FeedBurner makes it easy to receive content updates in My Yahoo!, Newsgator, Bloglines, and other news readers.
The top pic. is sunset Friday evening at the Muskegon, Michigan Channel, where there was a fair amount of boat traffic for Oct. 20. It was an unseasonably warm day across the Great Lakes. The high temperature of 81 at Houghton was 30 degrees warmer than the average high temp. for the date!
Lake Michigan water temps. are warmer than average due to the warm weather we’ve had over the past 6 weeks. Note the spike that occurred when we had the 6 days in the 90s from Sept. 21-26. The water temp. of the Great Lakes is certainly a factor during lake-effect snow (and rain) events.
The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron (one lake for lake-level purposes) is down 2″ in the last month, but up 7″ year-to-year. The lake remains 17″ above the average October water level. Lake Superior is also down 2″ in the last month…but up 3″ in the last year. Superior is now 7″ above the October average. Lake Erie is down 4″ in the last month, but up 6″ in the last year and 16″ above the average Oct. level. Lake Ontario dropped 7″ in the last month (they have been trying to reduce the water level of Ontario, after an all-time record high level was reached last spring. Ontario is still 13″ above the level of one year ago and 9″ above the October average. Lake St. Clair is down 5″ in the last month, up 5″ year-to-year and 18″ above the Oct. average. All the rivers that connect the Great Lakes have above average flow and that is expected to continue into 2018.
River levels are falling after last weekends heavy rain, but are still high. As I write this (2am Sat. 10/21), the Grand River in G.R. shows a flow of 4,100 cubic feet per second, about double the average flow of 1,910 for the date. The Kalamazoo River at Comstock is at 1,710 cfs compared to an average of 629 cfs. Areas that didn’t see the heavy rain have average water levels. The Muskegon River at Croton is at 1,290 cfs, almost exactly at the average flow of 1,280 cfs.
Also: Great Lakes ports enjoying one of the best shipping years ever. Michigan DNR nears completion of fisheries strategic plan. Reintroducing the Canada lynx to Isle Royale. Lake Superior’s high water level threatens shoreline. Marinette shipbuilder lands 584 million dollar contract. “Epic” salmon run this fall. Sea lamprey numbers up. Lakes Huron and Michigan have gotten significantly clearer in the past 20 years. Thousands of lake sturgeon released. Diver discovers historic wreck.
There’s rain in the forecast for fire-ravaged California…nothing like the rain we had in Southern Michigan on Saturday, but welcome rain nonetheless. With the rain, there will be higher humidity. Also, winds have been lighter than forecast over the weekend. When I checked at 7 pm Sunday, all the weather stations in the area were reporting winds under 10 mph. The wind at the San Francisco Airport was only 3 mph, Napa reported a NE wind at 6 mph and Santa Rosa’s wind was S at 5 mph.
So far this year, there have been 51,126 wildfires in the U.S. – that’s below the 11-year average of 55,856 fires year-to-date. For all wildfires in California there are 275 crew fighting the fires – that’s 12,201 firefighters. They had 996 fire engines and 42 helicopters. With light winds and relatively cool temperatures, they have made significant progress on containing the fires. North Bay firefighters say they have “turned the corner”. “A week ago this started as a nightmare, and the day we dreamed of has arrived,” Napa County Supervisor Belia Ramos said. Some of the fires are now 50 percent or more contained. Sonoma County officials said they will not let people return home until it is safe and utilities are restored. Crews have been working around the clock to connect water and power, in some cases putting up new poles next to smoldering trees, the sheriff said. Evacuation orders were lifted for the city of Calistoga, the Napa Valley city of 5,000.
We have a Wind Advisory in effect until 8 pm. The NWS warns: “Winds will become Northwest and increase to 30 to 40 mph overnight tonight with wind gusts up to 55 mph.” If winds get this strong, there will be spotty downed trees/limbs and power outages. There are Gale Warnings for Lake Michigan for winds up to 40 knots and waves to 8-12 ft. Stay off piers and breakwaters today.
The Flood Watch that has been in effect for the entire area has expired. A Flood Warning for Van Buren, Kalamazoo, Calhoun, Allegan, Barry and Eaton Counties. There are Flood Advisories in effect for a number of rivers, including the Grand, Thornapple and Kalamazoo Rivers.
Also – 5.4″ Oshtemo, 5.25″ Hartford, 4.90″ Watervliet, Scottdale 4.72″, 4.51″ Benton Harbor, 4.5″ Lawrence, 4.32″ Dowagiac, 3.55″ S. Haven, 3.2″ Grand Junction and 3.15″ Jackson – and it’s still raining as I type this. Rain will diminish to scattered light showers and sprinkles this evening.
Here’s some concerns for this Sunday…the heavy rain may have caused road washouts. Don’t drive into water moving across the road. Water can also erode away the edge of a road and you can catch your tire. We have rapidly rising creeks and rivers…some will reach bankfull or above. Fortunately, river levels weren’t too high to begin with. With the gusty winds today, watch out for downed tree limbs. Limbs can bring down power lines. As I type this there are 2,472 Consumers Energy customers without power.
This is what Saturday looked like at the S. Haven Channel. Grand Rapids has had 4 consecutive overcast days. The last time that happened was in January, when we ended the month with 10 days in a row with 0% sunshine.
Regional and local radar maps should update automatically.
Also: Waves to 46 feet possible with Hurricane Ophelia (not really a hurricane, but a strong extratropical cyclone) as it moves toward Ireland and Great Britain. Tropical Storm Khanun heads toward S. China and Vietnam. Full Earth satellite loop. Helicopter view of firefighting. Kelvin-Helmholtz “wave clouds“. Puerto Rico before and after hurricane Maria. Thousands of aid workers in Puerto Rico – but a daunting task. Some electricity has been restored on the island. Fall color in W. Virginia. They spent 6 hours in a pool while the wildfire consumed their neighborhood. Five days in a row with no sunspots. California tree burning from the inside. Flooding in Vietnam. Therer was a small tornado near Aurora, Oregon.
Links: Grand Rapids radar, Northern Michigan radar, Milwaukee radar, Northern Indiana radar, Chicago radar, Detroit radar, Regional radar, the Updated GRR NWS Short Term Discussion. 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 Storm Total Rainfall. You can check out 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), the buoy at Big Sable Point near Ludington and the weather station on the beach at St. Joseph. Cool U.S. satellite loop. Here’s a link to ReportIt – where you can send us your pictures, video and storm reports.
The weather was favorable Thursday night into Friday night, cool and relatively calm. As I type this at 1 am EDT Sat. AM…Santa Rosa has a calm wind and a cool 53 degrees and Napa’s wind is northeast at 5 mph and 52 degrees. Here’s current weather conditions in CA. The total number of personnel fighting the fires in N. California is 10,285. That represents 257 crews. They have 906 fire engines and 70 helicopters. There are Coast Guard and National Guard fighting the fires. As of 10 pm EDT, the Atlas Fire is 45% contained. Bicyclist escapes Santa Rosa wildfire carrying 70-pound dog on her back! (see pics. at the bottom of the link). Complete fire coverage from KRON. Pictures of the fires from space.
This was sunset last Monday from our Noto’s at the Bil-Mar camera at Grand Haven, Michigan – looking out over Lake Michigan. While we were in a dry pattern in W. Michgian from July thru September, Lake Michgian/Huron, the water level of Lake Michigan/Huron has been slow to fall. We continue to get above average flow down the St. Mary’s River from Lake Superior and many other parts of the Great Lakes have had more rain than we have had. However, the water level of Lake Michigan/Huron has dropped 3″ in the last month. It’s still up 7″ year-to-year and is now 17″ above the October average level. With a fairly wet pattern for the next week or two (and possibly into the winter), I don’t think we’ll see a significant falloff in the water level of the lakes beyond the usual seasonal drop. Lake Superior is actually up 2″ in the last month and up 5″ in the last year. Superior is an even foot above the October average level. Lake Erie is also high…down one inch in the last month, but up 10″ in the last year and it stands 21″ above the average level. Lake Ontario is down 7″ in the last month (they have really worked hard at getting the water level of Ontario down after record high levels were reached this past spring). Ontario is still 16″ above the level of Oct. 2016 and 16″ above the average level for Oct. Lake St. Clair is down 1″ in the last month, up 10″ year-to-year and is 22″ above the century Oct. average.
Some ominous looking clouds hang over the Mackinac Bridge this late morning, though as I write this, there is no significant rain in the area. The flow of all the rivers that connect the Great Lakes continue to be above average. The St. Clair River at Port Huron is running at 217,000 cubic feet per second, compared to an average flow of 177,000 cfs. The flow on the St. Mary’s River at Sault Ste. Marie is at 118,000 cfs and, while I don’t have the average flow at my fingertips today, I know that’s well above average flow. The Detroit River at Detroit is at 238,000 cfs compared to an average of 186 cfs.
Great Lakes News: Lake Superior’s high water level threatens shoreline. First-ever Great Lakes Islands Summit. 93-pound petoskey stone. Lakes Huron and Michigan have gotten significantly clearer in the past 20 years. DNR releases thousands of sturgeon. Historic shipwreck found in Lake Huron. A drop of water that fell into Lake Superior in 1826 is just now leaving the lake. Sleeping Bear Dunes warns visitors of beach full of broken glass. What you need to know to surf the Great Lakes. Great Lakes skywatches say they can “hear” the Northern Lights. A drop of water that fell into Lake Superior in 1826 is now just leaving the lake. 370 acres on Lake Huron donated to the Little Traverse Conservancy. Ohio’s oldest shipwreck. Economic boom in Traverse City. Photographing Great Lakes shipwrecks. Unknown black substance threatens minnows. Lake Michigan is deadliest Great Lake. DNR releases stocking numbers.
Current water temps: S. Haven Buoy 60.0, Port Sheldon 62.1, Muskegon 62.6, Ludington 61.7, Wilmette IL 59.2, Reeds Lake in East Gr. Rapids 65. The bond between beer and Lake Michigan.
You’ve probably seen the story of the ice cream truck that got crushed by a falling tree in Kalamazoo on Saturday. I checked the weather observations from the weather station at the Kalamazoo Airport and they had a peak wind gust of 36 mph. The airport is about four miles east-southeast of where the tree fell. While it’s not impossible that the wind could have been a little stronger on Springmont Ave. – the better chance is that gusts of 30-36 were more likely in that neighborhood. Normally, gusts like that are not strong enough to bring down whole trees or even large branches. If you look at the video we showed Monday evening, you can see the tree was pretty rotten and due to fall. Kalamazoo didn’t have a wind gust over 30 mph from Sept. 17. During that time it was hot and dry with less than a quarter of an inch of rain from Sept. 20-Oct. 5.
I saw this very thing happen when I was in college. I used to ride by bicycle to the zoo in Madison WI and find a quiet place to read and study. On a warm, sunny fall day with only a faint breeze, I saw a very large limb come crashing to the ground, barely missing a little girl (and an elephant, who seem quite unfazed by the event). Same thing…the limb was rotten inside and it weakened to the point where it came down, even in a wind of less than 10 mph. This article says “they can come crashing down even on a calm day, according to the USDA Forest Service”
I’m glad the driver and the girls were OK.
There was a large power outage that included much of the city of Grand Rapids, including the downtown and much of the northwest side of town. There are nearly 7,500 customers affected, including Art Prize. The outage meant that many traffic lights are not working. Several radio stations were not broadcasting. It was an equipment malfunction, a major voltage line that is out. The outage was not weather-related. Power came back on in most areas by 6:30 pm They delayed opening the doors to the Van Andel Arena for the Griffins game due to the power outage.
Hurricane Nate – was the only tropical storm in the world on Saturday.. It’s unusual that we don’t have more tropical activity in the N. Hemisphere in the first week of October. The latest name on the 2017 list of tropical storm names is “Nate”, the 15th named storm of the year. The Hurricane Center has the track of “Nate” moving northeast as it weakens to a depression and eventually heads toward New England. Damage has been minimal compared to Harvey, Irma and Maria. The storm was moving relatively fast and that cut down on rainfall totals and flooding.
Hurricanes in the Southeast U.S. tend to pump up the ridge to the northwest of them…often giving West Michigan a couple warm, dry days…that should be the case again with Nate. Don’t rule out an 80-degree day or two. Looks warm Sun. thru Tues. Cooler next Weds. Still no sign of any really cold air.
This is the projected path of “Nate”, moving onshore over the weekend.
Here’s the hurricane and tropical storm tracks so far in 2017. The ACE Index – a measure of the number and intensity of tropical storms year – is at 239% year-to-date for the Atlantic/Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico. BUT, that’s the only one of the world ocean sectors that is above average this year. The Western Pacific has been unusually quiet…so the Northern Hemisphere ACE Index is at 100% (right at average) and if you add in the S. Hemisphere…the global ACE Index is at 87% (below average).
Look at the heavy rain that’s fallen in east-central Florida. This is Sunday thru 10 pm and it’s still raining hard. Here’s live local radar. This rain comes just 3 weeks after Hurricane Irma left very heavy rain and flooding in the area. Here’s a summary of heavy rain totals from Irma.
The Army Corps of Engineers is paying close attention to the dams and dikes of Lake Okeechobee. The level of the lake was 16.3 feet and rising. This is the highest level in over 10 years. Since Hurricane Irma, the lake level has risen over 2 1/2 feet. At 17 feet, they do daily inspections of the dams and dikes. They are releasing as much water as possible from the lake. At a lake level of 21 feet—a 1-in-100-year flood event—a dike failure would be likely at one or more locations. In the event of a dike failure, waters from Lake Okeechobee would pass through the breach—uncontrollably—and flood adjacent land. Flooding would be severe and warning time would be limited. And with 40,000 people living in the communities protected by the Herbert Hoover Dike, the potential for human suffering and loss of life is significant.
In other Florida news…Disneyworld is 46 years old. I’ve been there about 5 times. My father wanted to go right when it opened, so we went in about 1972. That’s back when they had “A”, “B”, “C”,”D” and “E” tickets for the rides…that’s after you bought a ticket for admission ($3.75 when it opened) and a ticket for the monorail. Here’s a little on the early history of Disneyworld. We went there on our honeymoon in 1978 and we took the kids there one year. I was there for the 25th anniversary of the park as a celebrity! Several years ago I went down with daughter #3 and her family. Fun place, but expensive.
We have a very nice flyover of the International Space Station tonight here in West Michigan at 8:28 pm. Look to the WSW and the Space Station will appear just a little above the horizon. It’ll climb to nearly overhead (76 degrees) and then move to the northeast, where it will fade into the Earth’s shadow as it gets close to the horizon. The Space Station should be visible for five minutes and skies should be partly cloudy. While there are a good number of decent flyovers in the next 2 weeks, the flyover tonight is the longest and climbs the highest overhead. Check out the schedule at flyovers of the Intl. Space Station in West Michigan at this link.
Here’s a link to a map that shows where the space station is right now (takes a little while to open the page). Here’s another tracking map with the position of the sun. The Space Station circles the globe about every 93 minutes. It’s about the size of a football field and flies about 220 miles above the ground, about the distance between Grand Rapids and Indianapolis.
Check out www.spaceweather.com for details on auroras, the number of sunspots, asteroid approaches and more. Sky and Telescope’s Sky at a Glance will show you the current position of the moon and planets. You can also get the latest on West Michigan astronomical events from the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Assn. Pic is the northern lights near Luther MI on 5/8/16
A major accident has closed I-96 at Pleasant Valley Road in Livingston County. A semi hit the bridge. The bridge will have to be demolished and rebuilt. Until the bridge is demolished, I-96 will be closed east of US 23. Open bids will take place tonight/early tomorrow in order to get work started asap. Here’s video from the scene.
The two pictures above contrast the electricity on Puerto Rico before and after Hurricane Maria. It’ll be a very slow process to get the electricity back on. You can’t just drive utility trucks from other parts of the country to Puerto Rico like we’ve done in Texas and Florida.. It’ll take time to get poles to the island to replace the thousands that were destroyed in the hurricane. Puerto Rico is about 4 times the size of Kent County, Michigan, bigger than Rhode Island, but smaller than Connecticut. It’s a U.S. Commonwealth and Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. The government was already drowning in debt (over 70 billion dollars – which comes to around $20,000 per person), partly due to pension obligations (see Illinois). Maria was a high-end category 4 storm. Winds over 100 mph hit much of the island, followed by massive flooding that destroyed roads and hundreds of homes.
The island’s National Weather Service Doppler Radar was destroyed by the storm. Doppler radars like this cost several million dollars. The nearest functioning weather radars now are on Cuba and Antigua. It’s estimated that repair or replace this unit will take 3-6 months.
“FEMA said it had more than 700 staff on the ground in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. They were helping coordinate a federal response that now includes more than 10,000 federal personnel spread across the two Caribbean archipelagos.” There are 16 U.S. ships moving supplies and 10 more are being added in the next couple days. A priority has been to make sure hospitals have electricity (often that means generators). Emergency delivery of fuel is also a priority as well as clearing and repairing roads and working on communications (a number of cell towers were toppled by the storm). There are also security issues to deal with. There have been local reports of “widespread looting”. (see pictures of the damage at the link).
The Coast Guard has been busy in Puerto Rico. The Coast Guard reports the ports of Guayanilla, Salinas, and Tallaboa are fully open, and the ports of San Juan, Fajardo, Culebra, Guayama, and Vieques are open with restrictions. Pic. is Coast Guard personnel unloading supplies at the San Juan Airport.
The American Red Cross is working with government partners to distribute meals and water. Red Cross disaster responders from Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Finland, Denmark, and Spain are in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Florida helping with relief efforts. A U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) mobile communications team arrived in Puerto Rico to help improve communications across the storm-impacted area. USCG personnel continue to deliver critical FEMA relief supplies to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has more than 670 personnel engaged. Temporary Emergency Power assessments are underway in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. With 83 generators in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and nine generators are installed. An additional 186 generators are en route to the impacted area. USACE deployed debris experts to assist local authorities with debris management strategies in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands.
The U.S. National Guard Bureau (NGB) is responding to Hurricane Maria’s devastation with more than 2,500 Guard members on the ground in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Priorities for the National Guard are moving food and water to those in need, augmenting local law enforcement to ensure community safety, and providing engineer support to help rebuild essential infrastructure.
The U.S. Northern Command’s (NORTHCOM) USS Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group conducted a combined eight medical evacuations, 148 airlifts, and delivered 44,177 pounds of relief supplies and cargo to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The DoD returned the mobile communications tower to enhance air traffic control capabilities at St. Thomas International Airport.
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) deployed 139 personnel to assist communities recovering from Hurricanes Maria and Irma. A New York Power Authority team is continuing to work with PREPA on damage assessments and power restoration efforts to critical facilities. 60 helicopters have been sent from Fort Campbell, Kentucky to distribute supplies to the island.
From the PBS Newshour Monday night: “GOV. RICARDO ROSSELLO (D): “First of all, we are very grateful for the administration. They have responded quickly. The president has been very attentive to the situation, personally calling me several times. FEMA and the FEMA director have been here in Puerto Rico twice. As a matter of fact, they were here with us today, making sure that all the resources in FEMA were working in conjunction with the central government. We have been working together. We have been getting results.”
It’s bad…it’s very bad…but there is a massive response going on now by the Federal Government and private relief organizations.
Hard to believe…this heat wave will leave…but in 3 months I perceive…it’ll be Christmas Eve! (my poetic contribution to ArtPrize).
Look at the boats out at the Muskegon Channel.
The S. Haven beach is busy, too – lots of boats and lots of people on the beach. We’re up to 92 in G.R., setting a record high temp. for the date for the fourth day in a row. It’s 80s to low 90s statewide. The coolest temp. was at Manistique, where the south wind comes down the length of Lake Michigan. At 1 pm, the water temp. at Reeds Lake was 78. Buoy water temps: S. Haven 71.4, Port Sheldon 70.5, Muskegon 70.2 and Ludington 69.4. The mid-Lake Michigan buoy has a water temp. of 70.9. Waves were 0.7 feet at the mid-Lake Michigan buoy, the S. Haven buoy, the Muskegon buoy and the Ludington buoy. The Port Sheldon buoy reports waves at 1.0 feet. After a cool start to the month…Sept. is now averaging 2.7 deg. warmer than normal in G.R. Today is the 17th day in a row without measurable rain in G.R.
Here’s a webcam from just east of Evanston Wy. – they report moderate snow and a temp. of 33 deg. Fort Bridger also has moderate snow and 33 deg. The warmest temp. in the state of WY at 1 pm EDT was 47 at Jackson where the sun was shining and they had a north wind at 17 mph. 4.4% of the contiguous U.S. had snow on the ground this AM.
Storm Team 8 is tracking Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Lee. Maria is a minimal hurricane with peak winds of 80 mph.
Hurricane Maria is moving northward at about 7 mph. That movement should continue for another day, then the storm will turn northeast and head out toward the middle Atlantic. It’s giving the Outer Banks a couple days of brisk winds, showers and high surf. Here’s the Public Advisory on Maria.
Lee has regenerated into a hurricane (see pic. above) with a pretty well-defined eye. The storm is far out in the Atlantic and no threat to land.
Tropical Storm Pilar has dissipated. Here’s the last Public Advisory on Pilar.
Some interesting notes on our heat wave in the thread below this one…so read on if you have a minute.