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From the Grand Rapids National Weather Service Monday 3:12 AM Discussion: “FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS FOR TODAY IS CLOUD COVER TRENDS WITH REGARDS TO THE ECLIPSE EVENT FOR THIS AFTERNOON HERE. RIGHT NOW, OUR HIGHEST CONFIDENCE THOUGHTS ARE THAT WE WILL BE DEALING WITH THE BLOW OFF CLOUDS FROM THE CONVECTION ONGOING OVER IOWA THIS MORNING, ALONG WITH SOME CUMULUS DEVELOPMENT JUST INLAND FROM THE LAKESHORE AND TO THE EAST AROUND THE TIME OF THE ECLIPSE. THIS WOULD LEAD US TO BELIEVE THAT THE SUN WILL BE FILTERED A BIT AT LEAST, WITH
VARIABILITY OF OPENINGS THROUGH THE CUMULUS AWAY FROM THE LAKESHORE. THERE SHOULD BE LESS CUMULUS RIGHT AT THE LAKESHORE.”
Check out the latest G.R. NWS discussion here. Here’s current satellite views of the area – first the visible satellite pic. (daytime) and the infrared satellite pic. (nighttime and during the eclipse). Check out this U.S. satellite loop. Here’s Great Lakes regional radar. Follow current weather observations here (see if the temps. drop during the height of the eclipse). Here’s how to see the eclipse with a cereal (or other) box. The first place to see the total eclipse will be a lighthouse in Oregon. Walter Cronkite covering the last total eclipse in 1979.
We were going to drive to Kingston for the eclipse tomorrow…but, my sister drove there today to check it out…the town is packed! So, change of plans. We’ll stay in Oak Ridge. We decided to go to the Oak Ridge Arboretum…but…no picnics…they don’t like food crumbs attracting certain animals and birds. Now, the plan is to travel 2 miles to the American Museum of Science and Energy. The two miles takes us from 99.99% eclipse…to totality for 31 seconds. The history of solar eclipses.
The pic. above was taken by me this PM at Lake Melton, which is actually the dammed-up Clinch River. There’s about 2 miles of park on the west side of the lake – and a paved path perfect for joggers, dog-walkers, bicyclists and roller-bladers. There’s also a vending machine with waterfowl food – a big handful for a quarter if you want to feed the ducks and geese. I took my mother down there to the lake in the PM
This was one of the weekends when (at least) hundreds (probably several thousand) people are here for rowing competitions (often called a “regatta”. Lake Melton not only features a long straight stretch, but the lake is one of the least windy places in the U.S. The average wind speed in nearby Knoxville from 8 pm Saturday to 9 am Sunday was 0.7 mph. The average speed over a 25-hour period was just 1.4 mph. In the 1970s, a list of hundreds of average wind speeds for cities in the U.S. showed Oak Ridge TN was the least windy location. There are competitions here for high school, college, city and club teams. With calm conditions and temps. the air seemed clear and clean. We have made progress with particulate pollution over the past decades. As a kid, I remembered the blown cloud of haze and smog that would arise from Chicago and Gary IN on hot, calm summer days.
Here’s a wider view of the rowers. There appeared to be five lanes. We saw two-person, four-person and eight-person shells (the name of the boats). This weekend was the USRowing Masters Nationals. There are half a dozen rowing clubs in the G.R. area, including GVSU and high school clubs at East G.R. and Forest Hills.
Mom and I spent about an hour and a half at Calhoun’s – a restaurant right on the water. We sat on the deck, sipped ice tea and enjoyed the rowing. Mom had mac and cheese and I had a chicken salad – generous portions and a reasonable price. We went for about a 1/2 mile walk – didn’t want to overdo it in the heat.
Mom and I are driving around and we see this sign. In fact, there were two of them about 200 feet apart. Anyone got a clue. I guess we weren’t supposed to do something? There were some power lines going across the road there.
Finally, my 98-year old mother likes to cook. One yummy breakfast treat she has made for longer than I’ve been alive is a coffee cake called a kuchen (German for cake). It’s got raisins, a touch of frosting and is surprisingly light. It’s her recipe. She also baked almond and oatmeal cookies.
This is a pic., which I believe is 1980…of the wrap-up of the Jerry Lewis Telethon. Over the years, the telethons we did in W. Michigan raised millions of dollars for “Jerry’s kids”. I usually did the fishbowl outside because I wanted to be outside and I wanted to meet the people. I remember the kids who went door-to-door in their neighborhoods with a coffee can raising money and dropping it off at the station. Jerry was the telethon’s first host in NYC in 1956. He remained the host for 55 years and was affiliated with MDA for 61 years. There are reports that he gave 7 million dollars of his own money to the cause. MDA’s website lists five early local MDA telethons: Cleveland on March 7, 1952; Atlanta on June 6 and 7, 1952; Washington, D.C. on December 26 and 27, 1952; Grand Rapids, Michigan, on June 27 and 28, 1953; and Madison, Wisconsin on September 12 and 13, 1953. These telethons did not star or feature Jerry Lewis, but were hosted by other stars such as Dick Van Dyke, Robert Alda, Virginia Graham, and Al Hodge in character as Captain Video. For many years, the telethon ran from 9 pm Sunday night until the 6 pm news Monday night. During those years, the telethon raised 2.6 billion dollars. The biggest contributor was the Intl. Assn. of Fire Fighters with their “fill the boot” campaign. For many years, his co-host was Ed McMahon from the Tonight Show. The telethon was shortened to one night after Jerry left and ended in 2015. RIP.
Today is the one year anniversary of the August 20 tornadoes. A total of 6 tornadoes hit West Michigan that Saturday afternoon. Hundreds of trees were toppled and there were several areas where buildings were damaged. Fortunately, no injuries were reported (which means a lot of people took safety measures. There were four tornadoes rated EF1 and two tornadoes rated EF0.
This is damage at the True Blue Blueberry Farm near Bangor. The tornadoes were “rain-wrapped” and nearly impossible to see because they were surrounded by heavy rain. So (like quite a few Michigan twisters, we have very few pics. and video of the storms. Check out the video and pics. here. The write up from the G.R. NWS is here.
The Storm Prediction Center has just increased the threat level for severe storms on Monday for much of West Michigan (and the Midwest). There is now a Marginal Risk of a severe storm for much of Lower Michigan and the Slight Risk comes east to Milwaukee and Chicago. SPC mentions “…the possibility of an evolving mesoscale convective system in the presence of strengthening westerly lower/mid tropospheric wind fields (to 30-40kt). Given this ambient flow, and potential for heavy precipitation loading (aided by precipitable water increasing to 2+ inches), convection may be accompanied by a swath of potentially damaging wind gusts, possibly continuing into the Great Lakes region Monday night.” So, a better chance for storms late in the day than early.
Also: Radar loop of the big tornadic t-storm in Nebraska. Northern Lights Fri. night in the U.P. Tropical Storm Harvey weakens. Great pic. of Lake Michigan w/Chicago across the lake. Lightning “bomb”.
Our motel room last night had mold on the windows…mold on the desks and tables…one of the chairs had a tear in the fabric and the drain to the shower was so big and open I thought an alligator might come up through the pipe and eat me for breakfast…I went and got towels from the car for us to cover the pillows and sheets just in case and the noise from the air conditioner was louder than front row at a Metallica concert…however, motel rooms are hard to come by now with thousands here to see the eclipse. This motel had just one other room left. Go figure…I had a very good night’s sleep. The morning breakfast was OK – it was southern KY, so I decided to have some grits. This was not the good oatmeal-like grits you get at a restaurant down here…it was from a pouch and it was like sand. I put some milk on…the milk disappeared, totally…gone! I still had the “sand”. More milk…more stirring…rinse and repeat…after what seemed like half an hour…the sandman gave up and the grits started to look more like grits. Actually, they were pretty good. I grabbed an apple and we headed out the door. The staff there was real friendly and tried to be helpful. Oh…and they had free newspapers…not USA Today, the local paper from last Sunday (today was Saturday). The obituaries were prominent on pages 3 and 4. They were pretty detailed…”Mildred got a “B+” in arithmetic in 3rd grade…” I left the paper on the table for the next guest.
On to the theme of the day…this is Punkin…resident cat at the Bittersweet Log Cabin Village at Renfro Valley. Punkin was a stray that just showed up one day at the cabin, where they have a small gift shop stocked with items from local craftspeople. Some kind people decided to take him to a vet. and get checked out…let him come in the cabin when the weather was nasty and started to put out food and water. Punkin is an older cat now, but we’ve stopped and seen him for probably 8 or 9 years now. We make 2 to 3 runs a year down I-75 to see my mother in Oak Ridge TN. We always stop to see Punkin. He mostly stays on the porch. He’s very friendly, purrs when I pet him. No one knows me down here, so I can get away with doing something like getting down on the floor to pet Punkin. He sheds a lot in the warmer months and rests most of the time. The Log Cabin Village is about 10 buildings from the 1800s to show you what life was like back then. It used to be free, now they are asking $2 to pay for upkeep. They’ll take donations, too.
Before I left Renfro Valley, I went to the restroom. I was the only one in the restroom, my wife might have been the only one within screaming-distance. I look down at my feet and there’s a LIZARD! OK, it wasn’t quite as ferocious as the pic., but I am not used to lizards at the loo. I don’t know what came out of my mouth…it wasn’t quite a scream…and I managed to jump up and in an instant decided to grab my phone out of my pocket and get a pic. of this thing. But, the lizard totally vanished! Gone! I looked everywhere…in every stall…behind every toilet…I lifted up the garbage can! I wondered if there was a lizard rapture mentioned in the Bible. Has anyone seen a lizard since Saturday noon? I never thought I’d see anything disappear faster than the milk on those grits.
OK, we head down I-75 and cross the border into Tennessee. I need to buy gas, so I get off at the Jellico exit. I stop at a gas station and they have a Wendy’s there. They’re having 50c frosties now…so we decide to go in. I ordered a strawberry-mango salad and my wife a Mediterranean Chicken Salad. We waited and waited and waited…people behind us ordered and got their food…I saw 5 people working there…I figured they sent one of them to Mexico to pick the mango. Finally, we got our order after about 15 min. The lady said she was sorry and was going to give me a free coupon…I like free! She looked in the drawer…no coupons…so, she left to go to the back of the store. For about 75 seconds…you could not see a single employee – all five of them had vanished, just like that lizard…just like the milk on those grits! Finally, she returned with two coupons for free frosties. So, we get to my mother’s a few minutes later…frosties are good. I guess it was worth the wait.
Now, it gets fun again. We take our salads and ask where there’s a park with a picnic table. About a mile away is Indian Mounds State Park. We stopped at the first picnic table. There were several clues that led me to believe that the table had been visited recently by birds…but there was a clear space and I got towels from the car to sit on and put our food on. This beautiful butterfly comes flying all around us and then it lands on my hand. It turned all the way around, stayed there for a few minutes, posing for this pic. It then flew to the edge of the picnic table and stayed there the whole time we ate our salads. We were in a valley and there was no wind, so outside of an occasional passing car, it was very quiet. The trees around us provided thick shade. When we were done, we got in the car…and five crows descended from the trees around us to the picnic table to eat the crumbs we left.
We decided to see the rest of the park. Around a bend we came to a lake. Now, once you get south of N. Indiana, lakes are pretty much all dammed up creeks and rivers. The water tends to be muddy and too often there is litter (though this park was clean). You could rent these colorful paddleboats. When we were there, only a couple were rented. I guessed it was because it was early afternoon – peak sun – and close to 90-degrees. We did not see a beach and I assume the water was too dirty for swimming. There was a campground and camp store where you could get everything from axes to ice cream.
We made it down to mom’s. We passed hundreds of cars viewing the rowing competition on Lake Melton (the dammed up Clinch River) here in Oak Ridge. One year I ran into a team from GVSU at the lake. My mother made brats for dinner and she had 3/4ths of a beer to go with it. I had stopped at the roadside stand on Four Mile just west of Alpine and got peaches, plums, sweet corn, apples, bug tomatoes and a few other things to bring down to mom. We cut up peaches for desert. Tomorrow, we plan out our eclipse day.
Gayle and I are on the road…heading to Tennessee for the eclipse. Overall good trip so far. There was a back-up in Cincinnati (there always seems to be road construction in Cincinnati) because they are working on the bridge over the Ohio River and it was down to 2 lanes each way. Took some munchies for the car…then stopped at a KFC for dinner before settling down for the night. It was mostly cloudy until we got to Ohio, then it became partly sunny and then almost entirely clear once we crossed into Kentucky. There were areas that were dry (NE Indiana), but most of the crops looked good on the way. We saw half a dozen hawks.
There are 152 wind turbines in NW Ohio (east of Fort Wayne). With a healthy breeze they were spinning nicely. It was interesting seeing the colors of the wind turbines change from white (in the sun) to gray (when the sun went behind a cloud). The owner of the wind turbines is Avangrid Renewables, which is majority owned by Iberdrola of Spain. They have been operating since 2011-12 and have the capacity to power 70,000 homes (note: that doesn’t mean that they do…note the wording “have the capacity”. Sometimes the wind isn’t blowing or is too light to power any homes…the wind turbines can actually be rotating slowly without generating much power at all (free-wheeling it’s called). The electronic controls of many wind turbines require approx. 9 mph for a 10-minute average before it releases the brake. Then the turbine will “cut in” and begin generating power.
Here’s the wind energy viability map for Michigan from the Dept. of Energy. Note that most of the state is rated poor or fair. You can see the prospects are better over the open waters of the Great Lakes. You can also see the better viability in the Thumb Area, where there are already dozens of wind turbines.
Here’s storm reports from Friday. Here’s video of the one torando that occurred in Florida.
Tomorrow we’ll complete the drive to Oak Ridge. We are planning on driving early Monday to Kingston where there is a nice open park by a lake. We’ll bring a picnic and make it a day.
I’m still sticking with partly cloudy and dry conditions for the eclipse in Lower Michigan at this point, with any showers holding off until Monday night.
This is the overnight run of the GFSX model – it gives G.R. only a 6% chance of rain thru 2 pm (peak of the eclipse in G.R. is 2:22 pm) with a 23% chance from 2 pm to 2 am. The chance of rain is up to 83% on Tuesday, when showers and storms are likely. Cooler air will push in for the latter half of next week. So, be cautiously optimistic that it’ll be partly cloudy on Monday.
Our 5 meteorologists will be in 4 different states for the eclipse. Ellen will be broadcasting back from Nebraska. Kyle is headed to Missouri (or Illinois depending on cloud cover). I’ll be in Tennessee. You can catch my updates on facebook and twitter. My mother and sister live in Tennessee – so free lodging! My brother-in-law is a research scientist for the Oak Ridge Lab and may toss in his thoughts…and I think this will be my mother’s first total eclipse (at 98 years old!). I remember the 1979 eclipse and I made a viewing box for the 1963 eclipse, which was about 80% in Chicago. Here’s a map of total eclipse paths in the U.S. since 1800.
In the meantime…a bit cooler today…still a chance of a brief sprinkle, a little drizzle or a light shower…best chance north. They should be widely scattered and end this PM.
Tropical Storm Harvey will move thru the Antilles Islands today and eventually into Central America and S. Mexico. It is not expected to become a major hurricane, but should produce heavy rain and flooding. Interests in Nicaragua, Guatamala and SE Mexico should take precautions and prepare for potential flooding.
This map from the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) shows severe weather reports in the U.S. on Thursday. Red dots are tornadoes, blue dots are wind damage and green dots are hail 1-inch in diameter or greater. There were 5 reported tornadoes in the Thumb Area. However at least 3 of them are the same tornado east of Kingston in Tuscola Co. (video of the tornado at the link). They reported: “NUMEROUS TREES DOWN … A TRAILER IS FLIPPED OVER … AND METAL/SHINGLES TORN FROM ROOF.” There was also a report of a tornado near Decker in Sanilac and near Yankee Lake in eastern Ohio. A funnel cloud was spotted at Millington MI. Two houses were damaged by thunderstorm winds in Ogemaw County. A wind gust of 43 mph was measured at the Grand Haven pier (breakwater).
Here’s an evening pic. from the Muskegon Channel (from NOAA Coastwatch). You can see rain falling out of the clouds to the northwest. Some 24-hour rainfall totals as of 8 pm: 2.45″ Indian River, 2.28″ S. Ste. Marie, 1.73″ E. Jordan, 1.66″ Houghton, 1.46″ Monroe, 1.35″ Flint, 1.27″ Boyne City, 1.20″ Adrian, 1.19″ Detroit, 1.18″ Manistique, 1.07″ Escanaba, 0.97″ Houghton Lake, 0.94″ Alpena, 0.77″ Holland, 0.55″ Muskegon, 0.51″ Grand Rapids, 0.49″ Big Rapids, 0.39″ Ludington, 0.26″ Ionia, 0.17″ Battle Creek, 0.13″ Lansing, 0.13″ Jackson, 0.09″ Marshall, 0.07″ Kalamazoo, 0.05″ Benton Harbor, 0.04″ Charlotte,
This is the Severe Weather Outlook map for this PM (Thu.), Up top is a map showing a meso-discussion for W. Ohio, E. Indiana and far SE Michigan. This is the most likely area to get a Severe T-Storm or Tornado Watch in the next few hours. The large area of showers and storms is moving east and northeast out of West Michigan. SPC says: “Line of storms across eastern IN will gradually strengthen
as it continues eastward in OH. Damaging wind gusts and perhaps a tornado or two are possible within the strongest storms.a primary severe threat of damaging wind gusts associated with wet microbursts. Additionally, the strengthening mid-level flow will contribute to a modest increase in storm-relative helicity. This increased helicity and low LCLs support the potential for a few tornadoes. Significant Weather Advisory from GRR NWS.
This is a 4:15 pm satellite picture. There are narrow “lanes” of partly cloudy skies. There are a few scattered showers moving thru the area. This is a link to a surface weather map. Dewpoints are still in the muggy low 70s in W. Michigan. Dewpoints have dropped a little – into the mid 60s – in Wisconsin. The upper level low is still moving across north-central Wisconsin.
It’s breezy. The wind is SW at 18 mph in G.R. with a few gusts to 30 mph along the lakeshore.
Redwood Falls MN got an incredible 9.45″ of rain last night! There were 8 tornadoes reported in MN yesterday.
Regional and local radar maps should update automatically.
Links: Here’s Grand Rapids radar and Northern Michigan radar, Milwaukee radar, Northern Indiana radar, Chicago radar, Detroit radar, Regional radar, the Updated GRR NWS Short Term Discussion. Here’s College of DuPage Radar Map (pick any radar in the U.S.), College of DuPage Grand Rapids radar, the West Michigan Lightning Tracker, National Lightning Tracker, the local warning/advisory map, the National warning/watch/advisory map, and a surface weather map. Here’s the 84-Hour snow forecast from the NAM model and the 120-hour snow forecast from the GFS model. You can checkout the latest Grand Rapids NWS discussion, the Northern Indiana NWS discussion (includes the Michigan Counties that border Indiana), the discussion for Northern Lower Michigan, and Eastern Lower Michigan. Here’s the Spyglass Condos Weather Station the S. Haven GLERL station, the Muskegon GLERL station, the Grand Haven Steelheaders webcam and weather station, and the weather station at Holland State Park. Check out the links to webcams. Here’s the infrared satellite loop (night) and the visible satellite loop (daytime), Lake Michigan water temperatures (summer). Here’s recent storm reports from SW Michigan, Northern Michigan, NE Illinois, SE. Wisconsin, Upper Michigan and E. Michigan. Check out the wind and wave height at the South Mid-Lake Michigan Buoy (Apr. to Nov. only), the North Mid-Lake Michigan Buoy (Apr. to Nov. only), the buoy at Big Sable Point near Ludington and the weather station on the beach at St. Joseph. Here’s Michigan ski conditions. Cool U.S. satellite loop.
This map shows the risk of a tornado today within 25 miles of a given point. There is a 5% risk of that in SE Michigan today and a 2% chance essentially east of US 131. SPC says: ” Scattered showers/isolated thunderstorms are forecast during the morning within the warm conveyer from northern IN/OH into Lower MI. Renewed thunderstorm development is expected by early-mid afternoon…Model forecast soundings vary considerably in hodograph size in whether
low level flow veers, which would reduce the risk for a tornado, or if surface-500 m flow can remain relatively backed augmenting the tornado risk.”
This is the SPC percent chance of a report of damaging winds today. You can see that strong winds are more likely than a tornado, with again a greater risk in the eastern part of the WOOD viewing area toward Jackson and Lansing.
Click on the image to enlarge. INCREDIBLE heavy rain event on the back side of the low pressure in Minnesota. These are observations from Redwood Falls MN. They have had 2.61″ of rain in an hour and 4.99″ of rain in 6 hours, accompanied by winds up to a steady 44 mph with gusts to 59 mph…station pressure down to 29.48″ – pretty low for Minnesota in the summer. It’s like being in a strong tropical storm.
This is a screen grab from the webcam at Barrow, Alaska – the northernmost point in the U.S. Barrow had snowflurries on 4 of 5 days from the 11th to the 15th. The high/low on Weds. was 47/32. You can see in the picture there are no trees, no grass. The houses are built off the ground, so the heat from the houses won’t make the house sink into the permafrost.
This was a screen grab from the camera at the Kahitna Glacier. If you want to find winter weather in summer in the U.S., this is the place to go. Much of Alaska was cloudy yesterday. I looked at a couple dozen webcams and only one was sunny…
That was this one at Prudhoe Bay – also on the Arctic Coast. Anchorage had a high of 56 yesterday (avg. is 64). Anchorage has had only 4 days this month when they didn’t get a drop of rain…Fairbanks just 3. At Yakutat in SE Alaska…they have only reached 70° twice this summer…back on 7/6 and 6/8. Juneau had another 0.68″ of rain. They are +4.68″ for the year. The warmest temp. in Alaska yesterday was 68 at the town of Eagle.
A Beach Hazards Statement and a Small Craft Advisory has been issued effective from noon today through Friday evening. We’ll see waves increase to 3-6 feet and there will be an increased risk of rip currents and structural currents. Don’t swim near or jump off the piers and breakwaters.
This pic. is just before sunset at Thunder Bay Island near Alpena. At 1:50 am, the water temp. at Reeds Lake in East G.R. was still at 78°. With a southeast wind, it was a relatively warm day at Lake Michigan. The high temperature at the S. Haven Lighthouse was 84.9° and the high temperature at the Muskegon Beach was 81.3. The high of 88 in G.R. was the warmest day in 4 weeks, since a 90° reading back on 7/19.
This is the updated Severe Risk Map for Thursday from the Storm Prediction Center. There is now a (upgraded) Slight Risk Area that covers much of S. Lower Michigan (east of a line from roughly Dowagiac to G.R. to Oscoda), NE Indiana and NW Ohio. SPC says: “A reinvigoration of thunderstorms is expected across lower MI and the central OH Valley as the cold front encounters the moist and diurnally destabilized airmass across the region. A predominately multicell mode is anticipated with possible embedded bowing structures contributing to occasional damaging wind gusts. Some isolated hail is also possible within the more organized storms. Relatively higher coverage is possible across lower MI and adjacent portions of northeast IN/northwest OH where slightly stronger shear supports a more favorable environment for storm organization/higher potential for a supercell or two. Given the amount of low-level moisture and relatively strong 850mb flow, a tornado or two is also possible. As a result, a Slight Risk has been introduced across these areas.”