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This map from the Weather Prediction Center shows the odds of 2" or more of snow in the next 72 hours. They'll get some snow early this week across the U.P. and N. Lower Michigan - not a big storm, but enough to cause some slick spots. It does warm up near 50 late this week.
12 of the first 17 days of the month have had not a single minute of sunshine. We've also had at least a trace of snow on 9 of the last 11 days in G.R. and we're now 6 degrees colder than average for the month.
Here's the 5-Day Precipitaton Forecast from the Weather Prediction Center...looks like about half the country doesn't see any rain or snow. The big thing here is rain for California to help put out the fires - along with higher humidities. They will also be showers and storms in SE Texas and S. Florida with some snow in the northern Great Lakes.
I took this pic.in downtown G.R. while I was at the Santa Claus Parade. These are ornamental pear trees...many cities have them in their downtown areas. The generally have white blossoms in the spring, no messy fruit and the leaves stay on a bit longer in the fall. Looks nice.
I was at two parades on Saturday (didn't make it to Battle Creek). Here's a pic. of Maranda and me in downtown G.R. - big crowd for this parade.
This is the Hudsonville Holiday Parade. Kids - you can get LOTS of candy and other goodies at this parade. It goes down 32nd Ave. from the Pinnacle Center to the new Terra Square - where they have LOTS of hot chocolate, cookies, donut holes, tables with cool stuff for kids, ice carving and you can get your picture taken with Santa for FREE.
Music provided by the Hudsonville Eagles Marching Band.
Santa was riding at the end of the parade in a horse-drawn carriage.
Here's some of the free goodies they had for everyone after the parade. Lots of happy people, seeing some neighbors, meeting someone new. Good time.
The Saturday before Thanksgiving is parade day in West Michigan. The G.R. Jaycees Santa Claus Parade is at 9 am. You can see the parade on WOOD-TV. We'll have a chance of light snow or flurries and temps. will be in the low-mid 30s. At 10 am, it's the Hudsonville Holiday Parade - going south to north down 32nd St. from the Pinnacle Center to the Fire House, where they'll have free cookies and hot chocolate/coffee. They usually have real reindeer and you can get your picture taken with Santa. Then at 5:45 pm, it's the Battle Creek Holiday Parade - the kickoff to the International Festival of Lights. It's sponsored by the Harper Creek Optimist Club. There's also the Holiday Walk in Whitehall and Christmas through Lowell. We'll have a chance of a period of light snow or flurries in the AM. Here's local radar:
and Regional Radar:
Wow - check out this insane hailstorm in (of all places) Saudi Arabia - video from Rashed P. thru Cyclone of Rhodes. This was 11/15/18. Also - camels in the rain. Longest slip-and-slide in the world? Big thunderstorm complex in Argentina. Spectacular lightning bolt in N. Australia.
Tranquil weather is expected over most of the country for Thanksgiving Day. This 4-part graphic from the NWS shows expected low temps. and high temps., plus a surface weather map and areas of precipitation. This graphic only gives G.R. a high temp. of 39 - I've got out mid-upper 40s with a fairly brisk southwest breeze. Dry, high pressure will control the weather over much of the country. Hopefully, some rain off the Pacific Ocean will be moving into California. San Francisco has had just 0.17" of rain since April 16th.
Cold air will moderate east of the Rockies. New York City just had their earliest-in-the-season 6" snowfall ever. They had a few snow flurries in Houston on Tuesday, the earliest in the season they have ever had snowfall. San Antonio set two record low temperatures, including a chilly 23 - coldest ever so early in the season. The afternoon high temperature of 34 at Huntsville, Alabama was cooler than the 35 degree high temperature at S. Ste. Marie.
Here's skiers at Bittersweet Ski Area west of Otsego Thursday evening. They have a +12" base and 1-2" of natural snow on top. The high temperature of 32° in G.R. Thursday was 16 deg. cooler than average. The average high temperature drops from 47° today (Fri.) to 30° at mid-January. I am on record forecasting a colder-than-average December for W. Michigan. If that is the case, it'll be our 3rd month in a row with cooler than average temperatures. The 3.2" of snow yesterday official in G.R. brought our season and monthly total to 8.9" - already above the Nov. average.
Also: Lighter winds, a little higher humidity and a chance of a shower should help fire fighters in CA. Will the snowiest decade continue? A large impact crater beneath Hiawatha Glacier in northwest Greenland. A burned neighborhood in Paradise CA. Snow for the Rockies. A traffic mess in NYC. It was the snowiest November Day in NYC since 1882. Snow in Mt. Pleasant. Most schools in San Francisco, Sacramento and Oakland announced that they will be closed on Friday due to thick smoke and poor air quality. New York City early November snow caused trees to collapse on Park Avenue. Reports school buses stuck for hours. Hurricane Florence set at least 28 flood records in the Carolinas -- Preliminary data indicates that 18 USGS stream gages in North Carolina and 10 in South Carolina registered record-setting water levels. Unusual to get this widespread a snow event in mid-November. A favorite piece from Roy Clark. On Nov. 15 IN 1989: A devastating F4 tornado crossed through the southern parts of Huntsville. The tornado was on the ground for 18.5 miles and at its largest was 880 yards wide. Twenty one people died as a result of the tornado and 463 were injured. In 1989, the Eastern U.S. had a very cold December. New Jersey has a waterfall. Snow in St. Louis. For you classical music lovers...a duet for violin and rubber chicken. Some good news here. Snow in Romania. Dust devil.
The latest from Dr. Judah Cohen: "It is not often that CFS forecast shows strong consistency or persistence in the forecast but most recent forecast for rest of November, December and January all show classic El Nino positive Pacific North American (PNA) pattern with ridge in West and trough with
#cold in East." Watch for cold in the Eastern U.S. in the first week of Dec. Average temps. in U.S. now coldest since 2000 for front 13 days of November, and max temps. since 1998, beating 2014.
The firearm deer season and the West Michigan ski season have begun. The pic. above is Bittersweet Ski Area Thursday evening. They have been making snow and they received a couple inches of natural snow. They will open today and over the weekend. The overall cool pattern should continue into next week. Other resorts will be open this weekend. Here's a list of Michigan ski conditions.
Sunrise is 7:35 am in G.R. and sunset is 5:19 pm. We'll have a chance of light snow this AM and again Saturday AM. We don't usually have snow on the ground on Nov. 15 in West Michigan - much better chance of that in the U.P. Winds will be west-northwest and brisk today, up to 15 mph.
Here's Grand Rapids radar:
If clouds were money - West Michigan would have won the lotto! So far this month of November, Grand Rapids has had just 3.2% of possible sunshine - that's 4 hours and 15 minutes TOTAL over the last 13 days. The cloudiest month on record was Nov. 1992 with just 5.1% of possible sunshine. The average amount of sunshine in November in G.R. is 28%. December is on average the cloudiest month of the year (20%). Today (Wed.) we are down to 9 hours and 46 minutes of daylight. We'll lose another 45 minutes of daylight between now and the Winter Solstice, which is at 5:23 pm on Dec. 21. The earliest sunset is Dec. 8 and 9 at 5:08 pm and the latest sunrise is Jan. 3 at 8:14 am.
Here's a screen grab from the South Pole (2:30 am 11 14). Here the sun is up 24 hours a day and moves in a circle at the same height above the horizon. At mid-summer it's about 23.5° above the horizon. You can see some cirrus clouds. The snow and ice reflect the sun's rays, so little energy is used to heat air. The South Pole is also cold because it's at a high elevation - 9,301 ft. above sea level. The warmest temperature ever at the South Pole was +9.9F and the coldest -117F. The current temperature as I write this is -41F.
The cold weather pattern will continue into next week. The high temperature of 30° in Grand Rapids was the coldest high since we had a 30° high temp. on April 7. Believe it or not, that high of 30° was colder than all 31 of the high temperatures last March and the last time we had a high temperature below 30° in G.R. was way back on Feb. 12th.
Here's U.S. high temperatures. The high temperature at the Marquette NWS office was just 15°. That was 24° below average. The high was 16° at Ironwood and 19° at Houghton. The cold air pushed quite far south...look at the highs of 43° in Houston and 54° in Monterrey, Mexico. Florida stayed warm, with the national high temperature of 90° at Winter Haven and at Cecil Field near Jacksonville.
Here's high temperatures for the next 5 days. Even though we get some sunshine today, high temperatures will stay in the mid 30s. We'll reach the low 40s Thursday and Friday...still well below tghe average highs in the upper 40s. We've had warmer than average temperatures on just 4 of the last 33 days.
The latest 6-10 day temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center has Michigan and the Great Lakes in a higher chance of colder than average temperatures. That would be weighted more at the beginning of the 6-10 day period - with temperatures closer to average as we move into the Thanksgiving Holiday Period.
The wildfires in CA have been horrific - 50 fatalities and over 9,000 structures burned. I thought I'd show the U.S. wildfire statistics (above) for 2018 through Nov. 13th. The total number of wildfires in the U.S. is at 51,671. That is 3rd lowest in the last 11 years and 7,148 lower than the 10-year average. While California has had the worst year ever, much of the U.S. has had a wet year and that has held down the number of wildfires over much of the U.S. (including Michigan). The number of acres burned is 8,493,175 and that is 4th highest in the last 11 years. In California, the Camp Fire (named after the Camp Road) has burned almost 130,000 acres - that's nearly 4 1/2 times the area of the city of Grand Rapids. As I write this, there are 5,615 Firefighters working this fire, along with 630 fire engines and 23 helicopters.
Some media outlets have been reporting that this is the worst wildfire in U.S. history. I don't know how they are determining this - it must be in estimated dollar damage. We've had fires that have consumed more acres and fires that have taken more lives. The Cloquet Fire of 1918, claimed nearly 500 lives in a single day. Alaska's Taylor Complex Fire of 2004 burned more than 1,300,000 acres. The Great Fire burned more than 3 million acres in Idaho, Montana and Washington. Blazes leveled the Michigan cities of Holland and Manistee in what has been referred to as the Great Michigan Fire, while across the state another fire destroyed the city of Port Huron. The worst fire of them all, however, might have been the Great Peshtigo Fire, a firestorm that ravaged the Wisconsin countryside, leaving more than 1,500 dead — the most fatalities by fire in U.S. history.
Great Lakes water levels are above to much above average and that trend should continue into 2019. The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is down 2" in the last month and up one inch year-to-year. The level is 19" above the century average for November. Lake Superior was up 1" in the last month. Superior is down one inch in the past year, but is still 12" above the average Nov. water level. Lake Erie is down 2" in the last month, but up 3" in the last year and is 23" (nearly 2 feet) above the November average. Lake Ontario is down 2" in the last month, down 11" in the last year and is now 2" above the Nov. average. Lake St. Clair is down 4" in the last month, up 1" in the last year and is still 23" above the average level.
The rivers that connect the Great Lakes continue to have above average water levels. Most inland rivers have above average flow. The Grand River in Grand Rapids has a flow of 4,770 cubic feet per second, compared to an average flow of 2,370 cubic feet per second. The Kalamazoo River at Comstock has a flow of 988 cfs compared to an average of 746 cfs. The Muskegon River at Croton has a flow of 2,180 cfs compared to an average of 1,820 cfs.
This is a screen grab from the South Haven GLERL camera. You can see a large wave hitting the breakwater with the water coming over the breakwater. The lake is calming down. The mid-Lake Michigan buoy shows waves down below 3 feet at midnight with a water temperature of 45.9°. The Wilmette, Illinois buoy is still in and that shows a water temp. of 47.7°. The rest of the buoys have been picked up for the winter and I suspect the mid-lake and Wilmette bouys will be picked up soon. A big thank you to those responsible for the buoys. It's a big help to get the weather and wave data from the buoys and I really appreciate that the buoys are kept in through mid-fall.
Here's sunset at Alpena - with the pink sky and gray clouds. Here's some Great Lakes News: Naturalists expect strong presence of Snowy Owls this year in the Great Lakes. Planning a new National Park in Lake Michigan. Elusive Great Lakes snakes. $15K Check at S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald Memorial Ceremony. Tall Ships Festival returns to Cleveland for first time in years. What in the Wild. Helping ships through the Great Lakes locks. No public health crisis with PFAS in Clinton River. E. coli and floatable trash still dangerous issue. The great Great Lakes storm of 1913. Edmund Fitzgerald commemorated on 43rd anniversary. Mackinac tunnel. Dogs are being used to chase mess-making geese away from Belle Isle. Invasive mitten crabs. Walleye capitol of the world. Snowiest spot in the Great Lakes. 2018 has been a deadly year on the Great Lakes. Rebuilding the islands. Hoping to sink a ship. Manitoulin Island. Wind Point Lighthouse. Luring more women to fishing (note - my youngest daughter is a Master Angler...and my wife has done her share of ice fishing and fly fishing - tying her own flies). Phantom ship. Cold weather safety. Greenest city in the Great Lakes. Salmon cannon. Reintroducing the Arctic grayling. Mystery surrounds Lake Michigan shipwreck. Voracious alien in the Great Lakes. Scuba diver finds fluorescent Yooperlites. "Rock snot algae". Tracking trout from the sky. More than 21 million fish stocked. Invasive fish new to north country spotted. More than 180 volunteers scoured nine sites in the Lake Superior watershed during Superior’s annual coastal cleanup, collecting more than 627 pounds of garbage and about 2,000 cigarette butts and filters. Vampire of the sea. Ghost stories of the Great Lakes. Goat gardeners. International cargo on the Great Lakes up 4.1%.
Feel free to bookmark this page so you can come back and check out some of the links later when you have a little more time.
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The map above shows U.S. snowcover for Tues. AM (11 13 18). The contiguous 48-states had a 29.4% snow cover. This is the second highest extent for the date for the records I have going back to 2003. Only 2012 had more snow on the ground on Nov. 13th.
Here's North American snow and ice extent. Note that there is a lot of snow across Canada. Ice is building on the west shore of Hudson Bay (where the water would be calmer than on the east side). The ice buildup there is about a week ahead of last year. You can also see snow on the ground all the way down to the Texas Panhandle. There was even thundersnow in Amarillo.
Here's a map showing today's snow cover over Asia. At the end of October, the Rutgers Univ. Snow Lab reported that snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere was at the 14th greatest extent in the 51 years of record.
This is snow cover anomaly by year for the Northern Hemisphere. Note that snow cover has been increasing since the early 1980s. Part of this is likely due to better reporting and better satellite coverage in recent years, but observational data shows an increasing trend.
The map above is also from the Rutgers Univ. Snow Lab and shows in blue areas with more snow than average for 11/13 and in yellow, less snow than average.
This is a pic. from our Kalamazoo skycam late morning 11/13, You can see the snow on the ground and still some brown leaves on the trees in Bronson Park.
I've got a couple graphics here from the GRR National Weather Service. The top pic. shows the likelihood of at least light snow Monday night into Tuesday. There are two sources of snow. The first is lake-effect, as another shot of cold air comes across the relatively warm water of Lake Michigan. This will be a northwest flow event...so the lakeshore counties, Kalamazoo and Cass counties will be the most likely locations for the snow. The second area of snow is a system that will pass mainly southeast of our area. However, the northern edge of the system may spread some light snow generally southeast of a line from South Bend to Flint.
Here's expected high and low temperatures this week. Note that the temperatures are well below the average high temperature, which is still around 50. We have only had four days warmer than average since Oct. 11th.
The cold air has pushed down into N. Texas, where they had a rare thundersnow at Amarillo, Texas. There are a number of schools closed and delayed in the Amarillo area this AM.
Where the cold air meets the warm air, there will be some strong thunderstorms today. The Storm Prediction Center has a Slight Risk Area (in yellow) from the mouth of the Mississippi River into NW Florida.
Here's high temperatures Sunday across the U.S. and S. Canada. The warmest air was in Florida, where Ft. Myers hit 89. Orlando and Miami reached 85. It was unseasonably cold across the Upper Midwest, High Plains and Great Lakes.
We're in Kentucky tonight, on the way home from our 4th trip to Tennessee in the last 4 months. We went down in July for my mother's 99th birthday...again in August. In September, we made a quick trip down to pick up my mother's cat, which is now with my daughter #3 in Traverse City. Mom didn't think it was a good idea to try and keep the cat when she moved into a retirement home. Here's a recent pic. of Rosie:
Rosie gets lots of attention and is living the good life. This trip for to attend a memorial for my brother-in-law, who passed away suddenly in March. About 30 people came for the weekend, including Richard's two brothers. We had a dinner at my sister's house Friday night, then a full day on Saturday with lunch - bowling (it was supposed to be golf, but at 1 pm, the temperature was 37) - then a very special dinner. My sister put together a wonderful hour-long PowerPoint on Richard's life that was sometime funny, sometimes serious - many, many pictures and stories. The periphery of the room was all the pictures and memorabilia - He was a research scientist for the Oak Ridge Laboratory, specializing in environmental clean-up. My sister has had a tough year and this brought closure and a wonderful time to be with family and friends.
Sunday was an incredibly beautiful day - I checked the weather observations for Oak Ridge and they were calm EVERY HOUR of the 24-Hour Day! Oak Ridge is sometimes the calmest city in the U.S. We came down to Lake Melton (the dammed up Clinch River) for a walk before we started home. The top picture shows the flag hanging limp. The pic. above is a motorboat going by. Here, the boating season lasts long into the fall because of sunny, beautiful days like this. The high/low in Oak Ridge Sunday was 53/27. We started the day with frost and with it being sunny and calm, I was walking in just a sweat shirt in the early PM. There were dozens of people on the paved path along the lake and everyone, young or old gave a friendly "hello".
There is always a variety of waterfowl at the lake. Today, a variety of ducks and an occasional loon. You can get a big handful of pellets to feed the ducks for a quarter - well worth the entertainment value. I've had them come and literally eat out of my hand (gotta be careful - I don't recommend the practice).
Fall color down here was quite variable. Some trees are still pretty green, others are bare, many of the oak leaves have turned brown, but still cling to the trees. Lots of acorns in Oak Ridge. I do think this will be a cold and (relatively) snowy winter for the mid-South.
This is a ginkgo tree at Lake Melton. I thought it was interesting that most of the tree was bare, but the one branch going out to the right still had leaves on it.
I love car thermometers! Today we got on I-75 near Clinton TN and it was sunny and 53 degrees. We then drove north, where we climb about 1,000 feet to go over some hills. The temperature dropped from 53 to 47 (it usually gets colder as you go up in elevation). We then descended into a valley as we entered Kentucky, and the temperature rose to 55 (light south wind here...add a couple of degrees for downslope warming).
We got KFC tonight (tried to do it as healthy as we could), then came back to the motel and watching NFL football on NBC (next week it's the Vikings and Kurt Cousins at Soldier Field to take on the Bears). Monday we drive home - should be cloudy and cool, but dry for most of the last day of our trip. Gas is as low as $2.32 here in Georgetown.
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It's Veterans Day - The picture above includes my father, John Steffen (in the lower right). Dad was a professional big band, swing and jazz drummer in Chicago. He was selected to be part of a band that was sponsored by Northwestern Univ. to go to Europe and show them American big band, swing and jazz music. They were over in Europe for about 5 months. Dad really liked jazz and played in some of the clubs on State Street on the South Side of Chicago. He was known as "whitey" (white skin and blonde hair), long before anyone might have considered the term offensive. While in Europe, dad saw Hitler and knew we'd be at war with him. He came back to the U.S. saying - "there's a maniac in Germany that's like Napolean and wants to conquer the world". He said here in the U.S. people dismissed him saying - "we beat Germany in WWI - he's nothing".
Dad wanted to be a little higher up that just a buck private with a rifle when the war came, so he enlisted in the Army in 1940. He went to basic training at Rockford IL. There they learned he had taken an aviation course, so they sent him to the Air Corps. While doing maneuvers in Missouri, they were jumping off a small cliff one after the other. The guy after my father jumped too soon and landed on my dad's back. He wound up in a hospital in St. Louis. We had a 98% recovery (couldn't bring the clubhead back all the way when he played golf). The pic. above is from MIssouri (we think). My father taught gunnery - here's his men with their machine (Tommy) guns.
Dad spent about two years at Frederick Army Air Field in Oklahoma (nothing to hit if they crashed a plane). Oklahoma was dry, so some of their flight hours were spent flying to Dallas to get beer. Dad flew in B24s and B25s. The pilot instructor on B26s was George Gobel, who later became a famous comedian. Here's a clip of him on the Tonight Show with Bob Hope, Dean Martin and Johnny Carson - Gobel appears about 8:20 into the video.
The best I can guess, this picture is late 1942 - taken at Fort Bragg NC, where dad was a Supply Sergeant. He saw most of the 50 states during the war. He was pretty fluent in German and was 100% Luxembourger. His parents came from Bissen and Vichten in Luxembourg.
Here's a little summary of the Grand Rapids Veterans Parade - held Saturday downtown.
Saturday marked 43 years since one of the most famous deadly Great Lakes shipwrecks: the sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald.
In 1958, it cost $8 million to build the freighter, which was the largest vessel on the Great Lakes until 1971. It was carrying 26,116 tons of taconite pellets when it went down Nov. 10, 1975 in Lake Superior, 17 miles from Whitefish Point. All 29 crewmen aboard were lost.
You might remember the song "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" by Gordon Lightfoot.
Every year on this grim anniversary, the Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point holds a service to honor the lives lost on the Edmund Fitzgerald. A bell tolls 29 times for each life lost during the disaster.
Approximately 240 ships have sunk in the Whitefish Point area since the first recorded sinking in 1816
Here's the latest Grand Rapids National Weather Service discussion on the storm system. Breezy, temps. in low 30s with flurries at the Michigan St./Ohio St. game this PM.
Snow on the ground Saturday AM: Kalamazoo 6", Hastings 5", Grand Rapids and East Gr. Rapids 4" Hopkins 3", Muskegon 2", Lansing and Marshall 1". Where I am in Oak Ridge TN, it's totally sunny, but a chilly 36 at mid-morning.
Here's a link to current weather observations and a surface weather map. Here's current radar:
Gayle and I are on the road again...headed to Tennessee for the fourth time in the last four months. This time for a funeral/memorial for my brother-in-law, who passed away last March. He was just 62 and died unexpectedly - a heart issue. He didn't want a funeral/memorial - so we didn't have one. My sister and I scattered his ashes on his favorite golf hole in August. The family decided that we all needed some closure, so we are all getting together this weekend. As we left the driveway, a large flock of geese passed overhead, headed south.
The pic. above is at a rest stop in S. Ohio - where the fall colors are looking good. Up to S. Ohio...a plurality of trees were bare. There was an occasional tree that was bright yellow and a few red trees. We saw a number of swans flying near the wildlife refuge near Bellevue. We passed a large field near Girard where there was a full court soybean harvest underway. The election was over, but I wish I had a dollar for every political sign that was still out in the front yards. We got gas for $2.35 in Ohio. We had the usual stop-and-go through Cincinnati. We're at a motel tonight in Georgetown KY - used a coupon from pamphlet we picked up at a rest area...dinner at Cracker Barrel nearby. It's chilly - warmest on the car thermometer in N. KY was 46°.
The Michigan snow skiing season opens this Sunday at Ski Brule. The picture above is opening day last year (11/12/17). Ski Brule is already making snow and they expect to open on Sunday. Temperatures will stay cold enough to make snow at night and perhaps even through the day between now and then.
Ski Brule is located near Iron River in the U.P. They are usually the often the first ski area to open and the last or one of the last to close in the spring. The best news is that lift tickets are free on opening day, with snow sports from 10 am to 4 pm! They'll close for daytime snowmaking from Mon. to Thurs. of next week, then open on a daily basis on 11/16. This is Ski Brule's 60th year of operation.
Elsewhere...5 ski areas are open already in Colorado, including Loveland, Keystone and Breckenridge. Mt. Rose is open at Tahoe and there are several ski areas open in New England, including Killington in Vermont.
Also: Really cool "wave clouds" (Kelvin-Helmholtz clouds). Turbines kill so many birds... Snow accumulating in Gaylord. Hurricane Alcide northeast of Madagascar. Pretty fall colors. Snowman cam catches a deer and a porcupine. Severe thunderstorm wind video. It could be colder... circumzenithal arc. Nice weather pics. here. Rainbow. In Washington state, voters resoundingly rejected a carbon tax, defeating it 56% to 44%. Cool high temperatures in the U.S. in October. Tornado outbreak down south. It's been a wet year in the Central and Eastern U.S. NOAA: U.S. had its sixth wettest October on record, coolest October since 2013. Tornado damage in Tennessee.. Fall colors in Alabama.
We've been in a cool pattern. Over the last 4 weeks, we've only had 4 days that have been warmer than average. Over the last two weeks, we';ve had a whopping 9.8% of possible sunshine (my solar panels may file for unemployment!). The cold pattern will continue:
Here's a look at high temperatures over the next 5 days...well below average and that trend will continue through the middle of next week.
Here's a comparison of the Lake Michigan water temperture this year (in black) to the past 5 years. As is often the case, when the lake water is warmer than average in the summer, it cools back to average in the fall before it gets cold enough for lake-effect snow. The nearshore buoys have been pulled in for the winter. The mid-Lake Michigan buoy was still out there Wednesday and reported a water temp. of 49.3 with 5.6 foot waves.
45-Day Outlook - Cold for much of the U.S. east of the Rockies. Florida peninsula stays warmer.
Here's high temperatures Wednesday in the U.S. You can see the cold air from the N. Plains up into Canada. The warmest spot in the U.S. was 92° at Rio Grande Village, Texas and the coldest in the Contiguous U.S. was 0° at Leadville and Crested Butte, Colorado.
This is a screen grab from the Barrow (Utqiaġvik), Alaska. The sun came up yesterday at 10:59 am and set at 3:21 pm. They will lose 13 minutes and 26 seconds of daylight today. The sun only climbs to 2.4° above the horizon...so, unless you have a totally flat view as you look toward the sun, you won't see it. On cloudy days now, it's half dark even at noon. The coldest temp. in Alaska Weds. was -17° at Fort Yukon. The high/low at Northway was +2°/-15°.
The map above is the 48-hour snow forecast from the Weather Prediction Center. It shows the probability of 2" or more of snow. As you can see, there is good chance that is going to happen and a better chance of that happening as you get closer to Lake Michigan. While you might see a few flakes tonight or tomorrow, the most likely time for more significant snow will be Friday and Friday night. More snow showers for the weekend and early next week along with unseasonably cold air for the 2nd week of Nov. and more accumulating snow.
Here's the U.S. snow cover map. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, 10.4% of the contiguous U.S. had snow on the ground this AM. There is now a solid snow cover from the Northern Plains to the Arctic.
This is Northern Hemisphere snow extent for week 44 of the year. According to the Rutgers Snow Lab, the extent is 14th greatest in 51 years of record. There is a correlation between early snow extent and the degree of cold and snow we see in the winter. The year with the greatest snow extent for week 44 was 1976. Some of you will remember that was the coldest winter we've had since 1903-04. The year with the least snow cover in week 44 was 1988 and that year we were about 1 foot below average for winter snowfall in G.R. That winter was 1.5 deg. warmer than avg. in G.R.
8.5% of the Lower 48 states has a snowcover this Tuesday AM. There's snow on the ground over parts of the N. Plains and where you might expect in the Rockies. This is the entrance to Yellowstone National Park (from their facebook page today). Note the snow. As of 8 am Monday, all park roads have closed to vehicles except the corridor from the North Entrance to Cooke City, Montana. Yellowstone has 5 entrances. Most park roads are closed to regular vehicles from early November to mid-April.
This is what the Old Faithful Geyser looked like this AM. Two ways to tell that the wind has been blowing from left to right...first the obvious...the steam coming out of the geyser is blowing from left to right, but you can also look at the areas with less snow under the trees and see that there has been a little left to right wind. West Yellowstone MT was 12 above this AM - Big Piney WY dipped to +9F.
Here's U.S. snow cover. There's a pretty solid snowpack from NW Wisconsin to the Arctic - so the cold air coming down over the next week won't have much chance to warm up, except for the lake. The water temp. of Lake Superior is in the low 40s and for Lake Michigan in the upper 40s to around 50. This morning the buoy temp. at mid-lake Michigan west of Holland was 49.8 and at the Muskegon buoy it was 50.0. Both stations had 5-6 foot waves (Gale Warnings in effect today).
OK - don't put much (or any) stock in this...it'll change, but just to get you snow-enthusiasts something to dream about...
Here's the 384-hour GFS model for Thanksgiving Day. There's a deep low pressure center just east of Detroit with heavy snow falling in W. Michigan. The model gives G.R. about 9" of snow. It's windy and cold enough for lake-effect snow to add to that as the winds go more northwest.
This is a relatively cold pattern and models are seldom right that far out. What you can count on is some snow and some unseasonably cold air for the weekend and early next week. Keep the winter coats handy.
Another year! Yippee! It was on Nov. 5, 1974 that I did my first weathercast in Grand Rapids. When I started at WZZM, Gerald Ford had been President for 12 weeks. Leonardo DiCaprio, Tiger Woods and Ryan Seacrest hadn't been born yet. Everyone was talking about the Detroit Lions - they had won 4 games in a row. I must have been bad luck because they didn't finish the season with a winning record. The Oakland A's and Reggie Jackson beat the Dodgers in the World Series. Four of the five games ended with a 3-2 score. "All In The Family" was the #1 TV show at the time.
I was hired by Jack Hogan (who is still alive, retired and living in Florida - I'll guess around 85 years old?). I remember him saying "I can teach someone TV, but I can't teach them weather." Jim Rummel and Cal Wierenga were the evening news anchors. Craig James had replaced David Compton the year before in 1973. Henry Capogna and Anne Doyle did sports. Buck Matthews was doing the weather on WOOD. Craig and I did the weather on WZZM-FM with the likes of Gary Hunt, Lee DeYoung and the late Rick Beckett.
I'm guessing this pic. was in 1975. I had hair over my ears. We wore the same tan coats for every newscast - ties were wide, kind of like wearing a bib. We wore the "Skywitness Balloon" stickers on our coats. I'll guess I'm 24 in that pic. and Craig might be 30. We had the state map and the national map. They were covered by a sheet of plexiglass and we drew our highs, lows and fronts with Magic Markers. Craig and I hand-plotted surface weather maps and analyzed DIFAX weather maps with a nice variety of Venus Paradise Colored Pencils. The radar was an old black and white RCA AVQ 10 radar. We had two teletypes (typewriter hooked up to a telephone line) that gave us weather data printed on large yellow rolls of paper.
We did so many fun events...parades (I've hardly missed a Tulip Parade or Coast Guard Parade)...we took the Skywitness Balloon to county fairs...and every year we did the Jerry Lewis MDA telethon. It was hosted by (now 80-year-old) Dick Richards. Over the years, we literally raised millions of dollars for Jerry's kids on Labor Day.
By my count, I worked for 7 different owners at WZZM and now 3 at WOOD. Words cannot express the gratitude I have for everyone who has watched me, listened to me or read my words on the internet, to the amazing, talented people I have had the pleasure to work with all these years and to my family for being so supportive. It's been an awesome journey.
The coldest air of the season will bring lake-effect snow showers and below-freezing temperatures late next week. This is the 6-10 day temperature forecast for Nov. 8-12. West Michigan is in the dark blue, indicating a high chance of colder than average temperatures. Model data indicates daytime temperatures next weekend could be in the mid-upper 30s, plenty cold enough for lake-effect snow showers and probably some accumulating snow (at least on the grassy areas).
Here's a quick rundown of this week's weather: Today (Sat.) will vary from partly sunny to overcast - Sunday a chance of showers and cloudy. Most of Monday will be dry. Tuesday, breezy with showers...Wednesday, breezy and chilly...snow showers start Thursday evening...the real cold air gets here Friday into early next week with snow showers and a chilly wind off the lake.
I'm already getting people asking about the weather for firearm deer season, which runs from Nov. 15-30. The average high temperature for G.R. on 11/15 is still 48...so it's hard to get tracking snow...but with this pattern...there's a good chance that there will be at least a day or two with some snow on the ground...especially as you head north to the "higher elevations" inland from Cadillac/Lake City over to Gaylord.
Moving my 99-year old mother into a retirement home, my sister came across this old letter that my father sent to my mother in May 1950. My father was a big band, swing and jazz drummer in Chicago, then spent over 5 years in the Army (Air Corps) during WWII. He came out of the service and started working the line at Bell & Howell for 75 cents an hour...working his way up to Chief Liaison Engineer. He was incredibly kind and patient with everyone and first of all my mother. My parents had 54 years together before my father passed away in 2004 at the age of 90. My mother thinks about him and misses him every day.
The latest sunrises of the year occur tomorrow (Fri.) and Saturday. In (downtown) Grand Rapids tomorrow is 8:18 am and on Saturday it's at 8:20 am. Tomorrow, many kids will be heading to school or waiting at the busstop in total darkness or faint twilight. Skies will be cloudy and that will add to the darkness. So, watch out for the kids tomorrow AM.
The time change occurs this Saturday night. At 3 am early Sunday, we move the clock back one hour. Sunday the sunrise will be at 7:21 am and the sunset at 5:31 pm.
ToToday (Thu.) we have a total of 10 hours and 17 minutes of daylight. That shrinks to 9 hours and 31 seconds at the Winter Solstice. The earliest sunset is 5:08 on Dec. 8th and 9th. The latest sunrise after the time change is 8:14 am on Jan 3. Temperature lags the position of the sun by about one month, so the coldest average temperatures come about one month after the Winter Solstice around Jan. 20.
Here's a look at average high and low temperatures for Grand Rapids during November. We start the month with an average high/low of 54/37 and end the month at 40/28. The warmest day ever in Nov. was Nov. 1, 1950 with a high of 81 and the coldest was Nov. 25, 1950 with a low temp. of -10. The snowiest calendar day was Nov. 20, 2000 when G.R. had 11.5" of snow. Right behind that was Nov. 3, 1991 with 10.4". Nov.9 is the average date of the first measurable snow. The most rain on a calendar day in Nov. in G.R. was 2.94" on Nov. 27, 1990.
The second week of November is famous for several extreme wind events caused by deep low pressure centers. Most memorable was the storm on Nov. 10, 1975 when the ore carrier Edmund Fitzgerald sunk in the cold waters of Lake Superior. We had a similar storm on Nov. 10 in 1998. The Armistice Day Storm of Nov. 11, 1940 produced the fastest wind gust ever measured in G.R. at 80 mph. Hundreds of trees were toppled just in the city of Grand Rapids that day. The "Freshwater Fury" storm of Nov. 1913 was responsible for destroying 19 ships on the Great Lakes. There was also the "Great Blue Norther" of Nov. 11, 1911.
I took the pic. above on 10/9...an awesome rainbow over Gun Lake in Barry County, Michigan. October was a wet month in West Michigan. Here's a look at monthly rainfall totals:
Holland had almost 7" of rain in October. That was 3.39" above average. Nearly 6" fell in Muskegon (+2.85"). Grand Rapids total of 5.69" was 2.43" above average. It looks like this was the 11th wettest October in G.R. We've had 39.73" for the year and that is 7.47" above average. The wettest year ever in G.R. was 1883 with 52.14". We only had 10 days during October when we didn't get at least a trace of rain. The rain will help keep the water level of Lake Michigan significantly higher than average through the winter.
October was a little bit cooler than average. The warmest day wasa 84 deg. on the 9th and the coolest in G.R. was 27 on the 18th. It was also a cloudy month...with just 36% of possible sunshine compared to an average of 44%. The average wind speed was 9.2 mph.
Halloween saw showers and storms from Maine thru the Ohio Valley and down to E Texas. There were at least 2 tornadoes in Texas and 1 possible tornado in W. Kentucky. There were also reports of wind damage and hail.
This graph from NOAA shows historical high temperatures in the Upper Midwest from 1930 to 2017. This is actual data, not adjusted - not a computer model. Note the cooler period during mainly the 1960s and 1970s. This was a time when we had some very cold winters (1976-79) and we had a peak in strong tornadoes and tornado outbreaks (Palm Sunday 1965 - Super Outbreak of 1974).
Heavy rain from a stalled front has caused local flooding, a few landslides and at least one sinkhole. Here's some rainfall totals:
There was also some isolated wind damage, including this tree that fell on a car:
A road was closed when a sinkhole developed:
Pictures from KHON
This is a webcam grab from Tuesday PM at Utquiagvik, Alaska (formerly known as Barrow). They voted to change the name of the town in 2016 by just 6 votes. It's not really the North Pole, but it is the northernmost point in Alaska. You can see a winter haze over the Arctic Ocean, where there is now more ice than water. Barrow had a low temperature of 0F Tuesday morning. You can see a fresh cover of snow. Barrow had exactly 6 hours of daylight on Tuesday, with the sunrise at 11:10 am and the sunset at 5:10 pm. Alaska goes on Daylight Saving Time in the "warm" season, just like the mainland. The sun will set at Utquiagvik o Nov. 18th and won't rise again until Jan. 22. Today the sun climbs to only 4.6 degrees above the horizon...so unless you have a clear horizon, you many not see the sun at all. Bettles AK reported a low temp. of -8F with 6" of snow on the ground and Anatuvuk Pass had a low temp. of -19F.
Here's the South Pole Tuesday evening. Here, there is 24 hours of daylight now and the sun stays at pretty much the same angle all 24 hours. Right now that's about 14.4 deg. above the horizon. When I took this screen grab, the temperature there was -53F and the wind was just 4 mph.
Here's North American snow and ice cover. According to the Rutgers Univ. Snow Lab, North America (essentially Canada) had a greater snow extent on 9/30/18 than on any 9/30 in the past 50 years. That will be updated again at the end of the month.
Here's snowcover in Asia (mostly Russia). After a slow start, snow extent doubled last week to 2.53 million square miles.
Speaking of cool - the 8-14 Day Temperature Outlook from the Storm Prediction Center has the cool pattern continuing in the Central U.S. with warmer than average temperatures on both Coasts and the desert SW. And, for what it's worth - here's the 46-Day snowfall forecast from the European model from www.weathermodels.com:
If you can get even money...bet on a White Christmas.
A few thundershowers crossed W. Michigan during the night. No severe weather was reported. However...
The weather could be the scariest part of Halloween for parts of the South. This is the Severe Weather Outlook Area for Wednesday, Oct. 31. There is an Enhanced Area for much of SE Texas, Louisiana and a part of Western Mississippi (in orange). That's surrounded by a Slight Risk Area (in yellow) and a Marginal Risk Area (in dark green). Wind damage, hail and an isolated tornado is possible in the risk area this PM/evening. Here's Grand Rapids radar:
1:45 am - those areas that have had rain have generally picked up 1/4 - 1/2". Here's Regional Radar:
I had the chance to travel to Portage on Saturday for Fire Safety Day at Lowe's. Check out the maple trees in front of the Lowe's:
Then, I headed north to Traverse City for a gala and auction to benefit the Traverse City Catholic Schools (the dinner and auction raised approx. $400,000 - a tidy sum for a one-night event!). Here's a look at the colors at Traverse Bay:
Yellow was the dominant color and despite the gray day, I saw maples and larch trees (larch is a conifer tree that sheds its needles in the fall and regrows them in spring) that we a brilliant yellow. There was a little orange (not much) and some purple and red - check out this row of bushes at the rest stop on southbound US 131 near Big Rapids:
Color will be very good much of this week - enjoy - it won't last too long.
Grand Rapids has had 17 consecutive days with cooler than average temperatures. The average for the day is the sum of the high and low temperatures, divided by 2. It hasn't been unseasonably cold - none of these 17 days had an average temperature more than 9° cooler than average and the coolest temperature has been 27°. The month is now roughly one degree cooler than average. October will be the first month with cooler than average temperatures since April. We haven't been warmer than 60° since the 11th. We've had 9 days this month with 0% sunshine for the day. So far this month has given us 37% of possible sunshine. An average October gives us 44% of possible sunshine.
Sunday a low pressure system passed through Lower Michigan just south of I-96. South of the low, a line of showers formed along a front and that line (and the area close to line) produced some gusty winds of around 35 mph. Shortly before noon, a shower with hail moved across southern Ottawa and a small part of Kent Co., producing pea-marble sized hail at Holland and Hudsonville.
A low pressure system is passing right over Lower Michigan this Sunday PM. Here's a surface weather map (from the College of DuPage):
The wind at Muskegon was northeast...in Gr. Rapids (Ford Airport) it was southeast and at Holland the wind was west. So, the center of the circulation was likely over Ottawa County moving east into Kent County. As of 2 pm - Grand Rapids had picked up 0.18" of rain and both Muskegon and Big Rapids had 0.26". Here's radar:
The top picture is fall colors at Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior (from their facebook page).
Fall colors are a little past peak in the U.P. and the higher elevation areas of Northern Lower Michigan, but fall colors are near peak over a large section of Lower Michigan. This weekend should be a good week for viewing fall colors, despite the clouds. You'll find that aspens, birch and larch (a conifer tree that loses its needles in the fall and regrows them in spring) turn yellow - while maples and oaks can show orange and red in the fall. Here's a link to some pics. of trees in color in Michigan from MSU.
A magnitude 6.8 earthquake occurred at 6:54 pm EDT 22 mi. SW of the Greek tourist island of Zakynthos, or about 77 miles off the mainland. The quake was felt throughout Greece, parts of Italy and even across the Mediterranean on the coast of Egypt. There were 6 signficant aftershocks from 7 pm to 9:30 pm EDT - including two at magnitude 5.2, two at 5.0, one at 4.9 and one at 4.7 magnitude. Here's video of a chandelier swaying. Video was from Patras, Greece. Here's a big crack that opened up. We have seen no evidence of a major/widespread tsunami, a local smaller tsunami is possible and residents have been advised to move away from the shoreline.
Also, earthquake then tsunami from Sept. 2018 in Indonesia. 18 people, mostly students, lost their lives in flash flooding near the Dead Sea in Israel. Last April 10 people were killed in flash flooding just south of the Dead Sea. Interesting.
"Fishing in Heaven"! https://www.facebook.com/MySeaLife1/videos/266257087355307/
The eye of Super Typhoon Yutu passed directly over the island of Tinian. The island is just southwest of Saipan and has an area of about 39 square miles. There are about 3,136 people who live on the island. This storm has been a Category 5 with winds of 145 mph. It will slowly weaken, but remain a strong storm as it heads toward Taiwan. Here's the track of the storm:
Yutu is now tied as the fifth strongest landfall ever recorded globally (180 mph sustained winds). The only stronger landfall in the U.S. or its territories was the Labor Day hurricane (Florida Keys, 1935). Here's damage on the nearby island of Saipan. More damage. Before and after pics. from Saipan. Here's a close-up of the eye of Yutu passing over the island of Tinian and southern Saipan. More damage on Saipan - leaves and fruit stripped from trees. Saipan airport. Roofs off. Video of the damage. Through October 24, above normal for named storms and hurricanes, slightly below normal for major (Category 3+) hurricanes. As of today, there are no hurricanes or tropical storms in the Atlantic or Eastern Pacific. Also - 4-5" of rain on Galveston Is. Rainbow over Fenway Park. Large wildfire in Italy. Two EF1 tornadoes confirmed - one in Rhode Is. and the other in Massachusetts. Flood in Russia - floating cars. Waterspout off Greece (close).
The first ice forming on Hudson Bay - about a week earlier than last fall. Pretty solid snowpack around Hudson Bay. Snowcover in Lower 48 states at 1.4% - that's in the western mountains and the highest mountains in New England:
Check out this tabletop iceberg off Antarctica (Larsen ice shelf).
The cool pattern will continue in West Michigan. Today will be the 13th day in a row with cooler than average temperatures. We should see high temperatures below average each of the next five days:
Beyond that, the Climate Prediction Center has Michigan "in the blue" for likely cooler than average for the 6-10 day period from Oct. 29 - Nov. 2:
We should see a lot of sunshine today and tomorrow (Thu.). Here's a look at sunset Tue. night at the South Haven Beach:
We're also at the tail end of the Orionid Meteor Shower:
Unfortunately, we have the full moon to brighten the sky and this is not a particularly good year for the annual shower. As always, there's better viewing away from city lights. The meteors in this shower are tiny and move fast (148,000 mph).
MEDIA ENCLOSURE: https://media.woodtv.com/nxs-woodtv-media-us-east-1/photo/2018/10/24/East%20Grand%20Rapids%20skycam%20with%20full%20Hunters%20Moon%20on%2010%2023%2018_1540362227103.png_59997830_ver1.0_640_360.jpg
The pic. above is Hurricane Willa when it was well off the Mexican Coast. NHC had this as a Category 5 storm, though I will add that it's harder to classify without actually weather observations and air reconnaissance to confirm the numbers. Fortunately, the storm weakened quite a bit as it came toward the coast and was probably wind-wise no more than a strong Category 1 or weak 2 (actually meastured land winds) when the storm crossed inland. A Mexican weather station near Marismas Nacionales recently reporteda wind gust to 95 mph. You could see the eye collapsing as it moved inland. The storm came in south of Mazatlan and north of Puerto Villarta. This is near Isla Del Bosque, Sinaloa, or about 10 miles (15 km) south of Escuinapa. Over 7,000 people were evacuated ahead of the storm.
Here's the path of the remnants of the storm, heading toward the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast:
Here's the area of strong winds from Willa:
Farther south, Mexican officials reported 12 deaths related to heavy rains from Tropical Storm Vicente. They were lost due to flooding or mudslides, not due to wind.
The big story this week is the 4" rise in the water level of Lake Superior in the last month. S. Ste. Marie has already had 7.16" of precipitation this month. That's 4.42" above average to date. Marquette has picked up 5.70" of precipitation since Oct. 1. Duluth is +1.53" for the month. Lake Superior is at the same level as one year ago, which is 11" above the average level. Lakes Michigan/Huron droppped 2" in the last month. It's also at the same level as one year ago. That's still 17" above the average Oct. level. Lake Erie dropped 6" in the last month. It's up one inch year-to-year and 18" above the average level. Lake Ontario is down 3" in the last month, down 9" in the last year and is just one inch above the average level. Lake St. Clair is down 6" in the last month, unchanged from one year ago and stands at 18" above the century average level.
The water temperature of Lake Michigan has come down quite a bit. It was above average much of this summer, but is now about a degree below average. Saturday's wind really stirred up the top layer of the lake. This is why I don't get excited for heavy lake-effect snow when I see warm water temps. in the summer. The lake often cools back to average beforre it's cold enough for snow.
Here's a look at the Soo Locks. The rivers that connect the Great Lakes all have above average flow and that trend will continue into the winter. The St. Clair River at Port Huron had a flow of 229,000 cubic feet per second. The Grand River at Grand Rapids had a flow of 4,060 cfs compared to an average for 10/22 of 1,940 cfs. The Muskegon River at Croton had a flow of 1,680 cfs, compared to an average of 1,280 and the Kalamazoo River at Comstock had a flow of 843 cfs, compared to an average of 651 cfs.
The map above shows the water temperatures of Lake Michigan. Much of the lake now has water temperatures in the 50s. The mid-Lake Michigan buoy halfway between Holland and Milwaukee shows a water temp. of 54 at 3 am Tue. morning. The S. Haven buoy has a water temp. of 56.8 and the Holland/Port Sheldon buoy is at 56.3. Now, here's a look at weather observations at 3 am:
On the map, the temperature is in red in the upper left of each observation...dew point is lower left...air pressure is upper right. The wind is blowing into the circle, so LDM (Ludington) has a west wind, Milwaukee WI has a southwest wind. The wind at Big Rapids, Grand Rapids and Manitowoc WI is calm (a circle around the smaller inner circle). Let's focus on temperatures
The temperatures in the western and southern suburbs of Chicago are in the mid 30s. There is a bit of an "urban heat island effect", because the temperatures are in the low 40s at O'Hare and Midway Airports in Chicago and at Gary, Indiana. The concrete, asphalt and buildings act to hold some heat during the day and release it at night. We also have heat released from all the homes and businesses. We also have vehicles and planes "stirring" the air, so cold air that would setting near the ground is being mixed with air above the ground that is slightly warmer. Then the air heads out over Lake Michigan, where the water temperatures are in the mid 50s. At the mid-Lake Michigan buoy, the air temp. at 3 am was 49.6. The air temp. at the S. Haven buoy was 51.4 and at the Holland/Port Sheldon buoy it was 51.3. It's reasonable to postulate that the air temperature at the buoys would be in the mid 30s instead of the low 50s if the lake was not there and if it was land instead of water. We had many days this summer when it was cooler over the lake and at the Michigan beaches with a wind coming off the water. Now in fall and winter, the lake is giving back some of the heat it stored this past summer.
Look at the air temperatures in Michigan. You can see the warming near the lake on this map from the G.R. National Weather Service. At Ludington (airport), the air temperature at 8:55 pm was 38 and the wind was due south at 6 mph. The wind was coming off the land. Twenty minutes later, the temperature had risen to 46 and the wind was SW (off Lake Michigan) at 10 mph with a gust to 21 mph. The temperature has been 46 or 47 at each 20-minute observation from 9:15 pm to 3:15 am. While Ludington is 46 - Big Rapids, farther inland, is a frosty 30 degrees. The Muskegon Beach was reading 49.5 deg. at 3 am, while inland it was 32 in Fremont and 34 in Grand Rapids, where the wind was not coming off Lake Michigan. Farther south, the air temperature was 50.5 on the beach at S. Haven at 3 am. Inland, the Kalamazoo airport was 37 and some nearby agricultural weather stations were only in the low 30s.
This was sunset Sunday evening at the South Haven beach. In early summer, the sun set to the right of the right (north) breakwater. Now the sun has moved far to the south and daylight continues to shorten at the right of nearly 3 minutes each day. The lake still has warmth to give back that it has stored during the summer. Watch for temperatures to be warmer on the Michigan side of the lake on the coldest late fall and winter nights with a prevailing west or northwest wind. Also, the relatively warmer water will create the lake-effect snows that often mean there is twice as much snowfall in the winter at Muskegon or Holland MI than across the lake at Chicago or Milwaukee.
The top picture is a wild Lake Michigan late Saturday PM. The 2nd picture is hail on the West Side of G.R. Lightning delayed the start of the Michigan/Michigan State game by nearly 2 hours. The Lansing Airport had a gust to 43 mph as a thundershower moved in and the temperature fell 12 degrees in 20 minutes. Here's the G.R. NWS Forecast Discussion. and the N. Indiana NWS Forecast Discussion. Check out the waterspout on Lake Erie.
Some hail reports: Hail up to 7/8ths inch fell near Kalamazoo, Delton, Three Rivers, Watervliet, Eaton Rapids and Battle Creek. 3/4" in diameter and wind gusts to 40 mph with showers and t-showers in Muskegon County. Many reports of generally pea-sized hail in Kent Co. (Sparta, Rockford, Grandville, Grand Rapids, Comstock Park, Belmont) Also in parts of Kalamazoo, Calhoun, Ionia, Clinton Counties.
As of shortly before midnight, there were 31,382 Consumers Energy customers without power, inc. 5,161 in Jackson Co., 23,015 in Calhoun Co., 2,525 in Allegan Co., and 2,504 in Kalamazoo Co. That number should drop considerably by noon today (Sun.). A few trees down from strong winds in N. Illinois, N. Indiana, far S. Lower MI and N. Ohio.
When cold air comes across the lake and we get convective showers, we (on rare occasion) can get a waterspout forming (pic. is a waterspout that occurred in August off Berrien Co.). A waterspout can come right up to the shore, so be on the lookout if you're at the beach.
The International Centre for Waterspout Research has developed a computer model that tries to forecast waterspouts on the Great Lakes and their model does show the possibility of waterspouts this Saturday. Here's video of a waterspout on Lake Erie Saturday. Here's another video.
Today will be a drier day. Yesterday wwe had showers, a few thundershowers and some mixed hail. A couple spots reported a brief period of snow. Here's local radar:
The graph above from Environment Canada shows historic ice extent for the Western Arctic Region for the week of 10/15. As you can see, the ice extent in 2018 is significantly higher than last year and in fact, at the greatest extent for mid-October since 2004.
This is Northern Hemisphere sea ice - the map is from Oct. 1, 2018, so it's from nearly 3 weeks ago now. It shows current ice extent right at the 10-year average.
This is a screen grab from the Barrow (Utquigvik), Alaska webcam from Thursday. The Barrow area has anywhere from 1-3" of snow on the ground. The high temperature there Thursday was 27F and they have now been below freezing for 9 consecutive days (today, Friday will be the 10th).
This map from the National Snow and Ice Data Center shows snow cover for Oct. 18th. There is a solid snow cover down to the northern tip of Lake Superior. That's an above average snow cover for the date across Ontario and Quebec. There is also snow in the highest elevations of the western mountains.
These were the low temperatures Thursday AM across the U.S. and S. Canada. Note the chilly temps. in the teens north of Lake Superior where there was snow on the ground. On the other hand, the air conditions were running in Key West FL, where the overnight low was 81.
The latest 8-14 Day Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center for Oct. 26 to Nov. 1 continues the present pattern - with warmer than average temperatures in the West and Alaska and cooler than normal temperatures in most areas east of the Rockies, including the Great Lakes.
With the exception of some spots along the lakeshore, this was the coldest morning of the season so far and for many areas, the first frost and freeze. Clear skies, calm wind and cool, dry air allowed most temperatures to drop into the 20s. The 27 in G.R. was not a record for the date. That is 19 set back in 1976, when we were heading into the first of 3 consecutive cold and snowy winters.
Here's the Lake Express Ferry coming into the channel at Muskegon at 9:10 am - after crossing Lake Michigan from Milwaukee. Some low temps. this AM: 41 Holland Buoy and at the S. Haven buoy, 37 S. Haven Beach, 36 Holland Beach, 34 Muskegon Beach, 30 S. Haven Airport, Sturgis, 29 Holland (airport), Benton Harbor (airport) and Grand Haven (inland), 28 Mt. Pleasant, Coldwater, Three Rivers, Hopkins, Fennville, Hartford, 27 Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Hillsdale, Watervliet, Lawton, 26 Marshall, Ionia, East G.R., Grandville, Eaton Rapids, Hudsonville, Sparta, 25 Lansing, Jackson, Charlotte, Fremont, Hastings, Clarksvile, Hart, 24 Big Rapids, Alma, Houghton Lake, Belding and Albion, 23 Ludington, Manistee, Kent City, 20 Evart, 19 Cadillac, 18 Baldwin, 15 Leota.
Here's a morning pic. of Chicago taken from the water intake. It'll be mostly sunny and pleasant the rest of today...about 10 degrees warmer tonight than last night...a chance of showers Friday PM/night and another reinforcing shot of cooler than average air for the coming weekend. Temperatures should be 45-50 Sat. for the Michigan/Michigan St. game. I can't rule out a brief light shower. No big storms coming our way...rainfall for the month is G.R. is 3.83" - about double average for Oct. 18.
I'll write more later. Gayle is home from her Rotary meeting...so we're going to recycle at the Rockford landfill - get me more room in the garage. You can recycle there for free. We wait until we can fill up the Explorer, then head up there and drop it off...then go to the Rockford dam for a walk - maybe look in a shop or two. We have a banquet to go to tonight - went to the Acton Institute Annual Dinner at the JW Marriot last night - excellent food and service there - enjoyable evening.
Another shot of cold air (for mid-October) arrives today/tonight and that will set up much of Lower Michigan for a frost and freeze Weds. night/early Thursday with temps. in Lower Michigan varying from the mid-30s at Lake Michigan to the mid 20s in the cool inland areas north and northeast of G.R.
Parts of N. Lower and Upper Michigan will see 1-4" of snow. The ground is warm and the temperatures won't get very far below freezing, so much of the snow will melt on the roads, but slick spots are possible. The cool pattern should last for much of the rest of the month.
Also: Huge Viking warship found buried in Norway. Flooding in S. France. Dallas TX has had 10.62" of rain this month - already the 2nd wettest Oct. ever. They are 16.92" above average rainfall for the year. Bridge washed out near Austin TX. A State of Disaster has been declared for 18 Texas counties due to flooding. Did you know that human and animal mortality increases in the winter? BTW - I already got my flu shot. Cool pattern for the Eastern U.S. into early Nov. Before and after pictures of Hurricane Michael. It's been dry in Germany. Up to 6" of snow in Arizona. Damage in Lynn Haven FL. from Hurricane Michael. Video of snow in Vermont. Waterspout comes ashore and becomes a tornado...watch out for the debris! EF1 tornado in France. Giant pig gets loose - lured back to the pen with Doritos.
Here's high temperatures from Tuesday. It was warmer in Seattle than it was in Phoenix AZ or anyplace in Texas. Quillayute WA on the coast reached 80 degrees - the latest in the season they have had an 80-degree tempeature. The 49-degree high temperature in Waco beat the old daily record lowest high temperature by 11 degrees! It was also the earliest in the season they have ever had a day that didn't reach 50. The high was just 43 in both San Angelo and Abilene. High temps. were in the 50s all the way south into Northern Mexico. 24-Hour rainfall: 5.88" Lufkin TX, 4.62" Huntsville TX, 4.00" Burnet TX, 2.84 Shreveport LA, 2.12" Waco TX, 2.36" College Stn. TX. Bridge washes out. Dalhart TX had a low of 31. On the warm side, it was 93 in Tampa and Jacksonville and 91 in Savannah.
Fall colors in the U.P. at Houghton - from Christopher Sherman.
Pumpkin radar - from Jeff Last - Green Bay NWS
We just got back from Tennessee. We went down to pick up my mother's cat and bring it back to Michigan. Mom is going into a retirement home and it just isn't practical to bring the cat along. The pic. above is Rosie and my mother, who turned 99 years old in July. The cat is now living with my daughter #3 in Traverse City (we have 2 cats already and would have taken Rosie if daughter #3 did not).
My sister and mother both live in Oak Ridge TN. My sister volunteers at the local animal shelter and currently has 2 dogs and 5 cats. My mother didn't want a cat because she was afraid she would step on the cat's tail. Lo and behold, a couple of years ago, the shelter got a stay cat that had been hit by a car and had to have its tail amputated. So...mom took Rosie. Rosie was a very loving and easy to care for lap cat. She would follow my mother from room to room. For nearly two years they were inseparable. Rosie really loved to drink water from a trickle from the faucet. Mom liked to sit in her screened porch and read, while Rosie would sit on the table next to her and be entertained by the passing people, cars and wildlife (lots of birds and squirrels...once in a while even a fox or deer). My sister thought that Rosie would not be a good fit with the dogs and cats she already has, so Rosie is now in Cherryland.
It's hard to say goodbye to your best friend. It's happened a lot to my mother. Dad passed away in 2004. One by one, her friends from church and the neighborhood passed away. She's the only one in the family left from that generation. One of her best friends died suddenly of a heart attack just weeks after retiring. She was friends with two retired ladies in her condo complex and both of them passed away. One disadvantage to living to be 99 is that so many of the people that you know leave the stage and you're often left alone to end the play. We saw a couple of tears as mom gave Rosie one more big hug before we put her in the crate for the trip to Michigan (which we did in one day). I was apprehensive about the trip north. I hadn't take a cat more than two miles to the vet before, much less over 600 miles in a day. Rosie was perfectly behaved. She did not use the litter box on the trip, ate and drank very little, and spent much of the time staring quietly out the windows.
We're giving mom lots of love...I try and send my mother several postcards every week, along with an occasional longer letter with maybe a clipping or two from the web or the newspaper. Hopefully, she'll make some new friends in the retirement home. I know she'll be going to many of the activities they have at the home. We plan on going back down to see her in November (we may drive down 4 or even 5 times this year). We're planning a big party for her 100th birthday next July - she's already the oldest member of our family ever. and that's going back as far as we can go.
I called daughter #3 and she said Rosie was adjusting fine...liked sitting in the chairs. Since my daughter and her husband do a lot of their work at home, Rosie will have people around her most of the time.
Our cool weather pattern will continue through much of the rest of October. This is the 6-10 Day Temperature Outlook from the Climate Prediction Center for Oct. 21-25. With the exception of Florida and the western Dakotas/Nebraska (where there will be a little downslope/Chinook warming with a west wind, the Eastern U.S. will continue to be cooler than average.
We're still in the cool area for Oct. 23-29 in the 8-15 Day Outlook, though a little milder air (relative to average) is trying to push a little farther east.
So far, October is running 3.2 deg. warmer than average, even though after today we will have had as many days warmer than average as colder than average. That's because the 3-day period from Oct. 8-10 was 16.7 deg. warmer than average. Rainfall this month in G.R. has been 3.83". That's already above the average rainfall for the entire month of Oct. at 3.76". Precipitation for the year so far in G.R. is 37.87" which is 7.27" above average. It's been on the cloudy side - so far this month just 34% of possible sunshine.
Gale Warnings are in effect today for waves building to 5-10 feet on Lake Michigan. Winds should kick up to 15-20 mph with gusts to 30 mph (esp. at Lake Michigan). We'll have a chance of a frost/freeze early Thurs. and a chance of frost Sun. night. A few snowflakes could mix in Sat. night. This pattern is a relatively dry one...only light rainfall is expected over the next week.
This graphic from the NWS shows the chance of snow (even some briefly sticking snow - mainly on the grass) tonight north of US 10 away from Lake Michigan, with even an inch or two in the higher elevations around Gaylord near Lake Superior.