday in Pineville MS that damaged a couple of chicken houses. Severe weather Saturday was limited to one storm that produced 14 wind damage reports from NC into VA.
The only report of severe weather in the U.S. on Friday was a report of roof damage and some trees down 9 miles southeast of Natchez, Mississippi. The t-storms that crossed NW Ohio were not severe. General thunderstorms today (Sat.) for the East Coast and especially down south, where heavy rain could fall from SE Texas to S. Carolina. There will also be isolated storms in the Pacific NW and the Intermountain Region.
BTW, a “See Text” means that there is a 5% chance of a severe report within 25 miles of a given location. The Slight Risk area says there is a 15% chance of a severe report within 25 miles of a given point in the outlined area. The main threat in the risk areas is isolated wind damage.
Check out the GRR NWS discussion and the latest surface map. Check out Regional radar to see the rain across the Great Lakes. Here’s GRR radar, local lightning data, meso-discussions and current watches from SPC and a satellite loop. Here’s current Michigan temperatures and National lightning data. Here’s National Storm Reports for today and yesterday. Here’s a live pic. of the beach at Grand Haven.
Add: Taiwan radar to follow typhoon Usagi.,.will probably come ashore on the mainland just north of Hong Kong. Here’s a satellite loop showing the eye of the storm passing by the south tip of Taiwan. Also, nice valley fog picture from Pennsylvania Fri. AM.
Here’s radar and a satellite loop. We will continue to have a chance of a shower or t-storm through at least the midday. SPC has moved the Slight Risk Area farther west and the area is now pretty much everyone in Eastern Michigan, east of US 127. Thursday evening’s storms in E. Iowa and S. Wisconsin produced many wind gusts of 40-65 mph, with several dozen reports of wind damage. Severe storms produced large hail and wind damage in Minnesota earlier today. One person was injured.
Thursday AM rainfall: 2.12″ Hart, 2″ White Cloud, 1.9″ near Muskegon St. Park, 1.75″ Hesperia, 1.6″ Mears, 1.57″ Traverse City, 1.06″ Orleans (Ionia Co.), 1.05″ near Holland, 0.98″ Allendale, 0.42″ Benton Harbor, 0.18″ Big Rapids, 0.11″ G.R. airport. The clouds are holding down temperatures at this point. Thunderstorms moved thru N. Illnois, thru the Chicago area and into N Indiana Weds. night, brushing far southern Berrien and SW Cass Counties. Hail fell in Melrose Park, Rolling Meadows and Des Plaines, Illinois, with 1″ diameter hail in the Lakeview area of Chicago. Power lines were downed in Sandwich, Illinois – west of Chicago. There’s flooding in the Chicago area. There was standing water impeding traffic on Lakeshore Dr. in Chicago and over 3.5 Monticello and Francesville Indiana, with 3.3″ in Whiting, Indiana. Valparaiso Univ. had 1.5″ of rain in an hour. . We’ll see more rain and scattered stormstoday, late Thurs. night (after 1 am) into Friday, where everyone should see significant rain (1/2 to 1″ possible).
The convective outlooks from the Storm Prediction Center show a Slight Risk Area for today over much of Wisconsin and a “See Text” for N. Indiana and NW Ohio for Friday. West Michigan is in the General Thunderstorm Outlook for each day.
Temperature departure from average for Sept. 1-18: Grand Rapids +0.7°, Holland +0.2°, Lansing -0.7°, Jackson -0.5°, Kalamazoo +1.0°, Battle Creek +0.9°. Lots of warm air in the center of the country. Highs Weds: 95 Pierre SD, everyone in Nebraska was in the low-mid 90s, 88 St. Louis, 94 Wichita KS and Oklahoma City, 97 Dallas. Cool air is starting to move in. The high was just 54 in Lewistown MT, 49 at Cut Bank MT., and 46 at Calgary, Alberta.
For Michigan weather observations and wind speeds, click here. Here’s WOOD-TV looping Radar. Check out regional radar, GRR radar, northern Indiana radar, Chicago radar and Milwaukee radar. Here’s the College of DuPage Radar Map (pick any radar in the U.S.), College of DuPage Grand Rapids radar, 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 Rainfall (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 WOOD lightning tracker and U.S. lightning, 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. Here’s storm reports from SW Michigan, Northern Michigan, NE Illinois, SE. Wisconsin, Upper Michigan and E. Michigan.
As we kick off ArtPrize, here’s a pic. from downtown G.R. from Tom at ReportIt. It may be just me, but I haven’t seen as many leaves changing color to red/orange as I usually see by 9/16. I have seen some variations of yellow and probably a little of that is due to dry conditions in some places. Rainfall amounts were mostly less than 1/4″ on Sunday (.20″ Kalamazoo, .16″ Muskegon, .11″ Battle Creek and Holland, .10″ Grand Rapids and .09″ Lansing. G.R. has had 0.87″ of rain this month so far, less than half of average. The clouds will break up from NW to SE during the afternoon and we’ll have a nice evening. Highs will be in the mid-upper 60s. We may see isolated frost Tue. AM with temps. varying from the 30s to low 40s. Tuesday should be partly-mostly sunny. We’ll have a chance of a t-storm from late Weds. thru Fri., with the most likely times Weds. night and Friday. Temperatures will be probably be warmest Thurs., then we cooler weather for next weekend.
Model data from Sun. night: Highs next 3 days from the NAM for G.R.: 66-69-77, from the GFS plot: 64-68-75. The NAM takes G.R. to a low of 32 Tues. AM (too cool for the city), the GFS gives G.R. 37 and the European 40 or 41 – probably the best guess for the city. Outlying areas, esp. to the north may have a chc. of frost and the GRR NWS may have some counties under a Frost Advisory for Tues. AM with the updated forecast later today. The European would also take the temp. to 80 on Thurs. The GFS has highs in the mid 60s next weekend, the Euro. would be near 70. The Euro. has the most rain (and may be right) with G.R. getting 1.26″ from Weds. thru Friday. The GFS plot is at 0.43″. We could use some more rain.
They delayed the NFL game from Seattle Sunday night because of a thunderstorm. Seattle averages just 6 days a year when they get lightning or thunder (G.R. is 36) . Severe t-storms produced some damage from far N. Oregon to interior Washington, with gusts est. near 80 mph near Umatilla Ore., and 77 mph at Richland Wash. The storms downed trees, flipped a semi and reduced visibilities to as low as 1/4 mile in blowing dust. Colorado Springs added another 1.52″ of rain on Sunday. Boulder has had 13 days in a row with measurable rain. Denver has had 4.65″ of rain this month, compared to a Sept. avg. of 0.98″. North Platte NE had 2.82″ of rain on Sunday. The Pacific NW was hot, with record highs of 99 at Pendleton OR, 98 at Walla Walla WA and 94 at Yakima WA. Binghamton NY set a record low temp. of 36 and Saranac Lake NY had a low of 33. Tropical Storm Man-yi has weakened and moved past Japan, after dropping 3.74″ of rain on Tokyo on Sunday. Typhoon Usagi will be next, developing now and may hit China (E. China has been dry). Ingrid is now back from a weak hurricane to tropical storm.
SPC tracking the possibility of strong thunderstorms in Michigan with a cold front on Friday: “IT APPEARS THAT SOME SEVERE TSTMS WILL BE POSSIBLE ON DAY 4/THURSDAY ACROSS THE UPPER MIDWEST AND UPPER/MIDDLE MS RIVER VALLEY ALONG/AHEAD OF THE COLD FRONT. AS THE FRONT CONTINUES SOUTHEASTWARD…A SIMILAR SEVERE RISK COULD POTENTIALLY SPREAD INTO ADDITIONAL PARTS OF THE GREAT LAKES/OH RIVER VALLEY ON DAY 5/FRIDAY.”
I’m working Tues. to Sat. this week, so my wife and I walked around ArtPrize today (Mon.) and got a good look at each of the top 10. We’re both going to vote. My wife has some art experience, having been a stained-glass artist for a number of years, even running her own shop for a number of years up in Rockford (she’s also done a little painting and sculpture). So, she provides an interesting perspective and knows something about the materials, techniques and presentation. At this point, I’ve talked with half of the top 10 artists, which I think is really cool. I haven’t made up my mind, my wife has a top 3 at this point. Leave a comment if you like and tell us your favorite, or if there was an entry or two that you thought should have made the top 10 and didn’t. (Note, at this point I don’t think I’ll make my choice public). I’ve been able to see about 300 of the entries. I wish I had more time. On the whole, we’ve had good weather, but this is going to change. It gets pretty chilly for Friday. The Awards Party is at The Loading Dock of the former Grand Rapids Press Building. It’ll be a little chilly in the evening. You can watch the show on WOOD-TV at 8 PM. Friday.
Here’s the top ten (links) in random order: Origami, Rebirth of Spring, The Chase, Life in Wood, Stick-to-it-iveness: Unwavering pertinacity; perseverance, Return to Eden, Lights in the Night, Elephants, City Band,
Mia Tavonatti won ArtPrize 2011. (Here’s a link from Bill’s Blog for all the results).
There are some interesting trends in the final 10 voting.
1. “Celeb factor?” I found it interesting Mia Tavonatti and Tracy Van Duinen finished 1,2. The two have both finished #2 before. TVD and his brother Corey finished second in ArtPrize’s first year with “Imgine That”, the mural on the Children’s Museum. Tavonatti finished second last year with ‘“Svelata”. They, and the rest of this year’s Top 10, won’t be back next year. ArtPrize has a new rule saying they must sit out one year.
2. Another ‘critically-acclaimed’ entry finished in third. Last year it was “Lure/Wave” by Beili Liu. This year it was Lynda Cole’s “Rain”. Last week a local curator told me she felt “Rain” was the only Top 10 entry worthy of being a finalist.
SIDENOTE: My thoughts with Ms. Tavonatti after losing her mother Thursday morning. When I saw her at last night’s press conference, she held it together, but it’s hard to comprehend what she went through yesterday.
Saturday AM -I’ll be walking around Art Prize for a couple hours both Saturday and Sunday. I’ll be with my 92-year old mother, who today rode the carousel at the Public Museum – she insisted on riding a horse up and down and not just sit on the bench! She wants to stop in and see Jack Nixon who is at 210 Fulton St. (south side of the street – an old fine arts shop that he’s renting for the 3 weeks of Art Prize). He has some amazing pencil drawings of Chicago (one going for 200K – this is top of the line art). Jack lives two streets down from where our family lived in Wilmette, Illinois. You really should make a point of stopping in to take a brief look at his work. It’s excellent. Tell him the weatherman told you to stop by. Well, any comments on the top ten? Who are you going to pick? Who should have been in the top ten? The weather looks much better for the rest of Art Prize…cool for Saturday and a cool start to Sunday, but lots of sunshine and warmer temperatures for much of next week. Have a great weekend!
ArtPrize organizers have scheduled five neighborhood ‘GO TIME!’ events – a mini-scavenger hunt for those who want free ArtPrize gear.
Here’s how it works:
– You meet at a specific location during each neighborhood event.
– The ArtPrize Street Team gives you a ‘passport’.
– You get it stamped at different venues.
– The first 100 to come back with finished passport get free ArtPrize stuff.
Each of the five neighborhoods have their own events starting Friday.
GO TIME! Events
Friday, September 23
Westside Neighborhood, 6-8:30 p.m.
Location: Parking lot at 620 Stocking Ave NW, Next to Compucraft
Saturday, September 24
Center City Neighborhood, 2-4:30 p.m.
Location: Rosa Parks Circle – Center of Monroe Ave and Monroe Center
Sunday, September 25
Hillside Neighborhood, 2-4:30 p.m.
Location: Veterans Park – Corner of Fulton and Sheldon
Monday, September 26
Heartside Neighborhood, 6-8:30 p.m.
Location: Ionia Ave SW, near Fulton
Tuesday, September 27
Monroe/North Belknap Neighborhood, 6-8:30 p.m.
Location: Sixth Street Park, 647 Monroe NW
“The go days is really our push to get people into the neighborhoods,” ArtPrize’s Brian Burch said. “It’s a starting point for you to explore that neighborhood.”
Last year ArtPrize organized five neighborhood parties with events like movies.
Burch says the goal is to get people out into the neighborhoods, instead of having people in one spot.
“That opens the doors to so much more of the neighborhood, not just this park or this parking lot or this particular venue,” Burch said.
Burch says each neighborhood has a unique personality.
“We have a beautiful downtown and it speaks wonders to people who come from outside,” Burch continued. “But there’s a lot more character than just the downtown, so we want to get that spread a little bit more.”
Here’s what you can expect:
500,000+ = The number of people ArtPrize organizers to attend this year’s competition. That’s unique visitors. About half of that number are expected to be locals. The other half (mainly from Chicago and Detroit) are commuters. There are also plenty of buses coming from Flint, Saginaw, Traverse City, Lansing, etc.
Experience Grand Rapids is trying to help area hotels cash in. They are offering free stuff (ArtPrize bag, directory, map, Metro passes) for anyone who stays for ArtPrize.
56 = Musical entries at St. Cecilia Music Center (right).
39 = Different countries represented this year.
10 = Artists get prize money based on public vote.
$250,000 = Awarded to first place.
5 = Number of juried awards.
8 = Exhibition centers. It’s where you can activate your voting account.
465,538 = Votes cast last year. But think of the number not counted with last year’s ‘texting’ issue. This year organizers says ‘every vote will count’, and last year’s issues are behind them.
If you’re a voting nut, and want to hit the ground running Wednesday at 6 p.m. (when voting opens), you might as well.
You can show up at the NEW HUB at 41 Sheldon SE. Make sure to bring your I.D.
There you can see the old UICA revamped. Construction crews added some walls to what used to be mainly an open space.
There are some stark differences to the Hub this year. Namely: art.
Last year’s winner “Cavalry” is there. There are a couple other pieces I’ll detail in later blogs (teaser!).
At ArtPrize year one, there were ArtPrize entries there. Organizers didn’t want anyone to call them into question. Ya know, playing favorites.
Then last year, they did without art altogether. ArtPrize officials said some visitors left disappointed.
Most likely that won’t be the case this year. ‘Cavalry’ is as great as ever. There’s cool social media toys there again, too. And for the first time, the Hub — the headquarters of the event — has a legitimate home.
When: 9:00 a.m.-8:30 p.m., Saturday, September 17
St. Cecilia Music Center features nearly 50 musical acts this year.
Some musicians will take the music center’s Royce Auditorium stage over the course of ArtPrize.
Others will play in the center’s parking lot next weekend in a music festival.
If you ever miss an act, you can listen to the entry downstairs at St. Cecilia. They’ll have iPods with all the entries on it.
“At first I was confused about what we would do,” St. Cecilia executive director Cathy Holbrook said, referring to the first time ArtPrize officials approached her. “I think that it’s taken shape, and we were just excited to be part of what is such a huge event in Grand Rapids,” Holbrook said.
Holbrook hopes the ArtPrize exposure will increase the spotlight on St. Cecilia. “I think sometimes still don’t really know what St. Cecilia Music Center is, who we are and what we do,” she said. “I think we’re kind of a well-kept secret, that I hope we can blow that secret out of the water during ArtPrize.”
But can the musical acts actually win? Here’s what Holbrook had to say:
“It might be hard because people have to actually come in and listen to a sound, where a lot of entries you see them, you see them driving down the road. I think that probably as a performer there are a couple motivations. One is they get exposure. They have the opportunity to have thousands of people listen to their song, or come and hear them perform live during this showcase concerts that we’re doing. And I think some of it, we have some groups that are based in Grand Rapids that are traditions — Domestic Problems, Midlife Crisis, and Ralston Bowles — true Grand Rapidians and love Grand Rapids and they really want to support what Grand Rapids is doing for the city and for the arts and wanted to be a part of it.” – St. Cecilia executive director Cathy Holbrook
ArtPrize organizers promise if you text in you’re vote — you can rest easy.
Last year some voters could not text in their choices.
“We’ve worked diligently this year to make sure that we won’t have hiccups,” ArtPrize executive director Catherine Creamer said.
Only AT&T and Sprint customers could text their votes in ArtPrize 2010.
“We have worked all year long on making sure that’s solid,” Creamer said. “The technology platform is a proven platform.”
ArtPrize officials said they found out about the issue the day last year’s competition started.
It’s unknown just how many votes were left uncounted.
“The integrity of the vote is the utmost importance to us at ArtPrize,” Creamer said.
Other voting options include online or smart phone apps.
New this year, ArtPrize has an Android app to go along with its iPhone app.
You can start voting when the competition starts next Wednesday, the 21st.
ArtPrize Voting Process
Tickets for the “ArtPrize Winner’s Announcement” go on sale Thursday.
The tickets range from 60-80 bucks.
Or you can watch the ceremony on the tube.
We’re have complete coverage of the announcement (and stream it online at woodtv.com).
More deets on that later.
You can buy tickets at all Ticketmaster locations, ticketmaster.com, or by phone at (800)745-3000.
Here are some links to our coverage of previous winners:
Wednesday is also the first chance for voting registration.
You can register online (http://artprize.org/voting) to help choose the $250,000 winner.
Step 1: Registration
You’ll need a unique e-mail address.
But why do this early? I asked ArtPrize executive director Catherine Creamer that last week.
“If we get them to register early and activate,” said ArtPrize executive director Catherine Creamer. “They can hit the ground running.”
If you signed-up last year, you don’t need to register again. Your voting account still exists. You’ll just need to activate your account before you can vote.
ArtPrize runs from September 21 through October 9.