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The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for Ottawa, Allegan, Van Buren and Kalamazoo Counties from midnight tonight to 4 pm on Friday. It’s a Winter Weather Advisory for Muskegon, Newaygo, Kent, Barry and Calhoun Counties also from midnight to 4 pm Friday. There’s a Winter Storm Watch for Berrien, Cass and St. Joseph (MI) Counties from late Weds. night through Thurs. night and a Winter Weather Advisory from 3 am to 2 pm Friday for Branch Co. (MI) and Steuben, Elkhart and St. Joseph (IN0 Counties. The warning counties can expect bands of up to 10″ of snow (locally a few spots will be higher) and 3-6″ for the advisory counties with less than 3″ as you go east toward Lansing and Alma. We’ll also have significant drifting snow with winds of 15-25 mph and gusts above 30 mph. Roads will be snow covered and slippery and visibilities will be close to zero in some of the stronger snow showers. The heaviest snow will develop overnight (in most areas around or after midnight) and continue into late Friday. Lighter snow showers are likely Saturday with a general 3-6″ snowfall Sat. night into Sun. AM. Cold air to follow that with snow showers and at least light additional accumulations on Monday and Tuesday. High temps. will be in the low-mid 30s today, upper 20s Thurs. – Sat…low-mid 30s on Sunday, 20s on Monday…and we could see a couple days next week when we could see daytime temps. stuck only in the teens. Ski areas will not only get natural snow, but they’ll really be able to crank up the snow guns. The cold, snowy pattern could continue through much of the rest of December.
Up north – there’s a Winter Storm Warning for Manistee, Wexford, Leelanau, Grand Traverse, Antrim and Kalkaska Counties from midnight to 3 pm Friday for up to 10″ of snow with Winter Weather Advisories for Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Emmet, Otsego, Crawford and Missaukee Counties. Heavy snow will also fall in the U.P.
Links: Here’s Grand Rapids radar and Northern Michigan radar, Milwaukee looping radar. Regional radar and the Updated GRR NWS Short Term Discussion. More links: 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, the West Michigan Lightning Tracker, National Lightning Tracker, the local warning/advisory map and the National 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 weather station, and the weather station at Holland State Park. Check out the links to webcams. Here’s theinfrared 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.
The G.R. National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch from late Weds. night thru Friday afternoon. This is their graphic on the storm. We don’t know exactly where the heaviest snow will fall yet, but Allegan/Van Buren is a good guess at this point, along with the area up north from Wellston to near Cadillac/Kalkaska/Mancelona The watch is for Mason, Lake, Oceana, Ottawa, Allegan, Van Buren and Kalamazoo Counties and north to Northwest Lower MI. Watches are issued by county, so remember that not all parts of a particular county may see the heavy snow. In Ottawa Co., the heaviest snow is more likely in the Holland area, less likely in Marne. Also, if you are in far SW Kent Co. and SW Barry Co, Berrien and Cass County, you are close and you could be added to the Winter Storm Watch/Warning later, or at least come under a Winter Weather Advisory. The watch is for heavy lake-effect snow which could total a foot or more in the heaviest bands, along with a little blowing and certainly some drifting snow. All areas will see at least some snow and all areas should see some slick driving, though it’ll be tougher in the areas that get the heavier snow. Snowfall rates could be as high as 1-2″ an hour in the heaviest bands and visibilities could drop to near zero. Winds will be west at 15-20 mph today, tonight and tomorrow with gusts to 30 mph.
There is also a Gale Watch for northern Lake Michigan and that may have to be expanded south. We could all get another 3-6″ of snow on Sunday from a passing low pressure center and cold weather plus lake-effect snow showers to follow that on Monday/Tuesday. The afternoon European model gave G.R. a low of -8F on 12/16 – probably too cold, but this is a chilly, snowy pattern from late tomorrow maybe all the way to Christmas. There will also probably be some schools closed on Friday…but too early to see where that could be…so kids – do your homework! Stay up on later forecasts. Matt and Terri are doing team coverage on DAYBREAK.
This is the afternoon run of the GFS model forecast for Sunday morning, showing low pressure coming right up over West Michigan. This system looks similar to the system last Sunday, which brought our area 3-6″ of snow. More snow showers and additional at least light accumulations are likely on Monday. Even colder air is possible next week, when we could see a day or two with daytime temperatures only in the teens. Cold air is blasting into most of the U.S.
Here’s high temps. from Tuesday (click on the image to enlarge). There’s cold air to our west that’s headed our way. HIgh temps. included zero at Cutbank, Montana, 4 at Dickinson ND, 5 at Jackson WY and 9 at Buffalo SD. It was cool in the West with highs of 65 in Phoenix and 62 in San Diego. Quite a temp. contrast in Texas from 91 at Hebbronville in S. Texas to 37 at Dalhart in the Texas Panhandle.
Also: Pretty winter scenes in MN. Timelapse of snow accumulation in ND. Wow! -50 deg. this morning at Chalkyitsik AK – Fort Yukon AK was -45 at 6 pm local time! Blizzard warnings in the Dakotas. A strong tropical storm or weak hurricane will move into eastern Indiathis coming weekend. Cold pattern through next week. Dozens dead, hundreds injured in magnitude 6.5 e-quake in Indonesia. “Frozen Wave” coming off Lake Baikal in Russia (due to strong wind – listen to the sound the ice makes). Sun pillar at sunset. Flooding in Sicily. Blizzard warnings continue over North Dakota and western Minnesota into tonight. Numerous interstates are shut down. KaBoom.
The map of Hawaii above shows the watches, warnings and advisories out for Hawaii. The entire island chain is under a Flash Flood Watch through this (Sunday) afternoon. That’s in the dark green color. On the Big Island – there are two reddish dots – that’s where there is a Winter Storm Warning in effect through Sunday night. This is the higher elevations of the mountains Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. The warning calls for an additional 6-12″ of snow – on top of the snow they have already received, which is up to two feet. The warning is for elevations above 8,000 feet and calls for strong 15-30 mph winds and higher gusts and visibilities that may fall below 1/4 mile. There is also a High Surf Advisory and a Small Craft Warning. You can see the snow on Mauna Loa webcams here when there is daylight. 24-Hour rainfall totals as of 8:45 pm Sat. included 2.65″ at Mt. Waialeale and 1.20″ at Hilo.
Wow! Lots going on here. The death toll from the Gatlinburg Fire is now 7 (all adults), with at least 3 missing (a young wife and her two children). Three dead at Chalet Village, one at the Traverler’s Motel. There have been over 50 injured, some of them critically. Over 700 structures were burned in the fire. The fire has consumed 15,700 acres. We had a steady and heavy rain overnight into midday today (Weds.). Knoxville has had 4.32″ of rain and we may go over 5″ in 24 hours by the time it ends this evening. Decatur has had 6.6″. The rain has certainly helped fire fighters. There was a lot of severe weather from LA up thru E. Tennessee. Here’s an airplane view of the storms/rain. Here’s how the Gatlinburg fire spread – still looking like arson. 1:40 pm – Tornado confirmed near Atlanta GA. Waterspout at Destin FL. Here’s severe reports from Tennessee. At least 20 were injured in the Athens TN tornado.
We had tornado warnings all around us last night. Five fatalities in yesterday’s tornadoes. There were 3 fatalities at Rosalie AL and 4 critically injured. A tornado touched down in Athens, south of Knoxville. There were 20 injured there, with 8 admitted to the hospital. Roofs are off, with trees and power lines down. We had 27 reported tornadoes yesterday (Tue.). It’s warm here, 62 degrees in the rain, but cooler air is coming. (pic. from WATE). Pic. of tornado damage – house thrown 40 yards! Ka-Boom! Tornado in S. Africa. Tornado in Bolivia. Damage in Ocoee TN. Tornado in Destin FL this PM. Tornado in Miramar Beach FL.
There are tornado watches out now for much of Georgia, Alabama and NW Florida. SPC outlook areas and watches were quite good yesterday.
Also: From Dr. Judah Cohen: “What a difference a year makes- weaker
#polarvortex, warmer #Arctic and #colder continents in 2016 vs 2015.” Bettles AK was -44F this AM – very cold for Nov. Still some nice fall color around here (pic. from N. Alabama). Greece buried in snow. Turkey buried in snow. Tropical Cyclone NADA heads into S. India. 17″ of snow in Bismarck ND.
Remarkable cold blob in North Pacific. Southern Oceans also consistently have stayed colder than average. Weak La Nina (colder than average water along the Equator in the Pacific Ocean. If/When the upper flow pushes that Alaska air into the Great Lakes…we’ll get cold and probably some very healthy lake-effect snow.
You know, it bugs me when I see meteorologists on TV with their sleeves rolled up during a storm situation. It’s all for show and I’ll bet some consultant told them to do that. Storm Team 8 works just as well without taking time to roll up our sleeves.
CFSv2 Forecast model has flipped from warm winter to cold winter for much of N. America (as I thought it would).
Today marks the end of the hurricane season. The Atlantic/Caribbean had 15 named storms, 7 of which became hurricanes. Here’s a summary of the Eastern and Central Pacific Hurricane Season. US intense hurricanes: 1900-1958 (59 yrs)= 45 1959-2016 (58 yrs)= 33 27% reduction 2006-2016 (11 yrs)= 0
There are 3 fire fatalities – all separate, including a lineman that had a tree fall on him. At least 3 others are missing, a mother and 2 children. Over 250 buildings have been destroyed. Before and after pics of the Westgate Resort. The mayor of Gatlinburg lost his house and his +30 year old business. The fire that reached Gatlinburg burned approx. 15,000 acres, traveling nearly 9 miles, pushed along by a strong south wind. List of what has burned. Video of dozens of homes burnt to the foundation near Gatlinburg. Video of driving down the main street in Gatlinburg. Power is out in Gatlinburg (no stop lights). There are about 11,500 customers without power, which is much of the county. Level 3 State of Emergency remains in effect. The National Guard was called out and is working the situation. Fire departments from Knoxville, Oak Ridge and dozens of other jurisdictions have sent crews to help fight the fires. Fire aftermath video. Hundreds of structures damaged and destroyed by the wildfires, according to local emergency management officials. One many has already been charged with arson. Westgate Resorts is mostly gone, with more than 100 buildings destroyed. Black Bear Falls has lost almost every cabin. Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) estimates more than 14,000 residents and visitors evacuated. A number of people have been critically injured (one report said 15 injured). Three people are at one local hospital with “serious burns”. The (approx. 11,000) animals at Ripley’s Aquarium are safe. The Dollywood complex is OK. About 1/2 of the 10,000 square acre Gatlinburg area has been impact by the fire. Crews worked to save as much of the town as possible Mon. night/Tuesday. A no-fly area has been set up over the fire scene. Just NW of Gatlinburg, dozens of homes and condos have been destroyed. Fire ramping up in places again this PM. The Tree Tops Resort has been destroyed (perhaps 30 buildings just in that complex). There are over 125 National Guard deployed. Blackhawk helicopters have been working the fire, dropping water and helping with evacuations and placing fire crews. Here’s the fire at the Bent Creek Golf Course. Workers still trying to clear fallen trees and debris from roads. Home destroyed. Loveable baby bear rescued.
LEVEL 3 STATE OF EMERGENCY HAS BEEN DECLARED IN E. TENNESSEE. So sad to read THIS. WATCH THIS VIDEO and NOTE THE BURNING HOUSES! FROM TENNESSEE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: 30 STRUCTURES ON FIRE IN GATLINBURG TN. – INCLUDING A 16-STORY HOTEL! (Pic. from WATE). Dozens of wildfires are raging in the Southeast tonight. Strong south winds are pushing the fires along at a rapid rate. Worst fire near Gatlinburg TN. Unconfirmed reports of +35 structures on fire as I write this, including homes. A weather station near Gatlinburg (Roaring Fork) reported a temperature of 118 with a SSW wind of 43 mph – peak gust of 69 mph. Obviously, the station was quite near the fire. Pic. of cars fleeing rapidly moving wildfire. E. Tennessee residents are being urged to stay off cellphones except for emergency. Fire approached Gatlinburg from the south. MAP of affected areas around Gatlinburg. Chapel is gone. Sleepy Bear Motel burning to the ground. Famous Arts and Crafts School destroyed. 30-minute livestream of fires. Full 5 minutes of the Luciano video. Gatlinburg Home Center burning. 5 am and the Daily Mail in London has better coverage than the mainstream media in in the U.S. This is from the BBC. The main road into Great Smoky Mountains Natl. Park is closed. Look at this pic. Here’s the fire as it came into Gatlinburg from the south. Early Tue. AM – 12,509 customers are without power in Sevier Co. TN and another 24,000+ from storms and high winds in Alabama. At this time it is only speculation, but authorities are hinting that there is evidence that this fire and others were arson. Here’s video of the flames devouring the Westgate Resort. More video of the Gatlinburg fire. Pi Beta Phi Elementary School has been destroyed. Getting word that Hillbilly Golf has been consumed by the flames. Over 100 homes may have been destroyed in the blaze so far. More pics. Evacuating as the fire reaches the road! Orange glow in the distance at daybreak.
(click to enlarge) Thousands of residents are under mandatory evacuation orders tonight, including downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee. This is what Gatlinburg looked like at sunset. This is near Gatlinburg in the late evening. This is the fire moving into the Park Vista Hotel (a Hilton Hotel) near Gatlinburg. More video. You can see the smoke (and embers) on radar. The smoke from the fires is moving bottom to top, south to north on the radar image. You can also see rain approaching from the west. I am about 50 miles to the west of the fire in Oak Ridge. It is raining lightly here and the rain is moving toward the fires. Nearby Sevierville had a gust to 53 mph shortly before 10 pm. A gust to 60 mph was reported at Cedar Creek TN – Trees have been down in Maryville and in Greene Co. – these are not t-storm gusts. A High Wind Warning is in effect until 7 am. FEMA and the National Guard have been deployed. 50 firefighters (and equipment) have been dispatched from Knoxville to the fire area. A crew of firefighters from here in Oak Ridge was dispatched to the fire area later today. There are power outages in the area.
This is a radar image. West of Knoxville the image shows rain (moderate rain in yellow). The rain is moving west to east (left to right in the image). East of Knoxville you are looking at smoke particles and embers reflecting the radar signal back to the radar site. That smoke is moving south to north (bottom to top). Here’s current regional radar and local Knoxville radar.
This is a map showing Gatlinburg on the north edge of Great Smoky Mtns. National Park. I’m just west of Knoxville, visiting my mother. Four counties in E. Tennessee have now cancelled all schools for tomorrow (Greene, McMinn, Cocke, Sevier). Pic. of smoke in Gatlinburg area. The big hotel at Dollywood has been evacuated. Thousands of aquatic and other animals have been left behind. Ripley’s Aquarium has been evaculated, animals could not be evacuated. The power is off now in much of the wildfire area.
6 am update from the Tennessee Emergency Management:
• The State Emergency Operations Center remains activated tonight with numerous state and non-profit agencies coordinating resources to assist Sevier County’s wildfire response and to help in protecting lives and property.
• Wildfires still burning in Sevier County with heavy smoke beginning to settle in parts of the County.
• Sevier County residents can indicate their status with the American Red Cross at the organizations Safe and Well website: https://safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php
• Residents can also use Facebook’s Safety Check to indicate their status: https://www.facebook.com/about/safetycheck/
Dangerous wildfires are still having an impact in Sevier County as local officials ordered evacuations for downtown Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and other parts of the county.
Fire crews are still battling blazes in Sevier County as a heavy layer of smoke settles in many areas of the county.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency this evening to secure a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) for the Chimney Top Mountain fire, which caused the wildfire outbreak in Sevier County.
Sevier County officials currently estimate about 100 homes impacted in the county with 10 homes impacted in Gatlinburg from the fire.
Approximately 30 structures have been impacted in Gatlinburg, including a 16-story hotel on Regan Drive and the Driftwood Apartments reported fully-involved near the Park Vista Hotel.
State Hwy. 441 heading into Gatlinburg is closed, except for emergency traffic. State Hwy. 441 leaving Gatlinburg is open to evacuating traffic.
Green, McMinn, Sevier County schools are closed on Tuesday. Cocke County schools run two hours late.
FATALITIES & INJURIES
There are no reports of fatalities. There is a report of a report a burn injury to a male evacuee. There is also a report of minor injuries due to a fire truck involved in an accident.
Sevier County reports 12,509 people without power.
A total of 1,200 people have sheltered at the Gatlinburg Community Center and at the Rocky Top Sports Park.
Also 76 dead, 5 survivors as plane carrying Brazil’s soccer team crashes in Columbia.
When I got up this morning, I did my usual internet routine…check radar, satellite, surface weather map, see if the NAM model (the first model to come out after the morning weather balloon data is in the computers) has come in. Eventually, check Drudge Report and lo and behold, I see this: “Siberian Snow Theory Points to Early, Cold Winter…” That links to this article in Bloomberg. I literally cheered! The article talks about the work of Dr. Judah Cohen at M.I.T., who has been the leading research meteorologist/climatologist on the link between early winter (actually fall) snow in Siberia and cold and snow during the winter in the Great Lakes and Eastern U.S. I also want to give a shout out to one of our local meteorologists, Bill Marino at the National Weather Service in G.R. Bill also does a lot of work on long-range weather forecasting and he was one of the first to talk about the “Siberian connection”. I spend a lot of time after the 11 pm news until Matt Kirkwood comes in shortly after 2 am looking around the internet for interesting weather news. A number of years ago, I remember – I think it was a weather chat page – where someone mentioned October snowcover in Siberia and the extent of cold east of the Rockies in the coming winter. I started to track Siberian snow cover and there certainly seemed to be a connection – not 100%, but around 70-75% (which in this business is a high correlation). I have factored in Siberian snow cover in my winter outlooks for a number of years. I had to see if this was an actual correlation or just happen-chance (correlation without causation…like all criminals drank milk when they were children – while that is true…the milk didn’t cause them to become criminals).
(brief break to answer the phone…it was “Heather from credit card services” – who has to rank as one of, if not the most annoying recorded telemarketers – bet I’ve taken that call (from multiple phone numbers) two dozen times).
Now last year we had an early build-up of snow in Siberia in October…BUT, the strong El Nino (same as 1982 and 1997) trumped (if I can use that word) all other factors and we had a relatively warm winter. This year, we don’t have the El Nino…we have a weak La Nina (some of the coldest winters we get in the Great Lakes and Northeast come with a weak La Nina – that’s not always the case, but something to consider).
This is a comparison of sea surface temperature anomaly (difference from average) from one year ago (first pic.) to this week. Note the differences and similarities. First, you can see the strong El Nino in Nov. 2015 with the red, warm water along the Equator in the Pacific Ocean. Compare that to the weak La Nina that we have today (blue water along the Equator in the Pacific). Also note the “blob” of cold water that we have south of Alaska. The water has cooled a touch in the Western Indian Ocean and near New Zealand. The water surrounding the U.S. is still a little bit warmer than average, including the Gulf of Mexico, the source region for much of the non-lake-effect precipitation for much of the Eastern U.S.
The Arctic has been very warm (relatively speaking) this fall and cold air is developing to the south over the land areas of Asia (bigger land area) and North America (smaller land area). Often when we have this pattern…it’s colder relative to average from Jan. to Mar. AND it’s often warmer than average in the Great Lakes in November. Remember, I’ve said that you are more likely to have a cold winter after a warm fall than have a warm winter after a warm fall…not always, just more likely. So – bottom line – it’s been warm, but don’t count on that lasting – cold is coming and with Lake Michigan still at 51 degrees – there is the potential for some hefty lake-effect snow events.
This is a webcam pic. from Michigan Tech in the U.P. Snow cover this AM: 4″ Stambaugh, 3″ Ironwood, Harvey, Paulding, Amasa, 2″ Marquette, Ishpeming, Michigamme, Green Garden and Chatham, 1″ Houghton, Iron Mt., Munising, Ontonagon, Champion.
The first Michigan ski resort opens today. Ski Brule in the U.P. has a 24″ base and is ready to go for Thanksgiving weekend. This should be a good winter for ski areas in the Midwest with plenty of cold air for the snow guns and the warm lakes able to provide some decent lake-effect snow. As of Monday AM, Houghton Lake, Harvey and Mancelona had 4″ of snow on the ground…Fife Lake, East Jordan and Ironwood reported a 3″ snowcover…S. Ste Marie, Traverse City, Charlevoix and Harbor Springs had 2″ on the ground and there was an inch at Alpena, Lake City and St. Ignace.
Here’s the G.R. National Weather Service graphic for today’s weather…some sun to start the day. We’ve had frost overnight and you’ll have to scrape some frost off the car before you get going if you left it outside overnight. Roads are clear and dry. Highs today will be near 40 with a light east wind.
Also, significant flooding on the Pacific Island of New Caledonia. 15.7″ of rain fell in 12 hours in the mountains! At least 3 fatalities have been reported. Heavy rain has also fallen in the mountains of SW Europe. Waterspout and rainbow together in Sicily. Syracuse, NY received 18.3″ of snow on Monday. Fire ball over the gulf in Bay County, FL.
Here’s the projected path of Tropical Storm Otto, which is forecast to become a minimal hurricane before moving into Costa Rica and Nicaragua. The greatest threat will be heavy rain, flooding and the possibility of landslides. Heavy rain has been falling in Panama. Here’s Panama radar. Here’s the latest discussion on the storm and the public advisory. Here’s a Caribbean satellite loop.
All Tsunami Warnings and Advisories have been cancelled. The highest tsunami was at Sendai, where it was measured at 4 feet 7 inches. This compares to a 25-foot tsunami generated by the March 2011 earthquake that took over 20,000 lives. The quake struck shortly before 6 am on Tuesday and was magnitude 6.9 (the March 2011 quake was magnitude 9.0). It was located off the east coast of Honshu Island – Fukushima Prefecture – about 23 miles east-southeast of the city of Namie. The quake was felt to the south in Tokyo. The quake depth was approximately 7 miles. There were 4 aftershocks of 4.8 or greater within an hour after the first quake.. Here’s video of the shaking from a skycam. Video of shaking in train station. Here’s the tsunami coming up a river. Another view of the tsunami travelling inland up a river. A cooling pump quit working at the ill-fated Fukushima Nuclear Facility and a back-up pump was started. The tsunami was measured at one meter (39″) at the nuclear plant. There have been several injuries, but as I write this, no known fatalities. Snow is expected in Tokyo Wednesday. Would be first time since 1962 it has snowed this early.
A 6.4 magnitude earthquake occurred today 15 miles WSW of San Juan, Argentina, or about 175 miles northeast of Santiago, Chile. Fortunately, this was a deep quake (72 miles underground), so damage should be minimal. As I write this, there have been 25 earthquakes in the world today of magnitude 4.0 or greater in these places: Afghanistan, Chile, Svalbard (north of Norway), Alaska (4.1 magnitude), Japan, near the Prince Edward Islands (SE of South Africa), New Zealand, Mexico and Papua New Guinea. No significant damage has been reported at this time. Scientists are warning of an earthquake in California.
The Earthquake in New Zealand was a big one…magnitude 7.8. Fortunately, it was relatively deep – about 14.3 miles. There are two fatalities as I write this. In the first 9 hours after the quake, there were 25 aftershocks of magnitude 4.5 to 6.5.
They occurred along a fault that ran from where the big earthquake was centered to a point about 100 miles to the northeast. The earthquake was only about 65 miles north of Christchurch, a city that was devastated by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake that occurred on Feb. 22, 2011. That earthquake resulted in 185 fatalities and over 1500 injured. While that earthquake had a smaller magnitude, it was shallow, at a depth of just 3.1 miles underground. That makes a big difference. Sunday’s earthquake generated a tsunami that was measured as high as 8 feet above sea level. That was the highest tsunami on the east coast of New Zealand in the last 38 years. The quake was along the boundary of the Australian and Pacific plates.
Other strong (magnitude 4.0 or greater) earthquakes Sunday: 4.9 Japan, 4.4 Figi, 5.7 Argentina, 4.5 Afghanistan, 4.8 Chile, 5.3 Papau, New Guinea, 4.7 Philippines, 4.1 near Norcia, Italy, 4.4 Kyrgyzstan, 5.4 Little Sitkin Is., 4.0 Greece – an active day.
The Storm Prediction Center says: As the year winds down, it looks like it’ll be yet another very quiet one for tornadoes in the US. Based on provisional data to Nov 11th, only 2013 has had less tornadoes than 2016 if you look at tornado totals since 2005. After “inflation adjusting”, which takes account of the fact that many more tornadoes get reported nowadays because of changing technology and many more storm spotters, 2016 also looks like it will be one of the quietest since records began in 1954.
Looking at the last 11 years, the most tornadoes was in 2008 and 2nd highest was 2011. We have now had 5 consecutive years with a below average number of tornadoes. As of Nov. 12, this year we have had 74% of the average number of tornadoes (976 vs. an average to date of 1317). Side note: The U.S. has also had no Category 3 or larger hurricane make landfall since 2005 – the longest spell since at least the Civil War.
We have had 249 severe reports in Michigan this year, including 15 tornadoes, 54 reports of hail 1″ in diameter or greater and 180 wind damage reports. Of the 15 tornadoes, 7 occurred in SW Michigan, including the handful on Aug. 20, one back in March in Edwardsburg in Cass Co. and a very brief tornado east of Saugatuck in early August. The tornadoes in Michigan this year have been reasonably small (EF0 to EF1) and produced no fatalities or serious injuries. The lack of fatalities and serious injuries in tornadoes since 2012 is evidence that people in Michigan know what action to take during severe weather and that they actually do take action to protect themselves.
Thursday is the 41st anniversary of the famous storm that resulted in the sinking of the ore-carrier Edmund Fitzgerald.
The wreck occurred just north of Whitefish Point in Lake Superior. Twenty-nine men were lost as the Fitzgerald sank in 530 feet of water. The ship was launched June 8, 1958, and was the largest ship on the Great Lakes until 1971. It was carrying a cargo of 26,116 tons of taconite pellets, which are used in the steelmaking industry.
A popular song by Canadian folk-singer Gordon Lightfoot titled “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” reached No. 2 on the Billboard chart one year later (lyrics). You can hear the song here and see a list of Great Lakes shipwrecks.
A service is held in River Rouge Michigan to pay honor to those lost on the Fitzgerald. A bell tolls 29-times for the 29 men (who ranged in age from 21 to 63) who were lost that night, plus one additional time for all those lost in the Gales of November on the Great Lakes. The service is free and is streamed on the web. Read more here and here.
Here’s video of the Edmund Fitzgerald on the floor of Lake Superior. Here’s simulated waves for the Fitzgerald Storm. And here’s audio from that fateful night. Here’s where there are ships on the Great Lakes right now.
Approximately 240 ships have sunk in the Whitefish Point area since the first recorded sinking in 1816.
We’ve had quite a few of our strongest low pressure storms during this second week of November, including the Freshwater Fury of 1913, the Armistice Day Storm of 1940 (strongest wind gust ever in G.R.) and the Nov. 10, 1998 storm that was similar to the storm in 1975.
An earthquake of at least magnitude 5.0 (might have been as high as 5.3) stuck at 7:44 CST just west of Cushing OK, which is about halfway between Tulsa (where it was felt strongly) and Oklahoma City. The quake lasted a long time, over 30 seconds according to some reports and we felt up into Kansas. This was a shallow quake, with a depth of around 3 miles. There has been an increase in earthquake acitivity in Oklahoma. From the USGS: “Fracking is NOT causing most of the induced earthquakes. Wastewater disposal is the primary cause of the recent increase in earthquakes in the central United States.” There was building damage in Cushing, where many downtown buildings were built in the early 1900s.