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Would you guess there are more dogs in the U.S....or cats? The answer is cats. There are roughly 86 million cats in the U.S. and 78 million dogs. There are very slightly more dog homes than cat homes, because people are more apt to have multiple cats than multiple dogs. Of the 50 states, the state with the highest percentage of dogs relative to cats is Arkansas and the state with the highest percentage of cats to dogs is Massachusetts.
Around the world...dogs outnumber cats by 10 to 1 in India and nearly 3 to 1 in China. Cats outnumber dogs by 3 to 1 in Switzerland, Austria and Turkey. Dogs are dominant in Ireland and much of Central and South America, while cats outnumber dogs in most Arab-speaking countries. We have two cats. Growing up we had a cat (a stray kitten we found at a roadway rest stop and kept for 17 years), a rabbit (for about 7 years - our pets lived a long time), a bird, turtles and fish. Our cat never bothered the other pets (inc. the fish), but was quite adept at catching mice.
This pic. is from the Wyoming Dept. of Trans. It shows a machine called a "rotary" clearing snow from Highway 14A in northern Wyoming - east of Yellowstone Natl. Park last week. It's a slow process. Note the driver has his door open as he looks for markings so he can stay on the road. They try and get these roads open before Memorial Day. Sometimes it takes until mid-June. The snowiest month of the year on average in Lander, Wyoming is April and that was the case this winter.
This is what the "rotary" looks like when operating. There are bigger versions of the "rotary" Some of these machines can throw snow four stories high.
Also: WOW - look at the snow here along the France/Italy border. This is at 7,178 ft. above sea level. Snowmobiling in the Big Horn Mts. 5 18 18.
The longest daylight of the year occurs on the Summer Solstice, June 21 (this year at 6:07 am). The next 9 weeks give us sunsets after 9 pm. Twilight is longer in summer (when the sun sets at an angle) than in winter (when the sun sets more straight down). I'll add that solar noon is around 1:45 pm. Why not at 12 noon? Well, first - we move the clock one hour ahead for Daylight Saving Time. second - we live at the west edge of a time zone. So, for our latitude, we get some late sunsets in summer...a few days after the solstice, we reach our latest sunset in G.R. of 9:26 pm.
At Isle Royale the sunset on the Summer Solstice is 10 pm and the time of Astronomical Twilight ends at 1:15 am and starts again at 2:41 am - so they only have 1 hour and 26 minutes of total darkness on the Solstice.
From the Gaylord NWS: Lake Michigan Water Temps (2017 vs 2018); Lake Michigan water temperatures are about 3 degrees cooler compared to one year ago today. The mean surface water temp today is 47.7 degrees vs 50.1 degrees this date in 2017.
This is the Storm Prediction Center severe weather outlook map for today (Sat.). Much of Lower Michigan is in the non-severe General T-Storm Area (in light green). While there may be an isolated thundershower, most of the rain will be scattered showers. The big stuff will once again be out in the Plains States, with two (orange on the map) Enhanced Outlook Areas from northwest Missouri to north Texas. Very large hail and t-storm wind damage are the primary threats.
Here's storm reports from Friday...over 100. Six tornadoes were reported, but it looks like at least half of them were duplicate reports of the same tornado. The tornadoes were mainly small and traveled open land in W. Kansas. Baseball-sized hail was reported at three locations and down in New Orleans there was "EXTENSIVE DAMAGE TO TENTS ... SEMI-TRAILER ... PERFORMANCE STAGE AND BOOTHS AT THE BAYOU BOOGALOO",
Also: Nice pic. of one of the Kansas storms on Friday. Rotating Kansas supercell storm. Wet pattern continues in the Southeast. Here's 24-Hour Rainfall totals from Florida: 2.51" Cross City, 2.27" Brooksville, 1.37" Sulphur Springs, 1.22" Punta Gorda, 1.12" Leesburg. Relatively small landspout tornado in KS. Rotating cell in E. Colorado. The Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii still erupting...forming what looks like cumulonimbus cloud...we call this pyrocumulus/cumulonimbus. Lightning hits baseball scoreboard. This is quite a storm for Saudi Arabia. Date of last inch of snow. Accumulated hail in Bulgaria. Great satellite loop of t-storms firing along the sea-breeze in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Reed Timmer = Hail Chaser. Tuesday's Northeast storms produced nine confirmed tornadoes, EF0 to EF2 in strength. Four in Connecticut, four in New York and one in Pennsylvania. Waterspout in Croatia. Small tornado near Syracuse KS. "Seedbed of stars". Small earthquake near Dallas TX. Triple ZAP. Kilauea slideshow (daytime). Lightning hits skyscraper in Nashville TN. Foscoe NC and Salem VA have had over 7" of rain in the last week. Lightning seen from space. Storm chasers become big and risky business.
The picture above is sunset in Alpena, looking up the Thunder Bay River. This time of year, the sun sets into the historic St. Anne Catholic Church, which has been there for +100 years. (from NOAA Coastwatch).
The water levels of the Great Lakes went up in the last week and remain well above average levels. We had a good amount of rain in many areas in the first half of May, and some rivers were running at more than twice average flow. The water level of Lake Superior is up 2" in the last month. The lake is 2" below the level of one year ago, but is now 6" above the average May level. The level of Lake Michigan/Huron is up 1" in the last week, up 5" in the last month and is now 18" above the average May water level. Lake Erie is up 3" in the last month, up 3" in the last year and is 23" above the average water level (you can see the high water level on the trip to Cedar Point). Lake Ontario is up 9" in the last month, but now 23" below the all-time record level that was reached last year. Lake St. Clair is up 2" in the last month, up 6" in the last year and is now a whopping 2 feet above the average water level.
Keep in mind that these high water levels mean a greater risk of beach erosion and it means that waves are more apt to come up over the piers and breakwaters, increasing the chance of being swept off the breakwater and into the lake by a larger wave.
Here's sunset at the Muskegon Channel Friday evening (most of us were cloudy at the time, but there was some clearing to the far northwest to give the shore areas north of Grand Haven a peak at the sunset. All the rivers that connect the Great Lakes continue to have above average flow and that should continue through the summer.
Here's some area river flow readings as I write this (1:30 am Sat.) with the flow in cubic feet per second and average flow in ( ). Grand River at Grand Rapids 11,300 cfs (4,240 cfs), Kalamazoo River at Comstock 3,760 cfs (1,019 cfs), St. Joseph River at Three Rivers 5,520 cfs (1,470 cfs), Saginaw River at Saginaw 9,050 cfs (6,080 cfs).
Today (Sat.) may be the first day without ice in the Great Lakes since mid-November. Saturday there was a lonely 0.1% ice cover on Lake Superior on the east shore of Whitefish Bay (the prevailing west wind blows the last ice to the southeast shore).
Great Lakes News: In Lake Michigan, there is once-in-a generation salmon fishing going on. Smelt numbers in Lake Superior appear to be improving. 15-year old girl plans to swim across Lake Ontario. Sewer discharge into Lake Michigan. Porthole restoration at Lake Michigan lighthouse. Goose poop messing up water tests. Promised relief hasn't come. Neat pics. from the Coast Guard. Above average water levels may be beneficial. Isle Royale moose population up to an estimated 1,475 with only two wolves left on the island. Birds set records this spring. Large swarms of flies appear near Lake Michigan.
This is the Severe Weather Outlook map from the Storm Prediction Center for today (Fri.) and tonight. The storm chasers will be in the Plains, where there is a (yellow) Slight Risk Area. There is a risk of a General (not severe) Thunderstorm in IL, IN, OH today and we'll have a chance of a random t-shower tomorrow, though most of our rain will be scattered showers.
The overnight run of the GFS model has the chance of a shower at 67% for both Friday night and Saturday. The NAM has 89% tonight and 44% on Saturday. It won't be an all-day rain - just scattered showers.
Also: Good weather for the royal wedding...partly to mostly sunny and low 60s. Some significant rain in FL: 1.68" Marco Is., 1.65" Leesburg, 1.55" Lake Placid, 1.17" Gainesville, 1.16" Orlando (Sanford). T-Storm without much rain at Greensburg KS. Tropical Storm Sagar in the Gulf of Aden. It was the same story after the Kyoto Accord. Nice lightning pic. Cool roll cloud near Mobile AL. Airplane view of hail on the ground. Huge hail accumulation in Slovenia. Waterspouts in Cancun. Weather balloon instrument package lands in downtown Atlanta…prompts a suspicious package investigation and shut down streets during the lunch hour. Looks like a distant thunderstorm anvil - but it's really the smoke from the Kilauea Volcano. Double rainbow. Kilauea eruptions 1924/2018. Dolphins attack! Lightning in volcano in Chile. AWESOME slo-mo lightning. Wedge tornado in Germany. Triple lightning strike in Philadelphia. Dust devil. Helsinki, Finland had warmest May day on record while Nimes, France had it's coldest.
Thursday was a beautiful, sunny day. The pic. above is the S. Haven Channel. I'll guess that the guys in that boat can fish...they've attracted a few gulls. Thursday there was a pretty significant temperature gradient across the state. The high temps. at Kalamazoo was 84° and in the U.P., the high at Munising was 44° (with a chilly northeast wind coming off Lake Superior). Bad Axe in the Thumb Area only got to 59° with a wind off Lake Huron.
Get this...at the S. Haven Lighthouse, the temp. was 75.6° at noon with a wind off the land. By 1 pm, the temp. was down to 55° with a wind off Lake Michigan...it stayed there during the rest of the PM. At 7 pm, the temp. was 54°. Then, the temp. rose to 73° by 8 pm as the wind went northeast off the land.
This was Chicago on Thursday, with a thin layer of cirrus clouds. The wind here at the water intake was north-northeast coming down the lake all day. From noon to 7 pm, the temperature varied by only 0.3 degrees - from 45.9° to 46.2°. As the air moved inland, it warmed up. The high temp. at O'Hare Airport was 69° and the high at Aurora was 79°.
While attention is focused on the volcanic eruption in Hawaii...Today is the anniversary of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens in Washington State. The top pic. (from Wikipedia) is the mountain before the eruption.
The above image (from Rocky Kolberg) shows the eruption from 35 miles away!
At 8:32 am on May 18, 1980, an eruption measuring 5.1 on the Richter Scale caused the north side of the mountain to collapse. There were 57 fatalities that day, 250 homes were destroyed, 47 bridges, 15 miles of railway, 185 miles of road. Before the eruption, the mountain was 9,677 feet high - after the eruption it was 8,363 feet high. 230 square miles was devastated and 1.5 million metric tons of sulfur dioxide was released into the air. Trees up to 19 miles away were toppled. 46 billion gallons of snow and ice were melted. Mudslides came down the mountain at 90 mph. Three days later, the ash cloud was seen passing over West Michigan. I calculated that it reduced the high temperature that day here in G.R. by 3 degrees F. It took 19 days for the ash cloud to circle the world. Here's some interesting facts about Mt. St. Helens. Movie about the eruption. Minute-by-minute view of the eruption.
The third picture shows what the inside of the volcano looks like today (from Steve Schilling and USGS), cold - quiet - observing one of nature's long stoplights before the inevitable next eruption.
Winter lasts a long time in northern North America. This map shows where there is still snow on the ground and where there is still ice. You can see that there is still ice over much of Lakes Nipigon and Winnipeg and solid ice covers Hudson Bay.
Lake Superior ice is now down to 0.5%, mainly in Black Bay north of Thunder Bay, Ontario and there's a little left on the east shore of Whitefish Bay. We had the first 0.1% of ice on Lake Superior on Nov. 16, so that's now 181 days, nearly half a year, with some ice on the lake.
This pic. is Wainwright, Alaska Wed. evening. There's a low overcast. The high temp. today at Wainwright was 30. The last time they were 40 was Oct. 4. The last time they were 50 was Sept. 5. They only got above 60 six times last summer with the warmest day, June 28, reaching 71. You can see they still have plenty of snow left. Wainwright is above the Arctic Circle. They get 24 hours of daylight now and the sun won't set until July 30.
This is Denali National Park, home of the tallest mountain in the U.S. A nice pic. with low clouds on the right and a layer of high clouds.
Finally, we travel to SE Alaska - this is Hyder, where the sun was shining. Here the snow has melted in the valleys, but snow remains on the mountains. Here the sunrise tomorrow is 4:26 am.
Check out this video of a tornado on Weds. May 15 near Lobberich, Germany. The video is by Björn Wobedo (who in my opinion should have either been backing up...or even better, turned around and high-tailed it out of there!). Check out this video of tornado near Dilkrath, Schwalmtal, Germany today. And video from Boisheim, Germany. Video of wedge tornado near Viersen, Germany.
A tornado struck the area of Viersen in western Germany Wed. around 6 pm.local time, leaving "a trail of devastation" and at least one person seriously injured when hit by a tree limb. Several roads were blocked by fallen trees and a railway line was shut down. In Viersen-Boisheim, houses were so badly damaged that they are uninhabitable.
Tuesday was the most active severe weather day of 2018 so far, with over 579 reports of severe weather. There were only three small tornadoes. The big story was hail up to baseball-size and hundreds of wind damage reports from the East Coast. On the map above each blue dot is a wind damage report and each green dot is a severe hail report. The storm out east resulted in 5 fatalities - all due to falling trees and tree limbs in 3 separate locations. One of the fatalities was an 11-year old girl. At least two of the fatalities occurred when trees fell on occupied vehicles. Others were injured (including a couple in Manhattan and a boy that was severely injured when the baseball dugout the team took shelter in collapsed) and damage is in the tens of millions of dollars. New York State has declared a State of Emergency in the hardest hit areas.
There were at least 14 reports of winds at or over 75 mph and 11 reports of hail bigger than hen's eggs that knocked out windows in cars and houses. Semis were blown off the road, power poles were snapped and siding and roofs were peeled off buildings. Over 250,000 customers were without power 30 hours after the storms. The storms snarled both air and ground traffic.
The pic. above from Michelle Olin shows the high water level on Lake Michigan near Traverse City. The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is now 17" higher than the May average level. Lakes Michigan and Huron are up 7" in the last month and up 6" year-to-year. We are still 14" below the highest May level tht was reached in 1986. Lake Superior is up 2" in the last month, down 1" in the last year and is now 6" higher than the May average level. Lake Erie is up 6" in the last month, unchanged in the last year and remains 22" above the May average level. Erie is only 4" below the record May level of 1986. Lake Ontario is up 12" in the last month, but down 22" from the record levels of last spring. Ontario is 9" above the May average level. All the Great Lakes connecting rivers have above average flow and that will continue through the summer.
Lake Huron is finallly ice free. There is still a little ice on Lake Superior, mainly in Black Bay and on the east edge of Whitefish Bay. Many of the buoys are out in the Great Lakes. The Holland/Port Sheldon buoy reports a water temp. of 49. The Wilmette IL buoy is also at 49 deg. The mid-Lake Superior buoy shows a frosty 34.7 deg. Inland lakes are warming. Reeds Lake near Grand Rapids MI has a water temp. of 62.
Many rivers in the Southern Great Lakes have well above average flows. Here's some examples of flow in cubic feet per second (as I write this) compared to average flow: Grand River at Grand Rapids 9.580 cfs (4,620 cfs), Kalamazoo River at Comstock 2,980 cfs (1,030 cfs), St. Joseph River at Niles 11,100 cfs (4,030 cfs), Saginaw River at Saginaw 8,890 cfs (5,850 cfs), Detroit River at Detroit 239,000 cfs (189,000 cfs).
This was shortly after sunset on May 15. Buoy water temp. was 48.6. Also: Microplastics found in beer made with Great Lakes water. Beach erosion in Leelanau County, Michigan. Ongoing research by three New York colleges shows that Great Lakes contaminants continue a welcome and dramatic downward drop. Free toilets. Mermaid MegaFest, a four-day event in South Haven, Michigan on May 25-28 will bring an invasion of mermaids. Birding group opposes wind turbines on the beach. Beautiful new Natural Area opens near South Haven, Michigan. The Minnesota Historical Society has acquired a rare book published in 1619 showcasing what life was like in the Great Lakes region in the early 1600s. Wolves to be reintroduced on Isle Royale. Michigan tourism is on the rise. Registration fees for kayaks? Inner tubes next? Two small earthquakes under Lake Ontario. "Vehicle carcasses?" Northern Lights over the Mackinac Bridge. DNR wants to hear about your fishing trip. Shipwreck turns out to be a Ford Pinto?! Is your catch safe to eat? Tracking migration of Great Lakes fish.
The USGS has raised the volcano alert level at Hawaii’s Kilauea to RED/WARNING - the highest level - indicating a “major volcanic eruption is imminent, underway, or suspected with hazardous activity both on the ground and in the air."
A new fissure opened up today, fissure 19. Fissure 17 remains active. That fissure is approximately 1,200 feet long. Lava from that fissure is "racing" toward the ocean at 20 yards per hour. The latest fissure is by the Lanipuna Gardens. Fissure 17 is on private property.
This is what the volcano looked like this week, with a steady push of smoke and ash into the sky. The lava lake is lowering, which is a concern. Residents in the area and surrounding farm lots near Lanipuna Gardens are advised the air quality is condition red. Condition red means immediate danger to health so take action to limit further exposure. (pictures from KHON2)
A large four-alarm fire has heavily damaged or destroyed the famous Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in downtown Milwaukee. The fire broke out around 3:30 pm this Tuesday. Firefighters used five high ladders to fight the flames and the smoke could be seen for many miles. The wooden roof caved in and flames were shooting from the spires. The church has been a prominent fixture of the Milwaukee skyline and was located next to the iconic Pabst Brewery. The church was 140 years old and had 3 spires, the tallest at 200 feet. That tall spire collapsed several hours ago. The bell tower contained 3 bells that combined weighed 5,263 pounds. The organ has 1,600 pipes and was purchased for $3,500 in 1878. It was a State of Wisconsin Historic Site and on the National Registry of Historic Places. At its peak in the early 1900s, the church had 1,600 members.
The church has had visiting Sunday ministers since their permanent pastor retired at the end of 2017. As I write this, there are no reports of injuries and they have not released a cause of the blaze.
Here's some rainfall totals from Monday. As of midnight (and it was still raining), Kalamazoo had 5.26" of rain for the month of May and that was 3.51" above average. Kalamazoo (again, as of midnight) has had 15.12" of precipitation since Jan. 1 and that's 4.80" above average. South Bend IN had a daily record 2.26" of rain on Monday. That gives them 5.72" for the first 2 weeks of May and a whopping 20.53" of precipitation this year already - 8.99" above average. We did not get any severe weather in Michigan. Here's a list of severe reports from NE Illinois and severe reports from N. Indiana (including 3 reports of golfball-sized hail).
The warm air got up as far as Gary, Indiana, where the high temps. Monday was 88. It was 94 in Champaign, Illinois and 95 in Lawrenceville Illinois.
Also: Lightning at the lakeshore seen from a ship. Winter still going strong in the Alps - lots of new snow and snow depths up to 11 1/2 feet. Kilauea Volcano seen from outer space. Lightning started this house on fire. Awesome lightning pic. Snowplows called out to clear hail. Cool sunset. Dust devil in Alberta. Sunset from Lookout Mountain. Check out the erosion in N. Washington. Once again this year...fewer than average # of tornadoes. Helicopter view of the volcano vents in Hawaii. More pics. of the snowy Alps. Flying with geese. Leadville CO in mid-May.
Here's the Severe Weather Outlook Areas for this Tuesday (5/15). Check out the Enhanced Risk area from NE Pennsylvania to W. Massachusetts. Not very often the storm chasers are in that neck of the woods.
This picture was taken by the GOES 16 weather satellite, which is located roughly 22,236 miles from the Earth (a long ways!). The satellite takes visible pictures during the day and infrared pictures at night. The infrared pictures show a temperature profile and thus can pick up this white swath of hail (cold) on the ground after the severe thunderstorm has passed. The storm moved from E. Colorado into Lane and Scott Counties of Western Kansas. There was one report of 6" of baseball-sized hail on the ground.
The Storm Prediction Center has shifted the Slight and Marginal Risk Areas to the north into S. Michigan for this evening and this (Mon.) night. The morning showers and t-storms produced 2" of rain and a gust to 43 mph in S. Haven. The morning activity has ended. We'll stay dry for the rest of the afternoon, then more showers and storms this evening and tonight.
SPC says: "Storms will likely develop upstream across the middle to upper MS valley during the afternoon and especially the evening as the low-level jet strengthens. This activity may evolve into multicell clusters/MCS as it advances east with damaging wind and hail the main threats."
There are Flood Warnings and Advisories in effect this PM south of a line from Holland to Lansing. No signfiicant flooding is expected. There is also a Dense Fog Advisory for Lake Michigan.
This is the area that could really see severe weather this PM. The Storm Prediction Center warns of "widespread damage wind".
Check out these high and low temperatures from Sunday. Southern Michigan had cloudy skies day and night and more humid air, so the temperature difference between the high and low was only 10-15 degrees. But as you go north, clear skies and dry air allowed temperatures to get much cooler at night and significantly warmer during the day.
Cadillac had s 39-degree warm-up from 34° (with scattered frost) in the early AM to a mild 73° in the afternoon. Pellston started Mother's Day in the upper 20s - a hard freeze, then warmed to 70°. Iron Mt. warmed up 46 degrees from a below-freezing 31° all the way up to 77°. Spincich Lake tied for coldest temperature in the contiguous U.S. Sunday AM with a low of 24°. After that, they warmed up to 70°. The biggest swing was at Pelkie, where there was a 49-degree temperature rise from 30° all th way up to 79°.
It was a far different story over the chilly waters of Lake Superior. This is the MODIS Lake Superior satellite pic. from Sunday PM, showing clear skies over much of the lake. The mid-Lake Superior buoy reported a high temp. Sunday of 41.7° and a low temp. of 36.1° with a water temp. of 34.5°.
The warmest temp. in the U.S. on Sunday was 102° at Del Rio, Texas - the wettest was Key West, Florida with 3.25" of rain.
High temperatures were warmer to the north on Sunday. The warmest temperature on the map was Big Rapids. That's pretty rare. They were also 11 deg. warmer than Jackson.
Check out the Great Lakes satellite picture from Sunday PM. It was sunny north of a line from Whitehall to Port Huron when this picture was taken. South of that line it was cloudy. This time of year, the sun is high in the sky and it can make a big difference in how much temperatures can warm in the PM.
It wasn't just in Michigan...Winnipeg, Canada reached 82, Bismarck 73, Pierre SD 64 and North Platte 61 - it got cooler as you went south. International Falls MN had a high of 76, Des Moines 71....Moosineee, way up on James Bay in Canada reached 73 - ten degrees warmer than than Grand Rapids and Montreal was six degrees warmer than Cleveland. It was sunny in the north with clouds keeping temperatures cooler from North Platte and Pierre east into Pennsylvania and New York.