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I won't get a final snow total in until later this evening, but it looks like Grand Rapids added 2.7" of snow, bringing the season total up to 42". We had only had 9.4" to this point last winter. We're just a little below average now for the season,
The next general area of snow moves in Monday morning. It'll be a general 1-3" over the area with some lakeshore areas getting 4". Look for snow-covered and occasionally slippery roads on Monday. This system will bring in a fresh batch of cold Canadian area.
Snow showers are possible Tuesday and the next general snow looks like it'll move in Thursday with another 1-4" possible. The colder than average pattern looks like it will last the rest of January and into the first week of February.
SNOW ON THE GROUND SUNDAY: West Michigan: 10" Hart, 6" Grandville, East Grand Rapids, 5" Grand Rapids, Holland, Hastings, Big Rapids, Fremont, 3" Muskegon, Ionia, 2" Lansing, Marshall.
Northern Lower Michigan: 17" Charlevoix, 12" E. Jordan, 11" Fife Lake, 10" Gaylord and Traverse City, 9" Benzonia and Kingsley, 8" Harbor Springs, Grayling, 7" Alpena, 6" Beulah, Detour Village, Glennie, Mio and Petoskey, 4" Luzerne, Houghton Lake and E. Tawas, 2" Standish, 1" Tawas City.
East Michigan: 3" Saginaw, 1" Detroit, Flint Ann Arbor Indiana; 4" S. Bend, 1" Fort Wayne
Upper Michigan: 36" Painesdale, 31" Grand Marais, 29" Munising, 27" S. Ste. Marie, 24" Hancock, 23" Houghton and Herman, 21" Dollar Bay, 18" Ishpeming, 17" Marquette, Jacobsville, 15" Watton, Michigamme, Sawyer, 14" Paulding, Rapid River, 13' Ironwood and Watersmeet, 12" Norway, 11" Manistique, 8" Green Garden
35.4% of the contiguous U.S. has a snow cover this Sunday.
The falcon was back on our Riverhouse camera this Sunday AM.
Winter Weather Advisories are in effect for Allegan, Van Buren and Kalamazoo Counties until 9 am and for Berrien, Cass and St. Joseph Counties and much of northern Indiana until 1 pm. Snow will accumulate up to 2-4" in the Advisory Counties and less than 2" along and north of I-96. Roads will become snow-covered and slippery. Much of the snow will fall over about a 8-hour period from 1 am to 9 am. A band of lake-effect snow will form over mid-lake moving down into northern Indiana by mid -morning. That band will slow shift east during the midday and afternoon, bringing another period of snow to the lakeshore (mainly south of Holland). That band will weaken to flurries as it moves inland.
Here's a map showing the Advisories in SW Michigan, N. Indiana and NW Ohio.
There are also Small Craft Advisories out for Lake Michigan this morning for wind gusts to 20-30 mph and waves as high as 4-8 feet. The Muskegon Airport had a couple gusts to 40 mph this Sat. AM.
We'll see snow showers tomorrow and accumulating snow on Monday, when another 1-4" of snow is possible. A few lake-effect snow showers are likely on Tuesday. Then we'll see another round of light accumulating snow on Thursday.
Here's season snowfall through 1/22. Grand Rapids tops the list with nearly 40" - about 5" below average. The lakeshore has had a bit less because we had several snow events with strong winds that blew the heavier lake-effect snow showers inland to US 131.
Sparta reported 2-3" of new snow Saturday morning, with 1-2" in Comstock Park.
Here's U.S. snow cover as of 7 am Sat. 1/22. Note the lack of snow on the ground in southeast Michigan.
Lansing got to see a few minutes of sunshine Saturday morning before the clouds moved in - some light snow today in Lansing, but not much.
ALSO: (unrelated to weather, but interesting): The history of the ballpoint pen. I'll add one more interesting fact to this story...When Marcel Bich launched the sale of his ballpoint pen in the United States and England, he dropped the "h" from his name for the obvious reason. So, we have Bic Pens in the U.S. I'm old enough to remember having fountain pens in my early elementary. Many people back then (including my father) had excellent cursive writing. Side note: Mrs. Kooi, retired from Grand Haven Lutheran School had/has the best cursive writing I've seen.
AND: Snow in South Carolina. Snow in Virginia. Over 5" in Norfolk. Caribou, Maine has tied the daily record low temperature of -27F Saturday AM, set in 1984. OTD IN 1904: An estimated F4 tornado leveled the northern part of Moundville AL just after midnight, killing 37. An engineer on a northbound Great Southern train saw the destruction and backed his train 12 miles in reverse to the town of Akron, where he sent a telegram for help. Hard Freeze Warnings all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. "Ice sickles" and sleet on the beach in North Carolina. Sunrise through the ore dock at Marquette Friday AM - this only happens twice a year and it's cloudy there more often than not. -30F this AM at Canaan Valley W. VA.
December was warmer than average in the Great Lakes - 4.1 degrees warmer than average in Grand Rapids - so ice was slow to form on the Great Lakes during early winter. The pattern has turned colder in January and ice has been forming. The average temperature from January 1-21 was 3.4 degrees colder than average in Grand Rapids.
The Great Lakes as a whole now has a 21,9% ice extent. For the individual lakes, Lake Superior (the deepest lake and sometimes the lake with the least ice extent, despite the fact that it's farther north) is at 12.5%. Lake Michigan has a 20.2% ice cover. Most of that is in Green Bay and between the Mackinac Bridge and Beaver Island. Lake Huron at 36.3% has the greatest ice extent of any of the lakes. Lake Erie is at 33.4% and Lake Ontario at just 8.1%. The lakes had significant ice growth on Friday due to light winds and calm conditions with high pressure overhead.
Low temperatures Friday AM included -32 at Stonington, -28 at Randville, -24 at Iron Mt. It wasn't as cold at Isle Royale National Park. The island was surrounded by open water the the low temp. was +2 at Windigo.
Most inland lakes are ice covered. A few of the deep lakes (like Torch Lake) still have some open water. Remember, you need 3-4" of solid ice to be able to safely walk out on the lakes.
The water level of the Great Lakes as a whole continues to drop. Lake Superior is down 3" in the last month (temps. have been below freezing, so snowfall remains as snow on the ground without melting and going into the rivers). Superior is down a full 11" in the last year an is now (drum roll) four inches BELOW the average January level. It's fallen 19 inches since the record high January level set two years ago.
Lake Michigan/Huron (one big lake for lake level purposes) is down 5" in the last month (no significant rain events) and down (louder drum roll) 21" in the last year. The level is still 10" above the January average, but down a whopping 28" since the January highest level set just two years ago. We've had 3 days this month with wind gusts of 40-50 mph and the reduced lake level has caused much less beach erosion and lakeshore flooding than would have occurred if the level was as high as it was two years ago.
Lake Erie is down 1" in the last month and down 5" in the last year. The lake is 20" above the January average, but 13" below the highest January level set in 1987. Lake Ontario is unchanged in the last month, up 11" in the last month and is now 12" above the January average. The Lake is 11" lower than the highest January level reached in 1947.
Great Lakes river flow levels are mostly at or below average flow for late January. The Muskegon River at Croton has a flow of 1,630 cfs, compared to an average flow of 1,960 cfs. The Kalamazoo River at Comstock has a blow of 858 cfs, very closes to the average of 842 cfs. The St Joseph River at Niles has a flow of 3,600 cfs, compared to an average flow of 3,420 cfs. The Thornapple River at Hastings has a flow of 190 cfs, compared to an average flow of 253 cfs.
The Saginaw River at Saginaw has a flow of 2,730 cfs. Average flow is 3,600 cfs. The Fox River at Green Bay, Wisconsin has a flow of 2,490 cfs, compared to an average flow of 4,069 cfs.
We're right at the mid-point of winter (temperature-wise). The average high/low is now 31/18 for Grand Rapids. Average high temperatures reach the mid-upper 30s by the end of February and the low 50s by the end of March.
The second half of winter is the brighter half. Our percent of possible sunshine goes up a little each month now, until we reach a peak in July...and the amount of daylight we receive is increasing. At the Winter Solstice, Grand Rapids receives 9 hours and 30 seconds of daylight. Today (Thu.) we're up to 9 hours and 32 minutes. By Feb. 1, the length of day in G.R. is 9 hours and 58 minutes. On Feb. 15, we get 10 hours and 34 minutes of daylight and by March 1, we're up to 11 hours and 14 minutes. Temperatures lag the position of the sun by around one month.
I've been putting this graphic on the blog a lot, because I think it's been right and has a good handle on long-range weather. This is the 8-14 Day Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center for Jan. 27 - Feb. 2. Once again, it has the Great Lakes and West Michigan "in the blue" - meaning a good chance of cooler than average weather. I think the next couple weeks may turn out to the the coldest 2 or 3-week period of the winter, with temperatures moderating a bit around mid-February. I think this late-winter/spring will be an active period for severe weather...starting in the South. More on that at a later date.
There's a Winter Weather Advisory for the southern tip of Texas. The freezing rain and sleet will extend across the Rio Grande River into Mexico.
A massive M5.5-class solar flare occurred on the sun (right side of the solar image above) yesterday. It probably produced a coronal mass ejection. Sometimes these can produce an uptick in the Aurora Borealis. You can check www.spaceweather.com for updates. As I type this, the sunspot count is 57.
ALSO: The one day it snowed in Miami FL. That day the low temp. was 1 in Atlanta, 18 in Houston and 19 in New Orleans. It's a cold day in Japan with 74% of all the weather stations  below 0°C (32/F) at 7 am. The coldest station was Shumarinai at -17.8F. Heavy snow was falling on the coast of the island of Honshu. The first relief flights have landed in Tonga. Volcanic ash had to be cleared from the airport. January may end with no significant rainfall in California. Heavy snow will fall in NC and VA. Heavy snowfall in Syria. Frost flowers in Illinois. Double rainbow. Lake-effect clouds in S. Dakota. On Feb. 9, 1963, at Mile 47 Camp in Alaska, 78 inches of snow fell in just 24 hours. That's a U.S. record 24 hour snowfall. Halo and sundogs. Almost all of the snow at the Winter Olympics in China will be artificially made from 50 million gallons of water. Canada is the world’s coldest country@ -5.35C. Russia is #2.
A Winter Weather Advisory continues for the lakeshore counties. The Advisory will be in effect until 4 pm Thursday.
These Advisories are issued by county. The significant snow will likely be mostly in Western Mason and Western Oceana Counties (Big and Little Sable Points) and also from South Haven south into Berrien Co. Porter and La Porte Counties in Indiana are in the Advisory will likely also see some significant snow.
Winter Weather Advisories are also out for NW Lower Michigan (Wexford, Grand Traverse, Missaukee, Kalkaska, Presque Isle, N. Schoolcraft, Luce and Alger Counties. Northern Counties should see 2-4" of new snow.
The band of snow over E. Lake Michigan should come east enough to produce slippery conditions at least as far east as US 31 - but don't look for a lot of snow in the eastern part of the lakeshore counties (Marne, Dorr, etc.)
Those areas that get the significant snow could see 3-6" along with some drifting. East toward US 131, it'll be more like a trace to 1" - but enough that there may be some isolated slick spots developing. The most snow may be in Berrien Co.
Expected snowfall amounts for SW Michigan and NW Indiana.
Temperatures fell through the day Wednesday. We reached 42° around 2 am in G.R. - the first time we've hit 40° since Christmas Day. It'll be down to 20° by evening.
The relatively warmer air overnight is just a speed bump in what is and will continue to be a relatively cold month. Long-range models continue to give the Great Lakes below average temperatures for the next 10-14 days. We remain pretty much out of the major storm track, but should continue to get occasional lake-effect snow the rest of the month.
This is the latest 8-14 day temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center. It continues to give cooler than average weather to the Great Lakes through Feb. 2.
There is a Slight Risk of severe thunderstorms tonight (Wed. night) from E. Texas into Louisiana. The Marginal Risk extends through much of Mississippi. Large hail up to 2" in diameter fell in E. Texas this PM. Another ice storms is likely from Georgia up into the Carolinas.
Also: Beautiful sunrise this AM in Kent, England. NASA estimated the explosive eruption of the Tonga volcano, at 10 megatons of TNT, or 500 times more powerful than the Hiroshima nuclear bomb. Sunset in Sunnyside FL. Moon dogs. More communication satellites launched into space. The lowest wind chill factor ever in Chicago was -82 on Christmas Eve in 1983. That year, Santa started his busy night with a stop in Cedar Springs, where he bought two pair of red flannels. Interesting map showing the pressure wave crossing the U.S. from the Tonga Volcano. Dramatic flooding in Uruguay.
As of Monday PM, Great Lakes surface ice extent was at 14.3%. Lake Michigan ice cover was 14.8%. Lake Huron had the highest percentage of ice cover at 26.8% and Lake Superior had the least at 5.3%.
It may seem strange that Lake Superior has the least amount of ice extent. Whether the Great Lakes or smaller inland lakes - the deeper the lake, the longer it will take to form ice cover (other factors equal). Lake Erie's deepest point is 210 feet, while the deepest point in Lake Superior is 1,333 feet - more than six times the deepest point in Lake Erie.
Wind also plays a factor. The ice extent goes up and down as strong winds act to break up surface ice. There's also the factor of ships breaking up the ice. If you go to www.marinetraffic.com you can see that while shipping has taken a winter pause on Lake Superior, we still have ships out on the other Great Lakes...not as many as summer, but some ships continue moving cargo in winter as long as they can get into ports.
Here's a graph that shows the maximum ice extent each year on the Great Lakes as a whole. It starts with the start of frequent satellite images in 1973. The average maximum ice extent is 53.1%, though there are significant fluctuations from year-to-year.
You can see the period of cold winters and high ice extent we had from 1977 - 1982 and the period of milder winters from 1998 - 2002.
Maximum ice extent usually occurs between mid-February and early March. Last year we reached 45.8%, just a little below average. We had La Nina last year and we have a similar La Nina this year, so we'll see if maximum extent is similar to last year.
There is a Gale Warning for Lake Michigan from 4 pm this (Tue.) to 7 am Wed. Beginning at 7 am tomorrow, we'll have small craft advisories.
The above pic. of one of the tornadoes was captured by a law enforcement officer near Naples, Florida Sunday morning. Here's what the Storm Prediction Center writes about the twisters:
There were 3 injuries with the Punta Rassa Tornado in Lee County. This is by Fort Myers. Here's details on that tornado, which has been rated EF2:
30 mobile homes destroyed, 51 with major damage and yet, no fatalities and only 3 injuries. That tells me people heeded the warnings and found more suitable shelter. There is video on YouTube, but I have not confirmed if this is from the Sunday AM tornado. Cool to watch, but too often video from past storms is posted as video from current storms.
The second of the 3 confirmed tornadoes was an EF1 with winds of 110 mph, damaging 35 homes, but causing no injuries. The tornado was over land for 1.4 miles, but was a waterspout for a distance before moving on land.
Here is the summary of the 3rd confirmed tornado. This was a high-end EF0 that was on the ground for approximately 2 miles. These tornadoes last just a few minutes. It's not easy to get a warning out in time for people to take action. That's why people have to pay attention and take action when there is a Watch in effect. Know your safe place to be. Many of these mobile home communities have a safe building were residents can go when there is the possibility of a tornado or strong winds.
A semi was tipped over on I-75. One of the Collier Co. tornadoes crossed the expressway.
There were 7 reports of thunderstorm wind damage in the Florida Peninsula Sunday morning, including a 78 mph recorded gust on Virginia Key. Wind gusts of 54 mph were recorded at St. Petersburg and at Siesta Key.
Two men in their 70s were rescued from a 42-foot long sailboat, over 50 miles off the Florida Coast Saturday evening. Video shows a Coast Guard crew hoisting a 72-year-old and a 77-year-old to safety aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter. The Coast Guard reported 34 mph winds and 10-foot seas at the time of the rescue. Coast Guard Lt. Jonathan Ray said: "...it’s fortunate we arrived on scene when we did, because the weather was getting worse by the minute.” When seas calm, a salvage company will search for and retrieve the sailboat.
The storm that missed Michigan produced heavy snow and freezing rain that impeded travel. The airport in Des Moines IA was closed for a while, after they received 11.4" of new snow. Harrison, Arkansas had 10" of snow.
Also: The first 16 days of January were 4.2 degrees colder
We had 100% sunshine on Saturday. I did an unofficial, preliminary look back through the records here at WOOD and I counted only 14 days since 1979 when we had 100% sunshine of a day in January in Grand Rapids. That's about one 100% sunshine day every 3 years.
Grand Rapids had 88% sunshine on Sunday (some high clouds came in during the late afternoon. The average wind speed on Sunday was just 3.5 mph.
We've seen a relatively fair amount of sunshine so far this month. Sunday we had sunshine up until about mid-afternoon in G.R.. We're up to 41% sunshine for the month. That's well above the 26% average sunshine for January. We've had more than 50% sunshine on 9 of the first 16 days of January 2022 and we've only had 5 days with 0% sunshine.
The days are getting longer. We have gained 24 minutes of daylight since the Winter Solstice occurred back on Dec. 21. All of that gain has been in the evening. The sunrise on 12/21 was at 8:10 am and the sunrise today (Sun.) is also at 8:10 am. Today (Sunday) we'll see 1 minute and 42 seconds more daylight than yesterday and that change will increase to 2 minutes on Jan. 22.
The sun is at solar noon at 12:52 pm, when it's 26 degrees above the southern horizon. That's up from 24 degrees back on the Winter Solstice.
The moon is 98% full this Sunday evening. It's called a waxing (that means we're seeing a higher percent of the moon on each successive night) gibbous (that means the moon is between a half moon and a full moon) moon. When the moon is near the full phase in winter, the moon climbs high overhead. The full moon of January is called the Wolf Moon.
Lots of people out enjoying winter sports this weekend. Check out the Michigan ski resort conditions here. After getting 19" of snow in the first 6 days of the month, we have now gone 10 days without measurable snowfall (8 of those 10 days had a trace of snow).
Here's the Lake Michigan satellite picture from Saturday afternoon. It's sunny with snow on he ground in West Michigan - Gull Lake still has open water. It's a relatively deep lake (110 feet). You can tell from the picture that this is winter and the wind is northeast. Lake-effect clouds are forming and moving southeast into Wisconsin and northeast Illinois.
Here's all five Great Lakes. The northeast winds was bringing lake-effect clouds off Lake Huron into northeast Lower Michigan. You can see lake-effect clouds over the other Great Lakes. Lake St. Clair and the west part of Lake Erie have an ice cover - no clouds there. There seems to be an eddy in the clouds on the west side of Lake Superior. Great Lakes ice cover was up to 14.7% on Saturday.
ALSO: The pressure "ripple" from the immense volcanic eruption in the Western Pacific has traveled around the world. "The volcanic plume generated record amounts of lightning before producing a blast heard thousands of miles away." Could it snow on the Gulf of Mexico beaches in Florida? 14.3" of snow fell in Des Moines, Iowa. Beautiful snow in Colorado. USDA says 2021 US soybean crop was the biggest on record. Tsunami at Santa Cruz CA. Water draining out of Ventura CA harbor.
This image shows one of the most significant volcanic explosions ever seen from space. This is the Hunga Tonga volcano in the small island nation of Tonga in the Western Pacific. Check out these links: Video of tsunami coming ashore in Tonga...enormous and far-reaching shock wave of the explosion seen from space...the explosion caused one island to sink and another to form...wider view of the eruption and shock wave...black as night in Tonga under the ash cloud - ash is falling like snow. Major volcanoes of Tonga. Colored satellite loop. Air pressure surges across New Zealand. Another satellite loop of the explosion.
This was issued by New Zealand Civil Defense: "We have issued a NATIONAL ADVISORY: TSUNAMI ACTIVITY following the Tongan eruption. We expect New Zealand coastal areas on the north and east coast of the North Island and the Chatham Islands to experience strong and unusual currents and unpredictable surges at the shore."
The eruption was accompanied by a strong earthquake, magnitude 7.6. "We’re hearing it in Tauranga, New Zealand! 2200 km (or 1300 miles for US folk) away. Unbelievable! Booming sounds and tremors felt in Figi.
The pressure wave came through Michigan (traveled around the world). You wouldn't notice this, but more sensitive instruments can pick up these waves. Tsunami at Santa Cruz CA.
A major volcanic eruption can change the weather. After the gigantic explosion of Mount Tambora in 1815, we had the "year without a summer" in 1816. There was a noticeable cooling of the earth from the eruption of Mt Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991. Water draining out of Ventura CA harbor.
ALSO: Threat of severe weather:
There will be a Marginal threat of severe weather this afternoon and for Saturday night along the Gulf Coast.
Sunday PM/night, there is a Marginal Risk of severe thunderstorms along the N. Carolina Coast and in the Florida Peninsula. Isolated wind damage is the greatest threat, but an isolated tornado is possible.
AND...a spoonful of liquid nitrogen in a pot of gasoline (don't try this at home).
Estimated snowfall this weekend: 4" Nashville TN, 12" Asheville NC. Accumulating snow down into N. Alabama and N. Georgia. Heavy snow in Des Moinies caused numerous accidents.
The Tug Plateau lies east (downwind) from Lake Ontario and this place can get some really heavy snowfalls. The recent snow event produced up to 30" of new snow. Note that the area with the heaviest snow is not right at the lakeshore, but is well inland. The plateau is an area of higher elevation, rising to around 2,100 feet above sea level on the east side of the plateau Air is forced to lift as it crosses the plateau and that extra lift can really enhance snowfall.
There are about 100,000 residents (a little over half the population of Grand Rapids) spread out over 2,100 square miles. The core Tug Hill area, covers at most 800 square miles (2,100 km2) within the larger legal region, is sparsely populated, containing just a few thousand full-time residents. Supposedly the area got its name from settlers having to tug their wagons to get them up the hills.
Snowfall rates can be up to several inches an hour and are sometimes accompanied by lightning and thunder. Annual snowfall here can top 200 inches. Up to 100" and 10 ft. drifts were reported from the Blizzard of '66. Check out this guy cleaning 30" of snow off his car. Video after a heavy snowfall. The plateau is home to the largest wind farm in New York. Here's another big snow event.
ALSO: A rain or snow shower is possible today. Late week/weekend snow will be mainly west and east of Michigan.
We'll turn a little colder, but we'll miss the heavier snow. Dramatic snow increase on Mt. Shasta. National High/Low temps for Tuesday January 11, 2022: 85 at Santa Ana, CA; -31 at Mount Washington, NH. Nice timelapse of clouds in Oregon. 40.9 ° C of provisional maximum at #BuenosAires , second highest value ever recorded in the Argentine capital and highest value of the last 60 years. Tornado video from Brazil. Mountaintop halo. 127 inches of snow in 10 days. Typhoon Tiffany.
We're in solar cycle 25. There are more sunspots now than forecast. From spaceweather: "We are definitely seeing the effects on the ground in the Arctic!" reports Chad Blakley of the Swedish tour guide service Lights over Lapland. "Auroras now are the best in years."