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I’m still sticking with partly cloudy and dry conditions for the eclipse in Lower Michigan at this point, with any showers holding off until Monday night.
This is the overnight run of the GFSX model – it gives G.R. only a 6% chance of rain thru 2 pm (peak of the eclipse in G.R. is 2:22 pm) with a 23% chance from 2 pm to 2 am. The chance of rain is up to 83% on Tuesday, when showers and storms are likely. Cooler air will push in for the latter half of next week. So, be cautiously optimistic that it’ll be partly cloudy on Monday.
Our 5 meteorologists will be in 4 different states for the eclipse. Ellen will be broadcasting back from Nebraska. Kyle is headed to Missouri (or Illinois depending on cloud cover). I’ll be in Tennessee. You can catch my updates on facebook and twitter. My mother and sister live in Tennessee – so free lodging! My brother-in-law is a research scientist for the Oak Ridge Lab and may toss in his thoughts…and I think this will be my mother’s first total eclipse (at 98 years old!). I remember the 1979 eclipse and I made a viewing box for the 1963 eclipse, which was about 80% in Chicago. Here’s a map of total eclipse paths in the U.S. since 1800.
In the meantime…a bit cooler today…still a chance of a brief sprinkle, a little drizzle or a light shower…best chance north. They should be widely scattered and end this PM.
Tropical Storm Harvey will move thru the Antilles Islands today and eventually into Central America and S. Mexico. It is not expected to become a major hurricane, but should produce heavy rain and flooding. Interests in Nicaragua, Guatamala and SE Mexico should take precautions and prepare for potential flooding.
This map shows the risk of a tornado today within 25 miles of a given point. There is a 5% risk of that in SE Michigan today and a 2% chance essentially east of US 131. SPC says: ” Scattered showers/isolated thunderstorms are forecast during the morning within the warm conveyer from northern IN/OH into Lower MI. Renewed thunderstorm development is expected by early-mid afternoon…Model forecast soundings vary considerably in hodograph size in whether
low level flow veers, which would reduce the risk for a tornado, or if surface-500 m flow can remain relatively backed augmenting the tornado risk.”
This is the SPC percent chance of a report of damaging winds today. You can see that strong winds are more likely than a tornado, with again a greater risk in the eastern part of the WOOD viewing area toward Jackson and Lansing.
Click on the image to enlarge. INCREDIBLE heavy rain event on the back side of the low pressure in Minnesota. These are observations from Redwood Falls MN. They have had 2.61″ of rain in an hour and 4.99″ of rain in 6 hours, accompanied by winds up to a steady 44 mph with gusts to 59 mph…station pressure down to 29.48″ – pretty low for Minnesota in the summer. It’s like being in a strong tropical storm.
All the Great Lakes have well above average water levels. Lake Michigan-Huron (same water level) is up 1″ in the last month, up 8″ in the last year and is at 18″ above the average August level. Lake Superior is also up 1″ in the last month. It’s up 3 ” year-to-year and is now 9″ above the August average. Lake Erie is down 3″ in the last month, but is 10″ higher than one year ago and stands at 18″ above the average August level. They have been trying to get the level of Lake Ontario down after it set an all-time record high level earlier this year. Ontario si down 8″ in the last month. However, it’s up 27″ in the last year and is 25″ above average. That’s 3″ below the highest August level ever reached in 1947. Lake St. Clair is down 2″ in the last month, up 8″ in the last year and is 20″ above the average August level.
Needless to say, there is less beach on the Great Lakes this year than last year. With the higher levels, the piers and breakwaters become more dangerous because it’s easier for waves to come over the top (and wash you into the water). As you might expect, the rivers that connect the Great Lakes are all experiencing above average flow. The St. Clair River at Port Huron is running at 214,000 cubic feet per second, compared to an average of 186,000 cfs. (pic. from S. Lashley, NOAA/NWS).
Some river flow readings as of 2 am Sat.: Grand River at Grand Rapids – 1,530 cfs (avg. 1,530 cfs – exactly average flow for 8/12), Muskegon River at Croton – 1, 440 cfs (vs. avg. 1,130 cfs), Kalamazoo River at New Richmond – 1,250 cfs (avg. 1,300 cfs), St. Joseph River at Niles – 1,990 cfs (avg. 2,000 cfs). River levels will likely drop a bit in the next 5 to 6 days.
Great Lakes News: Oops! Underwater photographer captures forgotten stories beneath Great Lakes. World class fishermen come to Michigan. Bidding is underway for six decommissioned lighthouses built before 1930 that the federal government has put up for auction. Five overlook the Great Lakes in Michigan. Manitoulin Island. Point Betsie Lighthouse restored. Toxic algae. The U.S. Department of Transportation is proposing a $5 million grant to improve the docks for the S.S. Badger ferry in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and in Ludington, Michigan. A fundraising campaign has been created to repaint the retired U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw WAGB-83, which has been operated as a museum ship in Cheboygan, Michigan since 2006. “Heroes on Deck” – the story of aircraft carrier training in Lake Michigan after Pearl Harbor. 30 kayakers rescued. Reminds me of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man in “Ghostbusters”.
Storm Team 8 has a new skycam. It’s on the press box at Memorial Field in East Grand Rapids and it looks out over Reeds Lake. We also have a weather station on top of the press box and a temperature sensor in Reeds Lake that’s about 2 feet under the surface that we can add to the shot. Thanks to East Grand Rapids Public Schools, the City of East Grand Rapids, our engineering staff here at WOOD and Andy Schut for making this happen. We’ve got another couple of skycams in the works that we’ll be able to tell you about soon.
Tropical Storm Franklin is crossing the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, producing gusty winds and heavy rain. The storm will move out into the Gulf of Mexico, where it may (no guarantee) intensify into a weak hurricane briefly before moving into the Mexican mainland, where the greatest threat will be flooding. Here’s the latest Public Advisory, Forecast Discussion, Wind Speed Probabilities, a Caribbean weather map, the Funktop Satellite loop, the visible satellite loop (infrared at night), total rainfall forecast for Mexico, cloud loop centered on Cancun. Mexico weather maps. Radars that cover Mexico.
Up top are the “hurricane hunters” – the planes that NOAA sends into hurricanes and tropical storms to gather weather data and determine a central air pressure and an estimate of the wind speed in the storms. The Gulfstream IV Jet has a range of over 4,000 miles and can fly at 45,000 feet.
Emily is a minimal tropical storm with relatively weak winds. It’ll track to the northeast across Florida and into the Atlantic Ocean. Fortunately, it will miss the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where they are dealing with that extended power outage. Up to 2-5″ of rain could fall across Central and South Florida from Emily. Here’s the current forecast discussion…the forecast advisory...the Funktop color satellite loop. and a visible (daytime) satellite loop. Gust to 57 mph at the Skyway Bridge near Tampa and 48 mph on a 9-foot anemometer at the beach at Marco Island. Rainfall: 3.82″ Sarasota, 2.74″ Sanford, 2.33″ Tampa, 1.86 Fort Myers, 1.51″ Fort Lauderdale.
Also: Neat satellite loop of much bigger typhoon Noru.
A rare phenomena called a seiche (pronounced sāsh – with a long “a”) occurred on Lake Michigan Thursday morning. A seiche occurs when strong winds push and move the surface water. With a strong west wind, the water level of the lake will drop on the west side of the lake and rise on the east side of the lake. This can be caused by a relatively quick line of severe thunderstorms with strong winds, or it can be more gradual, as with the “Gales of November” low pressure systems that cause a “standing seiche” that may last for a day or more. The seiche Thursday AM was caused by a north-south oriented line of thunderstorms that was pushing out wind gusts of 30-50 mph from far SE Wisconsin down thru the Chicago area.
In the case of the line of storms like Thurs. AM, the water level quickly drops on the west side of the lake as the storm passes and the water sloshes back and forth, causing several rises and falls, which can be very dangerous. An example of that was the 1954 seiche that occurred in Chicago, that resulted in 7 fatalities and the July 4, 2003 scieche that resulted in seven fatalities in Berrien County, Michigan.
This is a graph of the water level of Lake Michigan at Calumet Harbor. Note the level was pretty steady…then dropped rapidly as a line of thuderstorms with +40 mph winds passed through. The wind pushed the water toward the Michigan side of the lake. Then as the storm passed, the water sloshed back, rising approximately 2 feet in less than an hour.. Shifting winds and a second area of storms caused a second fall/rise couplet. As the water retreats from shore, it can pull swimmers out into the middle of the lake. That’s why you should stay out of the water in the couple hours following a storm with strong winds. During the derecho of 1998, the water level of Lake Michigan fell and rose nearly 4 feet. Fortunately, at 5:30 am on a Sunday morning after a storm like that, no one was taking a swim in Lake Michigan.
Here’s a link to a pic. that shows the rise and fall of the water level of Lake Michigan Thurs. AM. You can read about a large seiche that occurred on Lake Erie. Time lapse of a seiche on Lake Michigan. 12 natural phenomena seen in Michigan.
Today is the 48th anniversary of the first moon landing. Neil Armstrong emerged from the lunar module called “The Eagle” a few minutes before 11 pm EDT, walked down the ladder, planted his foot on the moon and said “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” (› Play Audio). I remember the night well. It was the summer after I graduated from high school (side note – my high school won the state of Illinois Science Olympiad this year!). My friend, Dennis and I dragged their TV out into the middle of the back yard (with 2 extension cords) and we watched the moon (crescent if I remember right) and the TV at the same time.
This is Buzz Aldrin becoming the 2nd man to walk on the moon. In the 3 1/2 years after the two Apollo 11 astronauts walked on the moon, ten other men did the same. There have been no human moon landings since Dec. 1972.
An anniversary gala was held last Saturday at the Kennedy Space Center, hosted by Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. A charity auction of space memorabilia raised $57,838 from a silent auction, and $134,950 from the live auction.
A major earthquake has rocked the West Coast of the country of Turkey. The quake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.7 and was just 6.3 miles below the Earth’s surface. The time of the quake was 6:31 pm EDT. There is no word yet on a possible tsunami. There was a report of a “small tsunami at Bodram, Turkey. This is the third major earthquake in the last 3 days. A powerful magnitude 7.8 quake occurred Tuesday east of Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula and west of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. There was also a strong quake along the coast of Peru on Tuesday. That temblor measured magnitude 6.4. There have already been several aftershocks – including a magnitude 4.4 quake and a magnitude 4.7 quake.
BREAKING: Mayor of Kos, Greece, says 2 people were killed in earthquake and buildings on island have sustained structural damage. “Just experienced 30 second earthquake in
#Rhodes I hope there are no injuries. Building shook furiously. But all ok.” Video of flooding from local tsunami. There was an unofficial report of 200 injured. Several fires have been started by the quake. More damage pics. here.
Two strong earthquakes occurred late Monday. A magnitude 7.8 earthquake occurred at 7:34 EDT east of Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula and west of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. This is the strongest earthquake anywhere in the world since January. The quake was center 6 miles down and did not generate a significant tsunami. Interesting fact…The earthquake released more energy (Joules) than all Lower 48 earthquakes since 1992 combined! There have been a dozen aftershocks as I write this.
The second quake was magnitude 6.4 and was centered just off the coast of Peru. Again, fortunately, there was no significant tsunami. This was a deep earthquake – 27 miles down. It occurred at 9:05 pm EDT.
Smoke from wildfires in Canada has moved south into Michigan and over Lake Michigan, giving west Michigan an interesting sunset.
We have a very small chance of seeing the Northern Lights (also known as the Aurora Borealis) tonight. The picture above was taken May 8, 2016 near Luther, Michigan in Lake County. It shows what we might be able to see tonight, mainly a greenish glow on the Northern Horizon.
The kp-index gives us a clue as to whether we’ll be able to see the aurora. As of 2:40 am, the kp-index was 3 – which is not good. We were at a 6 at 4 pm. The higher the number, the better the chance of seeing the Aurora. At a 6 – we would probably be able to see a green glow to the north if you are away from artificial (man-made) light. At a 3 – virtually, no chance. However, that number can change. We’ll continue to track the kp-index through the night. The graphic here should update every few hours.
The top pic. was taken around 3:30 pm Sunday at the Muskegon Channel. Hard to believe on a sunny, mid-July Sunday that there are no boats to be seen. There were Small Craft Advisories and a Beach Hazard Statement in effect. While temperatures reached the low 80s inland, readings reached only the mid-upper 60s with a 20-25 mph north wind. Lot of boats stayed in the connecting inland lakes. Water levels on the Great Lakes remain high. Lake Superior is up 4″ in the last month, up 2″ in the last year and is now 10″ above the average water level. Superior is only 2″ from the record high July water level. Lake Michigan-Huron is up 5″ in the last month, up 6″ in the last year and is now 17″ above the average July level. However, it’s still 16″ below the highest July level reached in 1986. Lake Erie is down 1″ in the last month, but up 11″ in the last year. Erie is 19″ above the century July average and 10″ below the highest July level also reached in 1986. Lake Ontario continues to be at a record high water level – 2″ higher than it has ever been in July (old record was in 1947). Ontario is down 4″ in the last month, but up 30″ since July 2016. Lake St. Clair is up 4″ in the last month, up 9″ in the last year and is now 21″ above the average July water level. All the connecting rivers have above average flow and that should continue through the rest of the summer.
The National Weather Service has issued a Beach Hazards Statement for the all the lakeshore counties…from Ludington around the lake through SW Michigan, all across the lakeshore in N. Indiana, NE Illinois, including Chicago and up the lake in Wisconsin past Milwaukee and Manitowoc. For Oceana and Mason Counties, the Beach Hazards Statement starts at 8 am. For other counties in W. Michigan, it starts at 1 pm and continues through late tonight. The NWS warns of north winds possibly increasing to as high as 15-25 knots and waves increasing to as high as 3-6 feet.
A north wind means that the north sides of the piers and breakwaters will be most susceptible to structural current – that includes the north side of the piers/breakwaters at North Beach (north side of the channel) at S. Haven, Holland St. Park, Ferrysburg (north side of the Grand River Channel), Muskegon St. Park. and Mears State Park at Pentwater. So, don’t swim near or jump off the piers/breakwaters at these beaches today. Safer beaches with a north wind would include Ludington (where you are behind the breakwater), Grand Haven St. Park (where you swim south of the pier/breakwater) and South Beach at South Haven (again south of the pier/breakwater.
There is also a Small Craft Advisory starting at 8 am for Manistee down to Whitehall and starting at 1 pm for the rest of the lakeshore – that continues until 4 am Monday for waves of up to 3-6 feet. The lake may start out fairly calm this morning (1 foot) with waves increasing during the midday and afternoon.
July 1-15 was 0.4 deg. cooler than average…highest 88, lowest 55. We haven’t reached 90 in G.R. in over a month (June 14). Only 1.09″ of rain in July at G.R. – averrage for July 1-15 is 1.79. We have had measurable rain on 5 of 15 days with no day giving G.R. over 0.34″ of rain.
Could we see the Northern Lights? This from http://www.spaceweather.com: A coronal mass ejection (CME) hurled toward Earth by sunspot AR2665 on July 14th has arrived. Its leading edge hit our planet’s magnetic field on July 16th at approximately 0545 UT. NOAA forecasters say there is a 75% chance of G1- or G2-class geomagnetic storms later today as Earth passes through the CME’s magnetized wake. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.Free: Aurora Alerts.