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Saturday will be a Clean Air Action Day. This covers these counties: Mason Oceana, Muskegon, Ottawa, Kent and Allegan. A Clean Air Action Day has also been declared for the Flint, Detroit and Chicago areas. The National Weather Service calls this an Air Quality Alert. Here are the recommended actions for the public today. These used to be Ozone Action Days. The wind will be south-southwest coming from the Chicago area. You can go to this site and see the current ozone level. Michigan has a Department of Air Quality. On Clean Air Action Days, you can ride the Macatawa Area Express (buses) for free on fixed routes in the Holland-Zeeland Area. and the RAPID in Grand Rapids).
This is the verification map showing the 8 am Weds. Severe Storm Outlook from the Storm Prediction Center and the severe reports that were received that day…all-in-all a pretty good match. Now look at this:
This was the Day 4 Severe Weather Outlook for Weds. from forecaster Ryan Jewell and the Storm Prediction Center for 6/22. How about that for a 4-day heads up on a severe weather situation! Four of the five cities listed at the bottom on the graphic had severe weather four days down the road. In my 40+ years as a meteorologist some things haven’t changed (same #2 pencils), but most things have changed and the vast majority have changed for the better. This is a good example. Both the Storm Prediction Center (outlooks, watches, tracking tools) and the local National Weather Service Offices (advisories, warnings) are giving us time to prepare for the storm.
Tornado Watch for Indiana and Ohio until 5 am EDT. Strong thunderstorms moved into N. Indiana and N. Ohio moving southeast. The watch does not include any of Wisconsin or Michigan. SPC says:
The threat of a tornado and damaging winds continues thru the early morning for IN, ON and a small part of N. Kentucky. SPC says: “SUMMARY… DEEPENING CONVECTION TO EVOLVE INTO SUPERCELLS THREATENING EVERY FORM OF SEVERE WEATHER…THEN AFTER A FEW HOURS…INTO A COMPLEX OF STORMS WITH MOSTLY A DAMAGING-WIND RISK. AN ORGANIZED…DERECHO-PRODUCING SYSTEM ULTIMATELY MAY DEVELOP FROM THIS ACTIVITY TONIGHT.”
1 am – Power outages: 3,130 in St. Joseph Co. Indiana, 2,017 customers in Berrien Co., 518 in Kalamazoo Co., 295 in Barry Co., 196 in Allegan Co., 166 in St. Joseph MI county, 142 in Cass Co. and 124 in Branch Co. 3/4″ hail at Centreville, public reports tree down in S. Van Buren Co. 1.08″ rain in an hour at Paw Paw. That’s more rain in an hour than Fremont has had in the last 3 1/2 weeks. Gust to 57 mph at Mishawaka IN, 1.32″ of rain in 30 min. at S. Bend, 1″ hail at Benton Heights in Berrien Co. 3″ hail with the storms in E. Minnesota.
Here’s today’s U.S. storm reports. Check out Grand Rapids radar, Chicago radar, N Indiana radar, regional radar, WOOD local lightning tracker, national lightning tracker, Michigan weather observations, Illinois weather observations, NE Illinois storm reports. Up to an inch of rain in Paw Paw MI so far.
CONFIRMED tornado in Illinois. Soldier Field, soccer game – asking fans to take shelter. Video of the storm at Soldier Field. Video of Troy Grove IL tornadic storm. 80 mph gust at Rossville IN. Funnel cloud just south of Chicago.
The first meso discussion is out – first tornado watch coming soon for much of Northern Illinois, Northern and Central Indiana and possibly parts of far Southern Wisconsin and Eastern Iowa. Read here.
SPC says: “A TORNADO WATCH WILL LIKELY BE NEEDED WITHIN THE NEXT HOUR FOR PORTIONS OF THE MCD AREA…STORMS ARE EXPECTED TO DEVELOP ACROSS ERN IA/SW WI/FAR NW IL BY 23Z. ONCE STORMS DEVELOP…THEY ARE EXPECTED TO TRACK E-SE ALONG A STRONG INSTABILITY GRADIENT IN THE VICINITY OF A WARM FRONT DRAPED ACROSS NRN IL INTO CENTRAL IND…REGIONAL VWP/S…WILL SUPPORT A FEW TORNADOES /POTENTIALLY ONE OR TWO SIG TORS/. STORMS ARE EXPECTED TO GROW UPSCALE INTO A SOUTHEASTWARD PROPAGATING MCS WITH A COINCIDENT INCREASE IN DAMAGING WIND THREAT INTO INDIANA”
This is the meso-discussion for heavy rain, which comes into the SW corner of Michigan. Parts of N. Illinois and N. Indiana had heavy rain last night, so the potential exists for some flooding and ponding of water in the outlined area. Unfortunately, I don’t see much rain – not only tonight, but long term – for areas north of Kent Co. where it is getting very dry. You’ll have to hope that you get some rain from the system on Sunday.
Discussion from Northern Indiana NWS at 7 pm: “KIWX radar indicating band of showers with some embedded thunder extending from Fort Wayne IN back to South Bend and up into southern lake Michigan. They are moving east-southeastward…. Additional storms now beginning to develop in eastern Iowa will become strong to severe as they move into the area after 10 pm.
Discussion from Chicago National Weather Service (technical): .MESOSCALE DISCUSSION…524 PM CDT
“The true warm front per observations and satellite looks to be draped from just south of Muscatine, IA to near Champaign, IL. To the north of this…for about 80 miles or so…lessening inhibition and a more favorable air mass is developing through surface warming/moistening as evidenced by mid 80s air temperatures over mid 70s dew points. The warm front is likely to evolve northward within this zone and already a wind shift is noted from the Quad Cities to near Kankakee. Basically between this wind shift and the aforementioned true warm front is a zone of destabilizing helicity-rich air that will be conditionally favored for significant severe weather.
Regarding inhibition and storm development, a modified 19Z DVN sounding still indicates over 100 J/kg of convective inhibition /CIN/ in the mixed layer. Initial congestus and radar echoes in eastern Iowa appear to be struggling as a result of this CIN. While there is not a pronounced short wave moving in, there is a subtle speed max noted on water vapor imagery across north central Iowa. Ascent induced cooling from this is presently favored to initiate more rapid storm growth over far eastern Iowa into the northwest quarter of Illinois. If this occurs, which is favored, this looks to be mainly isolated/scattered at first because of the amount of CIN and it may remain such for a couple hours before more growth in coverage as they progress east-southeast. These storms may initially be elevated and work their way into a surface-based threat.
As referenced by the earlier SPC MD and AFDs, the threats with initial supercells will include all-hazards and enhanced near and immediately north of the warm frontal boundary. It is possible with the southeast winds off of Lake Michigan in far northeast Illinois, that a significant surface-based threat does not materialize there.”
3:45 pm – No watches yet…first watch across IL/IN/maybe far SW MI should come out around 4:30-5:30 PM – my guess. Probably a Tornado Watch. Best chance of severe weather is across northern Illinois, northern Indiana and western Ohio. Best chance of severe weather in Michigan will be south of I-94…esp. Berrien, Cass and St. Joseph Counties.
3 pm dewpoints: 41 Gaylord, 50 Grand Rapids, 63 S. Haven, 72 along I-80 wsw of Chicago. You can watch this satellite loop to see where the storms develop during the late PM and evening.
Regional and local radar should update here automatically. The Storm Prediction Center used the word “derecho” in their severe weather discussion. The map above shows derecho climatology. What areas are most likely to get derechos? A more common path is storms originating in Minnesota or Iowa and moving east-southeast across N. Illnois, Indiana and Ohio.
Grand Rapids National Weather Service Graphic for the storms this evening. The real concern comes with storms that are going to develop later this afternoon, probably in E. Iowa. or N. Illinois They may form as individual storms…producing hail and possibly even a couple of tornadoes. The storms will then coalesce into a line. The storms may form an arc, a bow-shape. While strong winds are possible all along the line, the strong winds are usually at the apex (mid-point) of the bow and just north of the bow. The derecho of May 31, 1998 produced a measured gust of 128 mph west of Milwaukee and an estimated 120-130 mph at Grand Haven/Spring Lake and in Walker on Three Mile Road.
I’ll try and update the blog when I can. Remember TV comes first, so watch us on WOOD TV8. The Severe Weather Outlook Map from the Storm Prediction Center is in the next thread below this one. Again it looks like the more widespread severe weather will be south in IL, IN, and OH and not many storms north of I-96 today. To report severe weather to Storm Team 8 call 1-800-8WOODTV or send an email to email@example.com (we can take your pics. and videos there, too).
Links: Here’s Grand Rapids radar and Northern Michigan radar, Milwaukee radar, Northern Indiana radar, Chicago radar, Detroit radar and Milwaukee radar. Here’s College of DuPage Radar Map (pick any radar in the U.S.), College of DuPage Grand Rapids radar, Regional radar and the Updated GRR NWS Forecast Discussion. More links: the West Michigan Lightning Tracker, National Lightning Tracker, the local warning/advisory map and the Regional warning/watch/advisory map, a surface weather map. You can checkout the latest Grand Rapids NWS discussion, the Northern Indiana NWS discussion (includes the Michigan Counties that border Indiana), the discussion for Northern Lower Michigan, and Eastern Lower Michigan. Here’s the Spyglass Condos Weather Station the S. Haven GLERL station, the Muskegon GLERL station, the Grand Haven Steelheaders webcam, and the weather station at Holland State Park. Check out the links to webcams. Here’s the infrared satellite loop (night) and the visible satellite loop (daytime), Lake Michigan water temperatures (summer). Here’s recent storm reports from SW Michigan, Northern Michigan, NE Illinois, SE. Wisconsin, Upper Michigan and E. Michigan. Check out the wind and wave height at the South Mid-Lake Michigan Buoy (Apr. to Nov. only), the North Mid-Lake Michigan Buoy (Apr. to Nov. only), the buoy at Big Sable Point near Ludington and the weather station on the beach at St. Joseph. Here’s data from the Port Sheldon buoy, South Haven buoy, the Muskegon buoy and the Ludington buoy. Mesowest. Bill Steffen’s facebook page and twitter page.
Here’s the latest (updated at 4:38 pm) Severe Weather Outlook from the Storm Prediction Center. SPC will next update this map again around 9 pm. The Moderate Risk includes Berrien, Cass and S. St. Joseph (MI) counties to the south. The Enhanced Outlook runs from Douglas to Monroe Co. and the Slight risk goes as far north as I-96. Some of the cities in the Moderate Outlook are Chicago, S. Bend, Fort Wayne, Dayton and Rockford IL. The Enhanced Outlook includes Benton Harbor and Kalamazoo.
SPC 4 pm discussion says: “CONVECTIVE INITIATION IN THE VICINITY OF CID/DVN (Cedar Rapids to Davenport IA). ONCE THIS OCCURS THE ENVIRONMENT WILL BE VERY SUPPORTIVE FOR INITIAL SUPERCELLS CAPABLE OF ALL HAZARDS /INCLUDING A TORNADO OR TWO/. QUICK UPSCALE GROWTH INTO A LINEAR MCS IS STILL ANTICIPATED WITH A DAMAGING WIND THREAT“.
“WIDESPREAD DAMAGING WIND GUSTS WITH SOME GREATER THAN 70 MILES PER HOUR ALONG WITH TORNADOES AND ISOLATED LARGE HAIL ARE EXPECTED THIS AFTERNOON AND EVENING FROM NORTHEAST IOWA INTO SOUTHERN WISCONSIN…NORTHERN ILLINOIS…SOUTHWEST LOWER MICHIGAN…NORTHERN TO CENTRAL INDIANA AND PARTS OF WESTERN OHIO.” “THIS SETUP WILL BE FAVORABLE FOR A SIGNIFICANT WIND DAMAGE EVENT ACROSS PARTS OF THE UPPER MS VALLEY…SRN GREAT LAKES…”
“…INITIAL SUPERCELLS CAPABLE OF LARGE HAIL AND TTORNADOES…A FEW OF WHICH COULD BE SIGNIFICANT /EF2+/. THIS INITIAL SUPERCELLULAR DEVELOPMENT CURRENTLY APPEARS MOST PROBABLE ACROSS NORTHERN IL/FAR EASTERN IA AND POSSIBLY ADJACENT EXTREME SOUTHERN WI BY MID/LATE AFTERNOON NEAR/JUST AHEAD OF THE SURFACE LOW AND NEARBY WARM FRONT. THESE STORMS SHOULD EVENTUALLY GROW UPSCALE INTO A FAST-MOVING QUASI-LINEAR MCS…POTENTIALLY WITH A DERECHO-RELATED SIGNIFICANT SWATH OF WIND DAMAGE EVOLVING EAST-SOUTHEASTWARD THROUGH THE EVENING
Here’s the GRR National Weather Service Graphic on the event…bottom line, the farther south-southwest you are – the better the chance for severe weather. Bill adds: When SPC even mentions the word “derecho” – they mean business. I still think the most likely area for severe winds will be across northern Illinois, northern Indiana (south of a line from S. Bend to Fort Wayne) and into western Ohio. SPC will update this Outlook Map around 4 pm and 9 pm EDT. The area that is driest north of Kent Co. will miss most of the rain with this system and continue in an overall dry pattern (showers/t-storms) through next week (hope and pray that you get some rain on Sunday).
This is another graphic from the GRR NWS. This evening watch radar as the most severe storms blast through N.Illnois (s suburbs of Chicago – Joliet, Kankakee) into N. Indiana (between S. Bend and Indianapolis…watch out along and just south of US 30 in Indiana).
11:45 AM: From the Gaylord National Weather Service: “THE UPPER JET DYNAMICS, STRONGER WARM AIR ADVECTION AND DEEPEST MOISTURE AND INSTABILITY WILL ALL POWER THROUGH EASTERN IOWA AND THE NORTHERN PORTIONS OF IL/IN/OH WHERE STRONG TO SEVERE STORMS WITH ALL THE FIXINS OF HAIL/DAMAGING WIND AND EVEN TORNADOES ARE EXPECTED. WHILE THERE WILL BE SOME WAA RAINFALL THAT WORKS IN ACROSS SRN LOWER LATE TODAY AND TONIGHT, OUR (NORTH OF US 10 – NORTHERN LOWER MI) ONLY CHANCE FOR RAIN LIES WITH A BROADENING UPPER TROUGH AXIS ARRIVING MAINLY LATE THIS EVENING INTO THE OVERNIGHT. WILL ONLY GO WITH A SLIGHT CHANCE FOR RAIN ACROSS NRN. LOWER, EASTERN UPPER SHOULD HAVE NO WORRIES.”
This is simulated forecast radar – showing the strongest storms blasting thru the Chicago western and southern suburbs and moving from about 285-290 degrees to the east-southeast into Indiana. At 1p m the dewpoint was a very dry 39 in Gaylord, 49 in G.R. and 63 at S. Haven. The warm front at the surface is still well south – south of Springfield IL – but moving north. St. Louis at noon their time was 93 with a dewpoint of 70 – juicy air. Again, the farther south you are, the better chance of rain late today into early tomorrow and the farther south, the better the chance of severe weather – main threat damaging wind. The greatest risk is still Northern IL, Northern IN and W. Ohio.
This is the Tues. AM updated Severe Weather Outlook from the Storm Prediction Center. There’s a MODERATE RISK of severe storms for Southern Michigan. NW Ohio, N. Indiana, NE Illinois and SE Wisconsin! A fresh outlook will be issued by SPC around 1:30 pm. The Canadian model is out and would have the greatest severe threat across N. Indiana. Remember, climatology at this time of year shows the highest risk for wind damage at this time of year is across Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.
FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHAT PAGE: “SPC SREF guidance definitely agrees highest risk is across our southern forecast area and especially into Illinois/Indiana ..Seems 12Z NAM is continuing the 06Z’s theme of keeping the best ingredients a little more south than the 0Z runs liked. NAM4km seems to be trending that way too.”
Here’s what they say: “WIDESPREAD DAMAGING WINDS…A FEW TORNADOES AND LARGE HAIL ARE EXPECTED ACRO”SS NORTHERN ILLINOIS…SOUTHERN WISCONSIN…NORTHERN INDIANA AND SOUTHWEST LOWER MICHIGAN DURING THE LATE AFTERNOON AND EVENING ON WEDNESDAY. A SUBSTANTIAL SEVERE WIND THREAT SHOULD ALSO PERSIST WEDNESDAY NIGHT ACROSS THE REMAINDER OF SOUTHERN LOWER MICHIGAN AND INTO WESTERN OHIO.” “EXPLOSIVE DEVELOPMENT OF SUPERCELLS. VERY LARGE HAIL….TORNADOES AND DAMAGING WINDS APPEAR LIKELY AS THESE CELLS MOVE ACROSS SRN WI AND NRN IL AND POSSIBLY INTO CNTRL IL. THE TORNADO THREAT SHOULD BE MAXIMIZED NEAR THE SFC LOW…WHICH WILL TRACK NEAR THE WARM FRONT WHERE LOW-LEVEL SHEAR/TURNING WITH HEIGHT WILL BE GREATEST. OTHER MORE ISOLATED CELLS MAY EXTEND SWD INTO CNTRL IL BY EVENING…A RAPID UPSCALE-GROWTH INTO A SEVERE MCS I ANTICIPATED…WITH THE POTENTIAL FOR WIDESPREAD AND SIGNIFICANT DAMAGING WINDS. FORECAST WIND FIELDS JUST OFF THE SURFACE FROM NAM/GFS SHOW IN EXCESS OF 50 KTS…AND A INTENSE CONVECTIVE FEEDBACK SIGNAL WITH THE WIND FIELDS OVERALL SUGGESTING AN ORGANIZED SYSTEM.”?S
From the Grand Rapids National Weather Service Forecast Discussion: “SEVERE WEATHER CHANCES INCREASE WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING AS INSTABILITY COMBINES WITH VERY STRONG SHEAR PROFILES. MOST LIKELY STORM MODE WILL BE A PROGRESSIVE-TYPE DERECHO MOVING INTO SOUTHWEST ZONES EARLY WEDNESDAY EVENING THEN MARCHING ACROSS AREAS SOUTH OF INTERSTATE 96 AND MOVING INTO S. LOWER MICHIGAN AFTER MIDNIGHT. THIS COULD BRING AREAS OF DAMAGING DOWNBURST WINDS ALONG WITH ISOLATED LARGE HAIL AND TORNADOES”
The Northern Indiana National Weather Service Discussion: “GIVEN THE SHEAR AND INSTABILITY THE POTENTIAL FOR WIDESPREAD DAMAGING WINDS..THIS PATTERN FAVORS SQUALL LINE AND BOWING SEGMENTS…WHICH WOULD ALSO SUPPORT THE DEVELOPMENT OF WEAK TORNADO FORMATION ALONG AND EMBEDDED IN THESE LINES. ADDITIONALLY THERE WILL BE AN ABUNDANCE OF BOUNDARY LAYER MOISTURE AND EXPECT THAT RAINFALL AMOUNTS WILL EASILY EXCEED 1 TO 1.5 INCHES IN MANY LOCATIONS…ESPECIALLY DURING THE EVENING AND OVERNIGHT PERIOD.”
The Chicago NWS discussion says this: “WHILE THIS MODERATE RISK IS LARGELY FOR DAMAGING WINDS, STRONGLY CURVED HODOGRAPHS COUPLED WITH STRONG MID AND UPPER LEVEL LAPSE RATES AND SHEAR IN THE HAIL GROWTH REGION, AND 2 + PWAT VALUES SUGGEST THAT ALL SEVERE WEATHER THREATS ARE POSSIBLE INCLUDING HEAVY RAIN, VERY LARGE HAIL, AND EVEN SOME EMBEDDED TORNADOES.”
For SW Michigan, N. Indiana and Ohio…this looks like it will be a wind event…not impossible that we could stretch into the derecho category depending on how long the thunderstorm complex holds together. In any case, stay up with the latest forecasts on this one.
Also: WOW! Check out the hailstone that fell in Romania! Here’s what yesterday evening’s storm looked like from Homer, MI (SE of Battle Creek). You get some incredible daily swings in temperature in the desert Southwest, where I saw relatively humidities as low as 3%. Yesterday, Lovelock NV had a high of 100 after a morning low temp. of 46 and Minden NV went from a low of 39 to a high of 91! The high of 124 at Blythe CA was the hottest ever recorded there. I don’t know how long records have been kept there.
At noon Tues. it’s mostly sunny – and we’ll keep the sun this PM – temps. at noon cooler near Lake Michigan with a west wind: 79 G.R., 78 Kalamaoo, 77 Battle Creek, 75 Ionia and Fremont – 64.2 at the Muskegon beach and 64.9 at the S. Haven beach. Waves are 1-2 feet. Reeds Lake water temp. 78 (in 2 feet of water in the sun).
This was the sunset tonight (Thurs.) at the Muskegon Channel (from NOAA Coastwatch). The latest sunsets of the year occur in the middle late part of June. Both Grand Rapids (76) and Muskegon (74) reached their high temperatures at 8 pm this evening. The clouds moved south and we had some sunshine to close out the day.
The water level of Lakes Michigan/Huron (same water level) is unchanged in the last month, up 5″ in the last year and is now 11″ above the June average level. Lake Superior is up 4″ in the last month, down 1″ in the last year and is 7″ above the long-term average for June. Lake Erie is down 1″ in the last month, up 3″ year-to-year and stands 11″ above the long-term average. Lake Ontario is down 2″ in the last month, is at the same level as one year ago and is now 1″ below the June average level. Lake St. Clair is unchanged in the last month, up 3″ in the last year and is now 14″ above the average level for June.
This Thurs. evening most river levels in the Great Lakes are a little below average flow levels. The Grand River at Grand Rapids is at 2480 cubic feet per second – average is 2790 cfs. The Kalamazoo River at New Richmond shows 1,640 cfs – average is 2200 cfs. The Muskegon River at Croton is at 1,960 cfs – average is 1,990 cfs. The flow is above average on all the rivers that connect the Great Lakes. The flow on the Detroit River is 230,000 cfs compared to an average flow of 195,000 cfs.
Also: Check out the Storm Team 8 Summer Forecast. We’re predicting the warmest summer since 2012. What the Storm Prediction Center Risk Levels Mean. Lake Michigan water temps. and beach forecast. Michigan Webcams. Fisherman catches record-breaking trout that’s older than he is! Quagga mussels impact Lake Michigan salmon. Kayaking Lake Superior. Changes coming to Great Lakes Coast Guard Stations. Abandoned boats. Countdown to Mackinac Race. Four decades of Great Lakes ice cover.
Today is a Clean Air Action Day. Saturday will likely also be a Clean Air Action Day. These started as Ozone Action Days in 1995. In 2009, the name was changed to Clean Air Action Days, so that other parameters besides ozone could be considered (like particulate matter). The standard for a Clean Air Action Day has changed. It began as 8.5 parts per million (of air), that was lowered to 7.6 parts per million in 2008 and beginning this year, the new standard is 7 parts per million. With the lower standard, more Clean Air Action Days will be declared (we can have a day in W. Michigan where we get 7 parts per million transport from Chicago). You can follow the air quality in W. Michigan at this link.
The Action Day includes the lakeshore counties plus Kent County, also Shiawassee, Genesee and Lapeer Counties (Flint area). For more info. check out the West Michigan Clean Air Coalition. Here’s what you can do in the workplace…in your home…and on the road. There are some free materials available on the Clean Air Action Program. Here’s a map of ozone measuring stations in Michigan. There’s a free online coloring book you can print out.
The pic. above is from NBC24 in Toledo. A severe t-storm hit Sandusky, Ohio – downing trees and power lines and producing hail. The storm knocked down power lines on the causeway out to Cedar Point. The park released this statement: “As a result of the severe wind damage to power lines and poles on the Cedar Point Causeway, and the lack of adequate power to operate rides at full capacity, Cedar Point and Soak City will not open on Monday, June 6. Crews from Ohio Edison are working diligently to repair Causeway power lines as quickly as possible. We anticipate we will reopen on Tuesday, June 7.”
The Sandusky Police sent out this statement: “We just had a severe storm go through town. There are trees and power lines down in many locations. There are crews called out but it will take some time to get things back in order. Stay safe…Chief Orzech”
Here’s the Severe Weather Outlook for today/tonight from the Storm Prediction Center. Lower Michigan is in the General Thunderstorm Outlook (in light green). A large portion of Indiana and most of Ohio is in a Marginal Risk Area (dark green). There is a Slight Risk of severe weather from Tropical Storm Colin across N. Florida and extreme SE Georgia. A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for much of N. FL. Here’s SE Regional Radar and Tampa Radar.
Here’s the forecast track of Tropical Storm Colin – across N. Florida and far SE Georgia – then just off the coast of the Carolinas before heading out to sea. You can check out the latest satellite loop of the storm.
Tropical Storm Colin is going to cross Florida and produce heavy rain and some gusty winds, but little if any wind damage. The map here shows total rainfall from Sunday thru Tuesday. I could see a stripe of 3-6″ of rain across Florida. Here’s a link to the National Hurricane Center, where you can get the latest on Colin. Tropical Depression (formally tropical storm) Bonnie is finally fading east-northeast of Bermuda. It was a rather long-lived storm (34 advisories were issued) and produced heavy rains in E. Georgia and the Carolinas. This will be a more significant year for hurricanes in the Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico with the coming La Nina.
This is the 47th Festival of the Arts in G.R. The picture above (from the G.R. Public Library) is the dedication of the Calder sculpture, La Grand Vitesse in 1969. Look at how downtown has changed! You can Immanuel Lutheran Church in the background. First Friday on the month siren test at noon today.
The Festival logo, still in use today, was created by Alexander Calder and presented as a gift to G.R. by the artist. Festival has grown over the years. The first Festival I attended (and was emcee/host of the Children’s Stage for a couple of hours on Saturday) was 1975. If I remember right…there was the Calder Stage (about half the size of today’s Calder stage), the Outer Fringe (no power – 100% chance that a guy with a folk guitar would play “Where did all the Flowers go?) and there was the Children’s Stage.
Here’s a record of Festival weather over 46 years, 138 days, 1380 hours: We’ve had 11 Festivals with no rain (1970, 1976, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2011, 2013). We’ve had another 6 festivals with just a trace of rain. The warmest Festival was in 1971 with high temps. of 88, 89 and 89. The coolest Festival was in 2001 when all 3 days had high temperatures of just 58. The coolest Festival day was June 1, 2012 with a high of 54 and a steady rain that totaled 0.81″. I took that day off work to emcee stages. We had a stiff north wind coming right down from Hudson Bay. The Festival with the most hours of rain was 1974. The average high temperature for Festival days has been 76.2 and Festival days have averaged 60.5% of possible sunshine.
I’ll be at Festival emceeing stages all 3 days. Today (Fri.) II was at the Clock Stage from 12:45 to around 3 pm. Saturday, I’ll emcee the Calder Stage from 10 am to 3 pm and Sunday I’ll be at the Circle Stage from 3 to 5:30 pm. Say “hi” if you see me. Here’s an online Festival Program and Schedule.
Model data: The GFS has the % chance of rain for G.R. at 46% for Saturday afternoon, a whopping 99% for Saturday night and 64% for Sunday. The Storm Prediction Center has West Michigan only in the General Thunderstorm Outlook.
Thanks to the many hundreds of volunteers (including the performers) who make this free event such a special part of Grand Rapids.
This weekend is also the 40th and last Greek Festival in Kalamazoo. The Verve Pipe has the stage tonight (Fri. evening – no rain) and Rick Springfield Saturday night (can’t rule out a shower). There’s Greek dancing, Greek movies and Greek Food.
This is the temperature forecast for June 6-10. After an extended stretch of above average temperatures (May ended with 9 days in a row in the 80s), we’ll turn cooler for early next week, with highs in the upper 60s to mid 70s for Sunday – Tuesday. No frost. The average high temperature is in the mid 70s now…so even at five degrees cooler than average, you’re still at 70. May ended a little above average, but we did not reach 90. The last 90 in May was in 2012. Muskegon set a daily record high temp. yesterday (5/31) at 88 degrees.
This May brought Grand Rapids a whopping 70% of possible sunshine! The average is 56%. This is the first month with above average sunshine since last November. We were due for a sunny month (yesterday, 5/31 had 94% of possible sunshine). We had 3.22″ of rain in May (and a trace of snow). That was 0.76″ below average. G.R. is still 2.38″ above average since 3/1. Looks like May ended 1.8 deg. warmer than average. We only had 4 days when you could see lightning or hear thunder in G.R. – a pretty quiet month. I talked to a farmer Monday who told me that everything was looking good at this point and that planting should be pretty much done by the end of the week in W. Michigan. Already some corn is 8+” out of the ground.
While we had sunshine yesterday, strong thunderstorms downed trees and wires and tore a few shingles off houses in the Chicago area. Midway Airport had 0.97″ of rain and O’Hare picked up 0.56″ of rain. At one point, Gary Indiana had a dewpoint of 68 and Grand Rapids had a dewpoint of 48…Grand Rapids had a relative humidity of 27% at the same time Gary had a relative humidity of 100%…a lot more moisture in NW Indiana and NE Illinois….the storm fizzled to a few light showers in Berrien Co., but there was still a gust front that kicked up 25 mph wind gusts as far northeast as Port Sheldon. Some lakeshore areas saw the temperture drop 10-15 degrees in 20 minutes when the wind shifted to the west off the lake. (pic. from Natalie Martinez and NBC5)
This is picture of the storm over the Leaning Tower of Niles (just northwest of Chicago). This is a 1/2-size replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy that was built in 1934. One of the rare times I got to hear my brother play was a concert right at the Leaning Tower of Niles a few years ago. He played with Kevin Purcell and the Nightburners (my brother playing guitar at the link with the Nightburners). (pic. from Tom Lynch and NBC5). Here’s more Dave Steffen – this time with the Windy City Rev-Ups.
Also: This is the Pathfinder Reservoir in Wyoming. Water is going over the top of the dam for only the 4th time in the last 30 years. It creates a waterfall 200 feet high (by comparison, Niagara Falls is 167 feet high). There was a “huge” snowpack in the Wyoming Mountains in April and that is now melting. Flow into the reservior from 4/1 to 5/31 was approx. 167% of average.
Oh, Happy June!
May 31st is the anniversary of the famous “derecho” thunderstorm outbreak of 1998. Around 5 AM that Sunday morning, the storms blasted through West Michigan with winds estimated as high as 130 mph in Grand Haven and Walker. According to the Storm Prediction Center, this episode ranks as one of the top thunderstorm events in world history! A large area of significant wind damage occurred from South Dakota all the way to the East Coast. In Michigan, there were four fatalities and 153 people were injured. Not a single stoplight was working between Grand Rapids and Baldwin. The toll would have been much worse if the storms would have come through in the afternoon instead of in the early morning when most people were asleep in their homes.
I went out to visit Spencer, S.D. where the worst tornado occurred as the supercells first formed (see pic.). That small town was pretty much wiped out. Only two blocks in the entire town were spared significant tornado damage. The tornado was an EF4 and was the most destructive tornado in the history of the state. The tornado occurred at sunset and afterward it was soon dark. It was morning before some of the victims were found. A portable Doppler radar indicated winds of 220 mph with that tornado. In a town of 315, there were six fatalities and nearly half the town residents who where there that night were injured. The population of the town dropped to 145 after the tornado.
The supercells eventually formed the line that raced from eastern S.D. to Massachusetts and out into the Atlantic Ocean. Eighteen years later you can still identify swaths where most of the trees were blown over (White Lake exit on US 31 – the Spring Lake Cemetery). Here’s a radar loop from S. Dakota to Michigan. Read more here, here, and here. More pics. here. The 1998 storm was a “once in a lifetime event”. The storm line formed in S. Dakota and the line went 400 miles out into the Atlantic Ocean before the storms dissipated.
The numbers on this map are wind gusts from the storm…in red those were measured gusts, in tan, they were estimated wind gust speeds. I would be surprised if we saw an event of that intensity (130 mph wind gusts in Grand Haven and Walker) and widespread area again in my lifetime. Here’s pictures from Grand Haven after the storm.
A final note…1998 was a year when we were coming out of a strong El Nino and moving toward a weak La Nina – similar to the pattern we have for 2015-16. In 1998, there were four major derechos across the Great Lakes states…this one was the worst. Storm Team 8 will be tracking storms this summer. We’ve had a pretty quiet spring for severe weather in Michigan and in the U.S. In a pattern like this, wind damage is the greatest overall threat from fast-moving thunderstorms.
Here’s a couple pictures of my dad (John Steffen 1913-2004, probably about age 28-29 in the pictures) from WWII. Dad is the guy in the lower right in the first picture (with the Tommy-Gun, a machine gun) My father was a big band, swing and jazz drummer in Chicago during the 1930s. Side note: he played some gigs with Walt Perry (Parazaider), the father of Walt Parazaider of the group “Chicago”. Walt Sr. was a tall trumpet player. Dad played at the big hotels, for private parties and at some of the jazz clubs around 31st and State and 35th and State on the S. Side of Chicago. He was actually called “Whitey” before anyone dreamed that might not be anything but a descriptive and fond nickname. He loved jazz because it was so creative and you didn’t play the same songs the same way every time. Dad was part of a band that Northwestern Univ. put together to tour Europe in 1938 and demonstrate current popular American music. They were in Europe for around 5 months. There’s a movie very loosely based on this tour called “Swing Kids”. The NAZIs were clamping down on swing and jazz, but their definition of “jazz” was so vague that it was easy to get around the authorities by doing things like changing the name of the songs (to something like “Springtime in Bavaria”). My dad came back and told everyone that there was this maniac named “Hitler” and he “wants to take over the world – we’re going to be at war with this guy”. People here thought that we had crushed Germany in WWI and they didn’t consider them that much of a threat. So, my dad went and enlisted in the Army in 1940. He thought he’d be higher up the food chain when the war came if he enlisted early. He went out to basic training at Rockford, Illinois. They found out he had taken a couple of aviation classes, so they moved him to the Army Air Corps. He went to Missouri, living in a cold tent during the winter. During maneuvers, when the guys were jumping off a cliff one right after the other, the guy behind my dad jumped too soon and landed on his back. Dad was in the hospital in St. Louis for weeks, but eventually made a 99% recovery (could only make about a 80% golf swing). After that, though, he couldn’t be a pilot. He spent two years at Frederick Army Air Field in Oklahoma (he did fly in B24s and B25s – side note…one of the pilot instructors on Bs at Frederick Army Air Field was George Gobel, also from Chicago, who went on to become a famous comedian – funny clip at the link – war reference aboiut 14 min. into the video) – he got to most of the 48 states during the war and after that he was part of a crew that set up supply depots around the U.S. The picture on the right is probably from Fort Bragg in N.C. His brother, Felix, was the top motorcycle mechanic in Chicago (he married Dorothy Johnson from Fennville MI) and after enlisting in the Army after Pearl Harbor, Felix wound up in India with the Brits, where they ran motorcycles thru the jungles. Both my father and Felix were excellent harmonica players. Felix asked his wife to send harmonicas to India. Felix then gave them out to the natives and taught them to play American songs. My dad thought about making the Army a career, but decided to go back to Chicago to help his parents after the war ended. He put his life and his music on hold for over five years to make sure his kids didn’t have to wear swastikas and for that I am very grateful.
I’ll probably be attending our local Alpine Township ceremony at the cemetery on Vinton at 11 am. Here’s a list of Memorial Day parades. Growing up, the biggest parade in our town (Wilmette, Illinois) was the Memorial Day parade. I think my dad marched in that parade for +40 years…first as a veteran and member of the parade-sponsoring American Legion Post…then as Scoutmaster of our Boy Scout Troop…then playing the bass drum with the Grosse Point Band (which he did until he was 87 and couldn’t carry the drum for the 1.5 mile route. After the parade, the American Legion had free ice cream for everyone. Like Elisha and the widow’s oil…the ice cream kept coming! There is a sloppy joe lunch for everyone in S. Haven today.
The weather looks good today…partly to mostly sunny, low 80s inland, low 70s near Lake Michigan. Keep the sunblock handy. Both the NAM and GFS have it dry today and tomorrow with a better than 50/50 chance of measurable rain on Weds. (mostly PM). Highs mostly low 80s inland.
At noon, it’s 80 in Grand Rapids, 78 at Kalamazoo and Marshall, 77 at Fremont and Ionia, 76 at Muskegon (airport), Holland (airport), Battle Creek and Mt. Pleasant, 75 in Big Rapids, 74 in S. Haven (airporit) and 73 at Cadillac and Benton Harbor (airport). The Muskegon beach air temp. is 62.4 and S. Haven’s beach air temp. is 62.1.
No thunderstorms here in MI today, but it’ll be an active day for severe weather in the Plains States. This is the Severe Weather Outlook Map for this afternoon. We’ll have a chance of a t-storm on Weds. into Thurs. AM and again a chance of a shower or t-storm next weekend.
I went on a +4 mile hike on Sunday. Look what Ellen Bacca did Sunday. Most likely time for rain Weds. and Weds. night. Two or three tornadoes in this shot. Texas double rainbow. Haboob…incoming! Hail making I-40 slick. Sunset at The Villages (special “HI” to Damian and Lori). Video of storms in Wisconsin that missed us. Flooding in Germany (vehicles floating down street at link). Lightning with the setting sun. Satellite pic. of Northern Alaska at midnight (Land of the Midnight Sun). Tropical Storm Bonnie from 37,000 feet. This is a rain shaft, not a tornado. A skinny “tuba”. Ka-Boom! Circumhorizontal arc. Looks like the church is on fire! I-95 flooded and impassible from Bonnie’s rain in SC. Some flood reports from SC. Rainfall in SC: 8.20″ Ridgeland, 5.52″ St. John’s Is., 5.75″ Okatie, 3.9″ Beaufort, 3.56″ Waynesburo, 3.24″ Charleston. Lightning hit about 500 yds. away. Nice clear lightning bolt. Waterspout at Lake Neufchatel in Switzerland. Waterspout at Van, Turkey. Don’t just look at the amazing lighting, check out the cloud base. Colorado rainbow. Cool clouds – Madison WI. Sun, rain and oil. Multiple cloud-ground lightning bolts. Hail that looks like a snowstorm! Snow is gone at Barrow AK, except for a few leftover piles. Ice still covers the Arctic Ocean. Next sunset August 2. Another video of the dramatic flood in Braunsbach, Germany. Buildings getting swept away! Much of Europe’s had a lot of rain! Showers likely at the French Open Tennis Tournament.
“that car averaged 148 mph for 48 hours- over 7000 miles in 2 days- in 1937. Good luck breaking that record. Here’s the winning car of the first Indianapolis 500 in 1911.