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A tornado that moved through northwest Minnesota Wednesday PM has been rated EF4 with winds of 170 mph. This is the 6th tornado to be rated EF4 this year in the U.S. The twister resulted in one fatality and 2 injuries.
This pic. is from the Grand Forks ND National Weather Service facebook page. They said that one home was completely leveled – lifted off the foundation and blown away.
Here’s what the NWS wrote: “A rapidly developing supercell thunderstorm produced a long-lived and deadly tornado that originally touched down in far northern Grant County (MN) as a weak tornado (EF-0 to EF-1), but then quickly intensified into a strong-to-violent tornado as it crossed into southern Otter Tail County (MN), near MP70 on Interstate 94. The tornado intensified to a strong tornado (EF-2 to EF-3) as it moved northeastward through southwestern St. Olaf Township and crossed Beebe Lake. It likely reached maximum EF-4 intensity after it crossed Highway 82 and destroyed a machine shop and yard on the downwind side. It then continued in a northeast direction and reached both maximum width and intensity as it moved into and across a rural homestead along 120th Street and into Blacken Lake. The tornado continued in a northeast direction producing mainly tree and cropland damages as it crossed CR117, north of Kvam Church. Video imagery and deep ground scour indicate that the tornado maintained its intensity as a strong-to-violent tornado even as it narrowed and eventually began to rope out near 325th Avenue, between 145th Street and CR12. The storm that produced this tornado continued eastward across southern Otter Tail County and may have produced one or more additional, but brief, tornadoes along its path.”
This is an interesting map. It shows the probability of a significant tornado on July. The darker orange indicates where the probabilities are greatest. There is a higher risk of a strong tornado in mid-July in Minnesota than in Kansas, Oklahoma or Texas. There is a higher chance of a significant tornado in Battle Creek or Jackson Michigan on July 11 than in Dallas TX or Oklahoma City OK.
This is the first day of the week that has not been declared a Clean Air Action Day. Something different today – some scattered showers and thundershowers and the possibility of some dangerous currents on Lake Michigan.
The National Weather service has posted a Beach Hazards Statement that runs from this afternoon through Saturday morning. It’s for Mason, Oceana, Muskegon, Ottawa, Allegan, Van Buren and Berrien Co. in Michigan and the Indiana counties that border Lake Michigan. Waves could increase to 15-30 knots with waves up to 3-6 feet. The NWS says:
* WHAT...High wave action, strong currents, and dangerous swimming conditions expected. Piers may be heavily swamped by waves. * WHERE...Mason, Oceana, Muskegon, Ottawa, Allegan and Van Buren counties. * WHEN...From Friday afternoon through Saturday morning. * IMPACTS...Strong currents can pull swimmers into deeper water and high waves can sweep people off piers. * ADDITIONAL DETAILS...The north side of north piers will be especially dangerous. This includes the pier at Holland State Park and the north beach in South Haven. Strong currents will occur near the piers.
SMALL CRAFT ADVISORIES WILL BE IN EFFECT FROM 11 AM EDT THIS MORNING THROUGH SATURDAY MORNING. The stronger wind and waves will likely knock down the lake water temperatures just a bit, as cooler water is mixed in from below the surface. : With the possibility of scattered showers or thundershowers, here's G.R. radar
and regional radar:
Go to: Loop of this image
We’ll be slightly cooler today and over the weekend, with daytime temperatures back closer to average in the low-mid 80s.
At 4:30 am, there were 6,450 Consumers Energy customers without power, including 2,051 in Kent County. Most of them were on the near northwest side of Grand Rapids.
Here’s storm reports from Thursday…no tornadoes, but a fair number of wind and hail reports. Here’s a list of storm reports from W. Michigan (tree down at Colfax and Taylor in G.R., some tree damage and hail in Byron Center and Cutlerville, including at the Tangers Mall), N. Michigan (hail and trees down in Montmorency Co. and E. Michigan (tree damage in Livingston and St. Clair. Counties.
Nationally, winds hit 87 mph near Maxwell NE and baseball-sized hail pelted Hermosa SD.
Also: 24-hour rainfall over the Midwest. I’ve had 3.61″ of rain in the last 24 hours at my house. The ground really soaked it in. Heavy rains continue to cause problems in Japan. Nice sunlit shower here. Ellen writes about algae blooms in W. Michigan. My daughter works here. The spinning clouds of Tropical Storm Fay. Pink sunset at a Minnesota lake. Pic. from an airplane of a t-storm over Denver. Thunderstorm with lightning. Strong wind and 1″ hail in this storm. Minnesota tornado from Wednesday. Nice lightning pic. Video of MN tornado. Comet Neowise. National High/Low temps for Thursday July 09: 114 at Death Valley, CA; 26 at Harbison Meadow, CO, Snider Basin, WY, Copper Basin, ID, Stanley, ID.
The rest of the summer should continue warmer than average. Rainfall is always quite variable in the summer, but overall, average rainfall is expected.
The first week of July was about as warm in Grand Rapids (avg. temp. 79.4°) as it was in Mobile, Alabama (79.8°). We had the sunniest June ever and the combination of above average sunshine, warmer than average temperatures and light winds has boosted water temperatures to near record level (on Tuesday, the surface water temp. reached 83° at the South Haven buoy and the surface water temp. of inland Reeds Lake reached 85°.
Rainfall has been below average in most areas since the start of meteorological summer on June 1. Grand Rapids has had 2.86″ of rain since 6/1 and that’s 1.74″ below average. Kalamazoo has had 2.22″ and that’s 2.07″ below average. Despite the below average rainfall, many rivers are still a touch above average flow. As I type this, the flow on the Grand River at Grand Rapids is at 2,930 cubic feet per second, compared to the average flow for 7/8 of 2,590 cfs. The radar pic. above is from the strong to severe thunderstorms that caused a significant amount of wind damage in S. Lower Michigan on June 10.
Also, despite the dry pattern, there is no significant drought in Michigan due to the cool and wet pattern we had for much of the spring. This map will be updated tomorrow (Thu. July 9). Much of the “Corn Belt” and the growing areas east of the Rockies have ample soil moisture. Many crops in the West (apples in Washington State, vegetables in California) are irrigated.
The graphic above is from the G.R. National Weather Service. When we have a warm winter, we are very likely to have an above average number of 90-degree days in the following summer. That’s what’s happening again this summer and this time Muskegon and the lakeshore is getting into the act – because of the warmer water of Lake Michigan and the light wind pattern keeping the lake-effect cooling west of the Muskegon Airport at times.
The number of 90-degree days in Grand Rapids varies quite a bit from year-to-year. The average is nine, but we’ve gone from none (1951 & 2014) to 37 (1988). This year we are up to 10, and I think we have a good shot at reaching 20 or more.
This is the latest map showing sea surface temperature anomaly (difference from average). Yellow, orange and red areas are warmer than average and blue areas are colder than average. Note the warmer than average water in the “hurricane belt” from Africa to Florida. This favors an above average number of hurricanes this summer and fall in the Atlantic/Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico.
Second, look at the plume of colder than average water temperatures along the Equator west of S. American (and west of Africa). Here the wind has increased, stirring up colder water from below the surface. This is called “La Nina”. Here’s what a typlical La Nina means for the following winter:
Just this much would lead you to think that next winter will be at least a little cooler and snowier than last winter in Lower Michigan. It’s too early to make a winter forecast. We usually do that in late October.
Here’s high temperatures from Tuesday. Most high temperatures were in the low-mid 90s with a few 80s close to Lake Michigan.
Muskegon reached 90° nine days in a row – that’s the longest consecutive streak of 90-degree days ever in the Port City. Muskegon only reached 89° on Wednesday. Grand Rapids is up to 7 consecutive days and should make 8 today (Thu.). The record for G.R. is 11 and that was way back in 1901. Kalamazoo has reached 9 days and their record is 14 in a row set back in 1964. We’ll be back in the low-mid 90s later today, except at Lake Michigan.
Most of West Michigan did not see any rain on Tuesday. There were thundershowers from Montcalm Co. (Entrican) to the Saginaw Area. Storm dropped 1.71″ on Alma. Parts of the Detroit Area had significant rainfall, as did areas across the lake in Wisconsin and NE Illinois.
A shower dropped 1.02″ of rain on the Ford Airport on Wednesday – dropping the temperature from 88° to 75°…then the sun came out and the temperature went back up to 90°. Lansing had a shower that dropped their temp. from 91° to 74°.
Despite the drier weather pattern, most area rivers are still a touch above average flow. The Kalamazoo River at Comstock has a flow of 890 cfs, compared to an average of 657 cfs.
We will have a chance of a few scattered showers and thundershowers later today – mainly in inland areas (along and east of US 131 is the most likely area to see a scattered t-shower. Any t-showers will produce brief gusty winds and heavy rain, but severe weather is not likely.
This is the Severe Weather Outlook Area from the Storm Prediction Center for Today, July 9. The most likely areas to see severe weather are in the Slight Risk Areas in yellow on the map. The (darker green) Marginal Risk area comes into West Michigan, generally west of US 131. The threat for us would be isolated strong wind gusts.
Today (Thu.) is another Clean Air Action Day – the fifth in a row. The counties under today’s Alert are Muskegon, Ottawa, Kent, Allegan, Van Buren, Berrien and Cass in Michigan, plus the Detroit area (which is also under a Heat Advisory), NW Indiana, NE Illinois and E. Wisconsin up the lake to Sheboygan WI. Thursday will also be a Clean Air Action Day. You can follow West Michigan air quality here.
Here’s some safety tips for hot weather. I’ll add – with so many people out on the water – always wear a flotation device. Keep your pets relatively cool and hydrated. Solar noon is at 1:47 pm – not at 12 noon – the strongest rays of the sun come between 1 pm and 2:30 pm.
A couple quick personal notes. Wednesday would have been my parents 70th wedding anniversary. When they got married, dad was two weeks shy of 37 and mom was four days shy of 31. They had 54 years together. Also, a couple we know that lives close to us both have COVID. One is still in the hospital and one just got out of the hospital. Just wanted to say, the virus hasn’t gone away.
Muskegon has set a record for the most consecutive 90-degree days. Starting with June 29 (to July 7), the high temperatures at the Muskegon Airport have been 91°-92°-91°-90°-92°-91°-90°-91°. With a stagnant weather pattern, the high temperatures have been remarkably consistent.
This was the Muskegon Channel at noon on Tuesday. Winds were light and waves only around 6″. The high temperature here at the channel was 82°. So, it was cooler at the lake, but with warmer water temperatures, the difference between the lake and inland areas isn’t quite as great as it is on hot days in May and June when the water is cooler.
There were thunderstorms across the lake in NE Illinois and E. Wisconsin Tuesday PM. Wind gusts with those storms hit 60 mph at O’Hare Airport in Chicago and 56 mph at Racine, Wisconsin. The storms died out as they tried to get across Lake Michigan, but we did see some clouds from those storms in the evening and the push of wind from those storms did make it across Lake Michigan. At 9 pm, the wind here at the Muskegon Channel was 3 mph. At 10 pm, the wind was up to 15 mph. Then by 1 am, the wind was back down to 5 mph.
The gust front was even more pronounced at South Haven. The wind at the beach was dead calm at 7 pm. Then the wind came up from the west-northwest and gusted to 37 mph. At 8 pm, the wind was a steady 25.7 mph. By 9 pm it was back down to 7 mph.
This was sunset at the South Haven buoy Monday evening. The surface water temp. at the buoy reached 82° Monday late afternoon. That’s about as warm as I have ever seen it. It’s a combination of warm air, lots of sunshine and very light winds (the wind at the buoy at 10 pm Monday was 0.0 mph – dead calm – and the waves were running 3″. The water temp. at a depth of 23 feet was 60.0° and at 49 feet it was 45.4°. The next time we get a strong wind, it’ll stir the water and the surface temperature will drop.
Here’s high temperatures from Monday. Lots of low-mid 90s with a few upper 80s at the lakeshore airports. The high temp. at the Muskegon Beach was 80°. At the Chicago water intake, the temp. only varied from 79° to 82° during the day.
Muskegon has now had 8 days in a row with temperatures of 90 degrees or warmer. That ties the reccord set in 1947. Grand Rapids has had 5 days in a row of 90-degree heat. That’s a top ten string since 1900. We had two separate stretches of consecutive 90-degree days in July 2012. Kalamazoo is up to 8 days in a row of 90-degrees…also a top 10 longest streak in the last 20 years. Here’s Grand Rapids radar:
We do have a chance of a shower or t-shower today…There will be a few showers and storms this morning, mainly north of G.R. Like I’ve been saying…if you get rain, count yourself lucky – this is an overall dry pattern. Here’s regional radar:
Go to: Most Recent Image
A busy day for storms…lots of wind damage reports – MD, NJ, the Philadelphia area. There was one tornado in NE Wyoming…but baseball-sized hail fell in western S. Dakota. There were some wind damage reports in Wisconsin and the Southern U.P. A gust of 51 mph occurred at Sheboygan WI and 47 mph at Escanaba MI. Wind damage was reported at Hyde and Wilson MI and 2.8″ of rain fell at Chatham. Here’s storm reports from the U.P. Marquette set a daily rainfall record on Monday with 1.95″.
The Storm Prediction Center has outlined a large area of Enhanced Risk of severe weather across Central and Eastern Montana, plus western N. Dakota and NW S. Dakota. The Slight Risk comes east into Minnesota and the Marginal Risk comes east into Wisconsin. While tornadoes are possible, wind damage and large hail are greater threats.
Today will be another Clean Air Action Day for the counties in gray on the map above (Muskegon, Ottawa, Kent, Allegan, Van Buren, Berrien and Cass – plus the Detroit area, the Chicago area and NW Indiana. Follow area ozone levels here.
The graphic above (from meteorologist Blake Harms) is the number of consecutive days of 90-degree temperatures in Grand Rapids since the year 2000. We’re at four (July 2-5) and we have a good chance of adding four more days, making it 8 days in a row. The all-time record for Grand Rapids is 11 in a row set way back in 1901. We’ve had 12 years out of 126 years of record when we have had 7 consecutive days in the 90s. The most 90-degree days in a calendar month in Grand Rapids is 18 – set 3 times (1901, 1021 an 2012). The warmest two days in Grand Rapids were July 12-13, 1936 with highs of 106° and 108°. (thanks to Andy Schut who looked that up for us).
Note that in 2012, we had not one but two streaks of 7 days in a row of 90-degree heat. Today (July 6) was the hottest day of that summer with a high of 104°- the hottest day Grand Rapids had since July 12-13, 1936. In 2012, we had incredible warmth in March, with temperatures reaching the mid 80s. I remember swimming in Gun Lake on the last official day of winter. That was the warmest month Grand Rapids has ever had relative to average. Then we had the heat wave in July. It had been dry with high pressure giving us relatively calm winds. I remember thinking all those wind turbines are temporarily useless when the wind is calm – and we had record to near record electricity use do to air-conditioning.
With near record to record amounts of sunshine and warm temperatures, the lakes are heating up. Reeds Lake in East Grand Rapids had a water temp. of 84° Sunday afternoon. The South Haven buoy had a surface water temp. of 77° and at 10 pm, the wind was dead calm, 0.0 mph – not 0.1 mph, but 0.0 mph.
It looks like we get at least 4 more hot days in the low-mid 90s (cooler at Lake Michigan) – then temperatures are back closer to average in the low-mid 80s over the weekend, with the heat building back in later next week.
Yesterday, we had a few showers and thundershowers form along and east of U.S. 131 in the heat of the mid-afternoon. I took the pic. above looking southeast from Comstock Park. The agricultural weather station near Hastings had 0.69″ of rain. The Kalamazoo Nature Center reported 0.04″. The Ford Airport in G.R. had 0.02″ and the thundershower dropped the temperature from 91° to 77° in an hour. Clarksville in Ionia Co. also had 0.02″.
This is storm total rainfall from radar. Note the darker blue areas in SE Kent, extreme E Allegan Co., S. Barry Co. and N. Kalamazoo County. There were thundershowers along the lake breeze in E. Wisconsin, but they died when they came out over Lake Michigan, where the air was cooler. There was no rain in the lakeshore counties of West Michigan (ignore the light blue on the map in W. Allegan, Ottawa and Muskegon Counties…that’s not rain) with the wind coming in off Lake Michigan.
This is today’s Severe Weather Risk Map fro the Storm Prediction Center. There’s an arc of Slight Risk from NW Wisconsin west to Montana and Wyoming. The Marginal Risk Area includes much of the Upper Peninsula. Lower Michigan is in the non-severe General Risk Area, though any storms this afternoon will be very widely scattered.
The National Hurricane Center has named Tropical Storm Edouard in the Atlantic. It’s the most minimal of tropical storms and will turn into a rainy, windy low pressure system in NW Europe. Storms like this would most likely not been given a name in past decades. All five of the named Atlantic tropical storms this year have been weak and short-lived. I do expect this to be a significant hurricane season in the Atlantic, with an above average number of storms and some strong storms, including several significant storms impacting the S and SE U.S. Satellite view here.
High temperatures Sunday included 93° in Lansing and Mt. Pleasant, 92° in Kalamazoo and Ionia, 91° in Grand Rapids and Fremont and 90° at Battle Creek and Coldwater. Cadillac reached 90° and it was a warm 82° on Mackinac Island.
ALSO: Check this out – lightning sets off the fireworks – just west of LIttle Rock, Arkansas. Nebraska supercell with tornado. Windmill at sunset. Wildfire near Payson AZ. Nice pic. of Lake Mendota in Madison WI – with the sun setting behind a towering cumulus cloud in the far distant WNW. I’ll guess rain shaft. National High/Low temps for Sunday July 05: 117 at Death Valley, CA; 26 at 12 miles northeast Sand Creek Station, OR. Check out all the fireworks going off in Los Angeles July 4 night. Pileus cloud or cap cloud.
A bright fireball lit up the skies over Japan – Nagano Prefecture – early Thursday morning (2:30 am). Here’s video. Fujii Daichi, a curator who specializes in astronomy at the Science Museum in Hiratsuka City, said the fireball looked much brighter than the full moon. This may have been a fragment of an asteroid and may have only been several inches wide. It was unclear whether any fragments made it to the ground. The fireball did make a noise that woke many people up and there were many reports on social media.
In 1908, an exploding meteorite mowed down forests in Siberia, Russia. In 2013, a meteor exploded in the sky above the Russian state of Chelyabinsk, and its shock wave shattered windows, causing injuries.
Also: The number of 100+ degree days this year in Phoenix AZ is currently at 51 days. Only 4 days behind 1989’s mark of 55 to this point. Urban heat island may have some effect here:
Look at the population growth of Phoenix over the years. In 1950, it was significantly smaller than Grand Rapids. My wife’s adopted brother and his family moved to Arizona a few years ago to escape the crime and high taxes of California.
Also: Video of tornado in Saskatchewan, Canada on Saturday. World soybean production has doubled in the last 20 years. Lots of snow in New Zealand highlands this winter (yeah, it’s winter in the Southern Hemisphere). Flooding and landslides in Japan. When you have a stagnant weather pattern…areas that are hot and dry (Michigan), stay hot and dry…and areas that are wet (like SE Japan) get wetter. Flooding in India. National High/Low temps for Saturday July 04: 115 at Death Valley, CA; 26 at Bodie State Park, CA. These two places are only about 150 miles apart. Huge difference in elevation. Sunset on Mt. Washington NH.
Today (Monday 7/6) has been declared a Clean Air Action Day. The Alert includes the following counties: Muskegon, Ottawa, Kent, Allegan, Van Buren, Berrien and Cass. An Alert has also been issued for the Detroit area, for Northwest Indiana and Northeast Illinois, including the Chicago Area. You can follow current ozone readings in West Michigan here. Sunday was also a Clean Air Action Day.
It was interesting that Grand Rapids reached 94° Friday, but we did not have a Clean Air Action Day. This was mainly due to the prevailing WNW wind. It was transporting clean air into West Michigan. Today, the wind should be should be more S-SW coming from the Chicago Area. Other factors to consider are less industrial activity over the holiday weekend and perhaps reduced travel due to the pandemic.
Fares are usually waived on The Rapid (Grand Rapids Area) during designated Clean Air Action Days (fixed routes), but this is not be the case now because of the coronavirus. The Clean Air Coalition website says: “Free bus rides on Clean Air Action Days are also suspended until further notice.“
Remember pet safety during hot weather. Don’t leave your pets in a hot vehicle and make sure they have water and stay hydrated. With little change in the overall weather pattern, we could see several more Clean Air Action Days during this coming week.
Both Thursday and Friday evening, I drove to Crockery Lake and paddled around the lake – twice Thursday evening (inc. a stop at the county park for a swim) and once Friday evening. Both evenings were perfect warm with fairly light winds.
Along the way, I had 3 deer cross right in front of me. Did some moderate braking to miss the third one. Both nights I had turkeys cross the road in front of me, also necessitating some braking. At the lake there were ducks, lots of geese at the west end of the lake…I saw several turtles and a big fish jumped in front of me…no herons this time, but several kingfishers were perched high in dead trees.
Friday evening, they had their fireworks – shot up from a cow pasture at the west end of the lake. Almost every home or cottage on the lake was full of people enjoying the lake’s warm water…so many laughing, giggling children – fun to watch.
This was sunset Thursday evening – viewed from the parking lot of Trinity Lutheran School – awesome place to watch a summer sunset. The sun is disappearing behind a small thundershower that is about 65 miles southwest of Green Bay, Wisconsin. It could have been 150 miles away.
Maybe it’s just that I’ve been home pretty much for the last 3 1/2 months, but the flowers in my yard have been outstanding this year. This rose bush is well over 30 years old…maybe closer to 40. So many beautiful flowers this year. Wild daisies spring up in front of them.
You’ve probably seen my two cats on TV while I’m in the “man cave” doing weather. Both cats were strays that were at the Humane Society. We got them as kittens and they are now 11 years old. The mostly white cat is “Sir Yum” and was Gayle’s mother’s cat. When she passed away, we took the cat. He’s a big male – been up to 25 pounds – and spends much of the day sleeping. The smaller cat is “Nimbus”. She’s a female, 11 pounds and she sleeps a lot, too. Sometimes they are down in the basement, but just not in camera view. We continue to change the background a little each day.
Here’s one more picture of sunset at Crockery Lake. There were some thin cirrus clouds in the sky. Those “high” clouds are made up of ice crystals. While it’s 90 degrees here at the ground, it’s well below freezing 6 miles up where these clouds are located.
Also: Wow! Look at the July snowfall in Norway. Winds as high as 100 mph confirmed in storms the night of June 26. Waves at Lake Michigan most of the time from 6″ – 15″. Major flooding in Japan. Video of the flooding. A thin layer of smoke from forest fires in Siberia has made it to the U.S. West Coast. Cloud casting a sky shadow. Today’s rainbow.