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Twelve tornado hit five states on Tuesday (3/31/20). The worst tornado hit Eufala, Alabama. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries. The image above is from drone video. This is a street of houses next to a golf course. You can see the houses on the right side of the street sustained significant damage, while there was only a little damage to the homes on the left side of the street.
This tornado was on the ground for nearly 8 miles passing south of “downtown” Eufala. The tornado crossed the Walter F. George Reservoir and moved into Georgia. The twister was a strong EF2 that took the roof off of substantial homes. Note that the tornado hit in the late morning.
Eufala was hit by a more deadly tornado a year ago on March 3, 2019. This is a pic. of the fire station after that tornado, which resulted in 23 fatalities, mostly at a mobile home park. That tornado also started in Alabama, crossed the reservoir and moved into Georgia.
Here’s storm reports from March 31. Besides the tornadoes, ther were 86 reports of wind damage and 2 severe hail reports up in North Dakota. There were 4 other tornadoes in Alabama that were rated EF0 with winds of 70-80 mph. Other tornadoes hit Mississippi, N Florida and Georgia and there was one small tornado in Washington State.
This is downtown Chicago Tuesday PM (3 31 20). There’s a heavy, low overcast that’s obscuring the tall buildings. The month began and ended “like a lamb” – rather quiet (March 1 was mostly sunny).
March was 3.0° warmer than average in Grand Rapids. It was the fourth month in a row with above average temperatures. The warmest temperature was 63° on the 8th and the coolest was 17° on the 7th (the day before the highest temp. of the month). While the month was warmer than average, it was nowhere near as warm as March 2012, when we had temperatures as warm as the mid 80s and the month was 15° warmer than average (all the blossoms came out too early and they got frost and we lost the fruit crop).
The month brought 3.27″ of rain to Gr. Rapids (and a little melted snow) and that was 0.9″ above average. We had just 2.3″ of snow and that was 5.5″ below average. We had 45.5% of possible sunshine and and there was only one day with a thundershower. The average wind was 10.1 mph and the highest gust at the Ford Airport was 57 mph on the 29th. We had 16 days with wind gusts of 30 mph or higher.
This first day of April was cloudy with a smidgen of sun late in the day in some areas. Winds were light and afternoon temperatures will be in the mid-upper 40s. The sun will be back on Thursday. We’ll be back to the upper 50s, though it will be cooler at Lake Michigan. Winds will be light from the southeast. Friday looks like a warm day, above 60° with a south-southeast wind. We’ll have a good chance of a band of showers coming through with a weakening front. Rainfall totals Saturday will generally be less than 1/4″.
The above map is the 6-10 Day Forecast from the Climate Prediction Center for April 6-10. Above to much above average temperatures are expected generally east of the Rockies and cooler than average temperatures are likely in the West.
This is a still pic. from the 6 pm weather segment Tue. – note the cat on the table. That’s “Nimbus”. She’s approaching 11 years old – a stray we got from the Humane Society. We also have a male cat that we call “Sir Yum”. He’s also approaching 11 years old.
Also: Warmest (73.1 degrees) and 4th driest – 1.06 inches) month of March on record for New Orleans International Airport (MSY). Previous warmest was 70.7 degrees in 2012. Records at MSY go back to 1947. Second warmest March at Jacksonville FL. Monthly record Coldest in Hungary. And April monthly record cold. Snow in the Rockies and N. Plains. Ozone “hole” in the Arctic. Sunset Mobile Bay. Pics. of tornado damage at Eufala AL. Twilight in St. Louis.
The map above shows soil moisture across the contiguous U.S. It’s “wet” to “very wet” across the Great Lakes and much of the Eastern U.S. There is above average soil moisture across much of the Corn Belt as we head into planting time. We’re hoping that we don’t have the problem of flooded fields like we had in some areas last spring.
The lines on the map above show plots of the current year’s daily lake levels (blue) compared with last year’s levels (black) and last year’s annual average (dark red). The monthly averages are shown as a step plot through the daily averages. Plotted in the background are the coordinated (official) averages (green), record highs (cyan), and record lows (brown) per month as documented here along with additional water level data.
The water level of Lake Superior is down 3″ in the last month (precipitation has been mainly snow and it’s sitting on the ground. When that snow melts, the water level of Superior will come up at least a little. The lake is down 1″ in the last year. It’s 12″ higher than average and is now 3″ below the March record level set in 1986.
The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is up 2″ in the last month and up 14″ in the last year. The lake is 37″ above the average March level and is now 5″ higher than the March record average high level set in 1986.
Lake Erie is up 4″ in the last month and up 12″ in the last year. The level is 36″ above the average March level and 4″ above the record March level set in 1986.
The water level of Lake Ontario is up 5″ in the last month and up 9″ in the last year. The lake is 21″ above the March average level, but it is 6″ below the record March level of 1952.
The water level of Lake St. Clair is up 3″ in the last month and up 11″ in the last year. The lake is 37″ higher than the average March level and it’s 2″ above the previous record March level set in 1986.
All the rivers that connect the Great Lakes have well above average flow and that will continue through the summer. The flow on the St. Clair River at Port Huron is 227,000 cubic feet per second, compared to an average flow of 189,000 cfs. The Detroit River at Detroit has a flow of 193,000 cfs, compared to an average flow of 267,000 cfs.
The weekend rain pushed up for the flow on Great Lakes rivers. The Grand River in Grand Rapids has a flow of 9,800 cfs compared to an average level of 7,020 cfs. The Muskegon River at Croton has a flow of 5,020 cfs, compared to an average flow of 2,970 cfs. The Kalamazoo River at Comstock has a flow of 2,370 cfs, compared to 1,380 cfs. The St. Joseph River has a flow of 7,260 cfs, compared to an average flow of 5,160 cfs. The Saginaw River has a flow of 16,500 cfs, compared to an average flow of 7,760 cfs and the Fox River at Green Bay WI has a flow of 12,900 cfs, compared to an average flow of 7,560 cfs.
There was relatively little ice on the Great Lakes this winter and what’s left is melting. The average ice extent on the Great Lakes is 3.3%, with only 1.5% ice cover on Lake Michigan, which is in Green Bay, Little Traverse Bay and up by the Mackinac Bridge.
Also: Lake Michigan to set March record high water level. Walleye numbers in the stratosphere. Take a virtual Great Lakes vacation. Michigan bans spreading manure in winter. Mayor closes lakefront. Diving for trash. Museums and aquariums offer online activities. This seems biblical. A) Upstream, yeah – downstream, not so much. Streaming Great Lakes videos. Shipping season underway. He caught the fish of a lifetime. Buoys will be out soon. Bald eagle capital of the world! Alternatives to road salt. Daily STEM videos. Despite pandemic, business booms along Lake Michigan shoreline. DNR waives state park entrance fees. Not all beaches on Lake Michigan are eroding. Films move online. Michigan googletrekker.
Also: Pretty Alabama sunset.
Michigan now has a new official 24 hour rainfall record at the aptly-named town of Fountain last July 20.
The tornado that hit Jonesboro, Arkansas Saturday late afternoon has been rated EF3 with winds of 140 mph. It was moving at 47 mph and was on the ground for 16 minutes. It was relatively wide at 600 yards. A football field is 100 yards long from goal line to goal line…so you can imaging how wide the circulation was. There were 22 injuries, most minor. The fact that stores were closed and many people had advance warning of the storm certainly reduced casualties. Many people sheltered on the lowest floor in bathrooms and closets. Damage will go into the tens of millions of dollars and clean-up will be more difficult with the coronavirus rules in place.
Look at the size of the tornado…you can see debris high in the air. This image is 45 SECONDS after the funnel condensed and visibly “touched down.” Amazing how quickly this ramped up to EF3.
Also – look a this zoomed-in satellite loop centered over Iowa Sat. PM. These thunderstorms produced several tornadoes, large hail and damaging wind. You can see the lightning flashes from space, even in the daytime. Damage pics. from the Jonesburo tornado. A wind gust of 74 mph was recorded at the Jonesburo Airport before the equipment failed. This was the strongest tornado in Arkansas since 2014. The Jackson Co. Tornado was rated EF1 with winds of 110 mph.
Looks like March goes out like a lion in the Southeast, where there is a threat of severe thunderstorms, especially in that yellow Slight Risk Area across S. Alabama and S. Georgia.
Also: Snow in France. Did UK coronavirus deaths peak on Friday? Also, note there is a distinction of dying “with” the virus and dying “from” the virus. Might be just a formality for a death certificate. 2 x 4 came thru wall during Jonesburo tornado. NWS summary of the Jonesboro tornado. Did you knowo there were waterfalls in Alabama. Waterfalls in Hawaii. Beautiful pic. of the Big Dipper. More than 2 feet of snow for the Western mountains. Pretty blossoms in Alabama.
Up top, there’s a list of peak wind gusts Sunday. We’ve had a Lakeshore Flood Advisory for Oceana County south to the Indiana border. We also had a Wind Advisory in effect. The wind died down a little overnight, but the wind will still be NW at around 10-15 mph today (Mon.) We also had Gale Warnings for Lake Michigan from Pentwater south for waves of 6-10 feet.
Check the current observations to see the current temperature and wind. The wind wasn’t that strong north of US 10, so no Wind Advisory for N. Lower Michigan and just Small Craft Advisories north of Pentwater. This was the G.R. NWS graphic on the lakeshore weather:
There were (mostly light) rain showers Sunday into Sunday night with rainfall amounts under 1/4″. Rainfall during the day Saturday totaled 2.25″ at Jackson, 1.51″ at Muskegon, 1.44″ at Lansing, 1.41″ at Battle Creek, 1.33″ in Grand Rapids and 1.01″ at Kalamazoo. All stations that keep records set daily records for rainfall for March 28. Here’s G.R. radar and regional radar:
Go to: Most Recent Image
Also: There’s still snow on the ground in the U.P. and lots of it in places. Here’s some snow cover reports from Saturday: 40″ Painesdale, 33″ Munising, 29″ Hancock, 27″ Marquette, 15″ S. Ste. Marie. Flooding in Cleveland. Now this is just too close! Tokyo gets heaviest late March snow in 32 years. Record coldest March ever at Vostok, Antarctica – average temp. -103.4 degrees! Another video of the Jonesboro twister. The tornado hit the Jonesboro Airport…very significant damage there…weather station stopped reporting when the tornado came through…so either it’s destroyed or there’s no power to transmit the observations. Spiked hail. Frost damage in Italy. More tornado video.
And: Why The Flu Virus Is More Infectious In Cold Winter Temperatures. CDC offers the following
• Mosquitoes and ticks can’t spread all types of viruses.
• At this time, we have no data to suggest that COVID-19 or other similar coronaviruses (e.g. SARS, MERS) are spread by mosquitoes or ticks.
• For a virus to pass to a person through a mosquito or tick bite, the virus must be able to replicate inside the mosquito or tick.
There were at least 17 tornadoes Sat./Sat. night in at least five states (IL, IA, MO, AR, WI). The worst tornado was at Jonesboro AR. Fortunately, they had plenty of warning. This was the tornado watch that was issued for most of Arkansas. It looks to me like this was issued more than 3 hours before the tornado hit Jonesburo. It was also fortunate that many businesses were closed and people were off the streets and home, where they were safer. There were six injured, none seriously. Below is the Tornado Watch, with the storms still well west of Jonesboro.
Besides the tornadoes, we had wind gusts to 75 mph at Fulton IL and at Wright-Patterson Field in Ohio. Spottsville KY had a 90 mph wind. There were nearly 90 reports of severe hail, including 9 that were 2″ in diameter or greater. After the overnight showers and t-storms, we’ll get a break for a few hours, then more showers move in as the wind ramps up to 20-30 mph, with gusts to 40 mph. Here’s regional radar:
Go to: Most Recent Image
Here’s video of the Jonesburo tornado. Another pic. of the damage at the Post Office in Jonesboro. Video of damage at the Jonesboro Airport. Video of the tornado – a big one. Whole buildings are destroyed. Video of the tornado from DOT camera. 2nd flood of these homes blown away, always get down to the lowest flow during a tornado warning. Video – close call – lots of debris in the air. More video here. Near Waterloo Iowa…rainbow in the distance, so the camera is facing east. Can’t tell from a still picture if that’s rotating.
The pic. above is downtown Wilmette, Illiinois the day after the first Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak. Today is the 100th anniversary of that dreadful day. I lived in Wilmette from age 4 to age 18. I stood on the corner where this picture was taken dozens of times. That’s the city hall to the left in the picture. The tornado made headlines across this U.S.
GEORGE MIX, a watchman at a railroad crossing in Wilmette, was severely injured when the storm lifted his shanty and rolled it for more than three blocks, carrying him as a prisoner. JAMES IRVING and his son and daughter were blown into an abandoned basement 50 feet away when the storm destroyed a small portable house in which they were eating dinner.One half of the roof of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church at Wilmette was carried more than three blocks by the wind. The parsonage was not damaged. Tulsa Daily World, Tulsa, OK 29 Mar 1920
“Wilmette’s two main streets are a wreck today.” said one witness. “The cyclone took everything in its path. Horses, men, women and children were pushed or blown out of the way. There wasn’t a building which didn’t suffer. “The storm went past three churches. The roof of one church was blown in and the other two untouched. Beautiful trees in front of the churches were uprooted and swept for some distance.” The Fort Wayne News And Sentinel, Ft Wayne, IN 29 Mar 1920
The tornado was the first to strike Chicago since 1896, according to Henry J. Fox, weather forecaster for Chicago. The disturbance was a tornado, and not a cyclone, he said, asserting that the peculiar path was characteristic of a tornado. The path was just south of Chicago, ending in Evanston and Wilmette, adjoining Chicago on the shore of Lake Michigan. A swath 200 yardswide was torn through the main part of Wilmette and property damage was estimated at near a half a million (1920 dollars). Among the buildings damaged were the town hall and the Episcopal Church. The Idaho Daily Statesman, Boise, ID 29 Mar 1920
This is the weather map from 100 years ago, on 3 20 10. You can see a deep low pressure center back toward Iowa, with warm, moist air flowing from the Gulf of Mexico up into Illinois and SW Michigan.
This tornado was rated F4 and had a nearly continues damage path of 53 miles (longer as a waterspout over Lake Michigan). The tornado resulted in 20 fatalities and 300 injuries in the Chicago area. The tornado was 200 yards wide as it went through downtown Wilmette and was moving at an estimated 60 mph.
This was one of 37 tornadoes that day, with 30 of them rated “significant”. There were 380 fatalities, including 201 in Georgia, 56 in Indiana and 55 in Ohio. There were also 1,215 injuries. There were 8 F4 rated tornadoes and significant tornadoes struck 8 states, including Michigan, which had 12 tornadoes (four of them with fatalities).
The most famous Palm Sunday tornado outbreak was on April 11, 1965. This was the first Palm Sunday tornado outbreak.
Sat. Late AM Update: The words above are from the Forecast Discussion of the Storm Prediction Center.
Storm chasers will be converging on northern Illinois this PM. There is a Moderate Risk Area (in red) for parts of Illinois. Surrounding that, there is an Enhanced Risk Area (in orange) that comes up to Lake Michigan. The Slight Risk Area (in yellow) comes up into S. Lower Michigan – generally south of a line from Holland to Toledo. The Marginal Risk Area (in dark green) now covers areas south of a line from Manistee to Houghton Lake.
A severe-weather outbreak weather is expected for portions of the Midwest this afternoon and evening. A few long-tracked, significant tornadoes are possible, along with large, damaging hail and severe gusts.
…SPC says: “A potentially potent severe weather setup as ingredients needed for this are appearing to favorably align on Saturday… Storms may continue well into the evening across parts of the OH Valley/southern Great Lakes posing a severe risk.”
We’re only in the Slight and Marginal Risk Areas here in W. Michigan. The best chance of severe weather Saturday will be southwest of Michigan. We haven’t had severe weather in a long time (not much last year), so it’s time to think about a severe weather plan. This year, with the coronavirus sheltering, you’ll have to think about not just where, but who you will be sheltering with.
If you’re in a big box store or supermarket, there may be a designated area where shoppers and store employees go during a tornado warning. However, putting dozens of shoppers and store staff in a relatively small shelter has the added risk of virus transmission right now. The best plan is for you not to be there in the first place. Stay home during a tornado watch if you have a suitable shelter. If you’re home does not have a suitable shelter, think about moving to a place where there is a suitable shelter before the storm. The underground parking areas in the city are very good tornado shelters (stay away from the entrances/exits). Idea: Make the underground parking areas free during a tornado watch – events have been canceled this year – there would be no wait to exchange money or to put credit cards into a machine. Tornado watches are rare. Most of West Michigan didn’t get a tornado watch all last year (Berrien and Cass Counties had one tornado watch).
I think we’ll have a more active severe weather season this year in both Michigan and the U.S. This outlook area will be updated later today and again Saturday AM and (if I’m up), I’ll update this blog thread when that happens. I’ve set up shop in my basement, and my house actually has a real tornado shelter (with a foot of concrete on top of it), so I should be able to blog and do facebook and twitter during a storm (as long as my internet connection is good).
This map shows the probability of a tornado within 25 miles of a given point…it’s over 15% in the red area in Illinois. The 5% risk runs essentially south of I-94 and the 2% risk is south of a line from Saugatuck to Detroit. So, the chance of a tornado within 25 miles is less than 2% for Holland, Grand Rapids, Lansing and points to the north.
This is the probability of a severe hail report within 25 miles of a given point. Note it’s a relatively high 30% all the way up through the Chicago area. The 15% severe hail probability comes up to Benton Harbor, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and Hillsdale.
Here’s the Storm Reports from Friday…there were 95 reports of severe hail – 27 of them were hail from 2- 3.5″ in diameter. If you look at the map, there were two supercell hail-producing storms that moved SW to NE across OK and MO. There were no reported tornadoes and no reports of wind damage…just two gigantic thunderstorms that produced long swaths of hail damage.
Again, we’re only in the Slight and Marginal Risk Areas Sat. PM in southern Lower Michigan. The threat is greater across N. Illinois, but it certainly bears watching. Here’s radar:
Go to: Most Recent Image
ALSO: Bear sighting in Walker at the Blueberry Valley Condo Complex, off Walker NW north of Richmond NW. Snow falling in the mountains just east of San Diego. Snowing as I write this on the webcam at Julian CA. Hail up to dime-size at Vista CA. Lightning at El Cajon CA. Record heat in the South. Funnel clouds were spotted near San Clemente CA.
When I do the weather in the studio, I stand in front of a “green wall”. If I turn around, all I see is a solid green wall.
Here’s a picture of Terri DeBoer standing in front of our green wall. It’s lit from behind (so I don’t look green).
We do a trick called “chroma-key”. We make the weather maps show up wherever there is the color green. I look off to the side at a TV to see what’s behind me and to know where to point on the map. So, I can’t wear anything green. If I wore a green coat, the map would also show up where my coat was…so you’d see my head floating around in the middle of the map.
Here’s an example of me standing at the green wall. The map shows wherever it’s green. I’n not looking at the map. I’m looking at a TV off to the side, which shows what you are seeing here…the on-air video with the weather map. That’s how I know where to point.
Now that I’m doing weathercasts from my basement at home, I’m not using the green wall. So, I can wear something green. Because I have to work with a green screen, I really don’t have green clothes for TV….but…
…I do have a green tie. I’ve had this tie for decades – going all the way back to when we used a “blue screen” back in the 80s. It’s a nice tie, with shamrocks. A couple times, I did the main weather at 6 pm or 11 pm on St. Patrick’s Day and raced from the studio back to the weather office to change into this tie for the 4-shot end of the news.
So, don’t be surprised if I wear this tie again while I’m doing the weather shows from the basement. P.S. – thanks to my wife for cleaning up the basement today.
Wednesday a photographer came to my house and set me up to broadcast from my basement, while I’m waiting out the coronavirus. I’ll be contributing during some of the newscasts from home. I didn’t have much time to clean up the room. Just to the right of my head, there’s a spray bottle of (dog and) cat stopper. There’s also a pic. of me from my senior year in college (had the ‘stache back then). To the left, there’s a table that has Christmas cards on it. They never got put away after my mother passed away in December and we were in Tennessee for 3 weeks.
My daughter #1 is a waitress/bartender at Fred’s (Plainfield NE). Most of the wait staff is off work while restaurant’s are closed. They heard I was stuck at home, so they sent over pizza!
…including in the shape of a sunshine! Very much appreciated!
A Fog Advisory was issued for the Mackinac Bridge during the night. Here’s a pic. from shortly after 11 pm. Note…no vehicles. Also, how’d you like to drive up into that dark fog bank. Fog is most apt to form over the ice that remains in the strait at this time of year.
Here’s the view looking south from the U.P. side…looks pretty empty.
Here’s the Lake Michigan satellite picture from Wed. PM. We were lucky to see some sunshine. That helped boost the temperature from an early AM low of 27 to an afternoon high of 56.
Take a look at this satellite loop of Southern Lake Michigan from Wed. PM. There is a fog bank over Lake Michigan. The wind at the surface was from the south, so the cloud bank was moving from south to north. Higher up, the wind was from the west, so clouds at that level were moving from west to east (left ot right).
The Lake Erie satellite pic. (above) is interesting. You can see the brown water coming out of the Maumee River at the far west edge of the lake. You can see “cloud streets” south of the lake, with no cumulus clouds over the cooler lake, but clouds over the warmer inland areas.
This is the Severe Weather Outlook Map for Saturday 3 28. There is a chance of a non-severe t-shower over most of Lower Michigan. The Marginal Risk Area (dark green) comes up into SW Lake Michigan and there is a Slight Risk (in yellow) in Illinois. The main threat would be isolated strong winds. On Sunday, we could see general wind gusts of 30-40 mph as cooler air moves back into Lower Michigan.
Up at the Barrow AK airport, daylight is expanding at a very rapid rate. Today there will be 9 minutes and 25 seconds more daylight than yesterday. Solar noon is at 2:32 pm and the sun at solar noon is still lower in the sky than it is in Grand Rapids on the Winter Solstice. You can see the ragged, deep ice in the Arctic Ocean. Barrow had a high temp. of -3F on Wednesday.
I’m seeing more boats on the webcams. There have been fishermen on the Grand River for several weeks. When the weather cooperates, we’re seeing people fishing at Lake Michigan. In the above pic. from Wed., there are two boats in the channel.
Here’s South Haven Wed. – again two boats. It was cooler at the lake. The high temperature was 58° in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo on Wed., but it was only 42° at the Muskegon Beach. However, at South Haven – the high temperature for the day as of 5 pm was just 41°. Then the wind shifted from off the water to SE off the land, and the temperature rose from 41° to 52° by 11 pm.
Here’s the G.R. NWS graphic for the next four days. Most of today will be dry for most of the area. It’ll be windy on Sunday.
This is forecast rainfall from the N. Indiana NWS – looks like a real soaker for much of S. Lower MI, Illnois, Indiana and Ohio.
The Saturday storm is likely to produce a rain/snow mix in the Western U.P. were some accumulations are possible.
Also: Empty Chicago. Snow in Italy. Rectangle (mirage) sunset at Lake Michigan. Snow in the CA mtns. Pretty sunrise Thu. AM in the U.K. Krusevac, Serbia From 23.4 °C on Saturday to -1.8 °C Today AND 22 cm of fresh snow. The official high of 89 degrees at New Orleans International Airport yesterday broke the record for the date by 5 degrees. It also tied the all time record high for March at the airport. The previous time was March 18th 1982. Talk about driving into a dark cloud. Bats on radar. The boating season has begun on Lake Michigan. Utah snow squall. Ring around the sun.