FeedBurner makes it easy to receive content updates in My Yahoo!, Newsgator, Bloglines, and other news readers.
The Michigan apple crop this year is going to be one of the biggest if not the biggest ever! A mild winter, no killing frost and a warm summer with ample rain has brought us a huge crop of big, bright, beautiful apples. These are yellow apples pictured are golden delicious (my father’s favorite) in the orchard across the street from my house (aka “Gunner’s Garden”). Michigan’s apple harvest starts in late July with Lodi apples, gets into full swing in late August continuing until the last Braeburns and Romes are picked in late October.
These are Rome apples – again from the orchard across the street from me. These Romes will stay on the trees until mid to even late October, until they reach the peak of sweetness and crispness. We’re right in the middle of apple season. Mrs. Steffen and I have been working thru a half bushel of Ginger Golds and I’ve been eating one to two per day. Michigan is usually the 3rd biggest apple-growing state behind New York and Washington State. The Michigan State Extension Office reports: “Color on all apple varieties tested looks excellent, and size of the fruit is also very good.” After frost killed the blossoms in 2012, we’ve had several great growing seasons here in Michigan. Check out the apples (and other goodies) at a local farm roadside stand/store…at a few places, you can pick your own. You’ll also find fresh Michigan apples in local supermarkets and they are featured in many local restaurants. Enjoy.
This is the view from the South Manitou Island Lighthouse (pic. from the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore facebook page). The lighthouse stands 100-feet high and was active from 1871-1958. You can see the lighthouse from the mainland.
After a warm summer, the water of the Great Lakes is warmer than average. Buoy temperatures Thursday included 71.3 at South Haven, 70.5 at Port Sheldon and 69.4 at Ludington. The mid-Lake Michigan buoy halfway between Milwaukee and Holland MI was reading 73. Inland lakes are also warm for this time of year. The Reeds Lake water temp. was 73 (2-foot level) Thursday evening.
Except for Lake Ontario, the water level of the Great Lakes is well above average. The level of Lake Michigan/Huron fell three inches in the last month, but the level is up 3″ year-to-year and stands 11″ above the September average level. Lake Superior is unchanged in the last month, up 1″ in the last year and 7″ above average for late September. Lake Erie is down 2″ in the last month, down 4″ in the last year, but 9″ above the Sept. century average. Lake Ontario dropped 6″ in the last month (there has been less rain as you go farther east toward New York and New England). The level is 7″ below last September and is 2″ below the century average. Lake St. Clair is down 2″ in the last month, unchanged in the last year, but 13″ above the average water level.
The rivers that connect the Great Lakes (St. Mary’s from Lake Superior into Lake Huron pictured here, the St. Clair, Detroit and Niagara Rivers) are all expected to continue to have above average flow through the fall.
Also: New video of a Great Lakes shipwreck…protection money…reviving Michigan’s coastal marshes…invasive water plant spreading across Michigan…North Ottawa Dunes expanding…angler’s frustrated over Lake Michigan salmon stock plan…1897 shipwreck found in Lake Superior…the latest from Boatnerd…Great Lakes steel production fell 14,000 tons.
The University of Texas Permian Basin vs. West Texas A & M football game had to be rescheduled because of an approaching tornado! The tornado didn’t cause any injuries or serious damage. The game will be played today (Sun.) at 11 am. According to UTPB, they are going to admit everyone free of charge to the game today. Here’s video of the tornado near Goldsmith TX. Here’s video of the tornado from the football stadium (the band is playing in the background). Fans told to evacuate the stadium. Here’s a closer pic. of the twister.
Here’s Saturday’s Storm Reports. There were 9 reported tornadoes (at least a couple of them look like duplicate sightings of the same tornado. Baseball-sized hail was reported at Artesia NM.
Little side note: The Lyon College Scots got their first football win since 1951 on Saturday. They dropped football in 1951 and just started up again this year. After losing their first 3 games by a total of 104 points, they racked up a 63-26 victory over tiny Morthland College (tiny because they have “about” 300 students. The school colors are Forest Green and Crimson – so it must look like Christmas all year on the campus at West Frankfort IL.
I haven’t done sports threads this year (not quite the same without the comments), but Ohio State and Louisville sure looked impressive. That was only the 9th home loss for Oklahoma in the last 17 years! My alma mater did not look good at all (despite eeking out a win). Wisconsin comes to East Lansing and they’ve got a lot of work to do this week if they want to be on the same field with the Spartans. I will say that Wisconsin has had some very significant and untimely injuries. A salute to Western with two Big Ten wins…with their schedule, they could end up going to a decent bowl game.
Incredible image here of the eye of Super-Typhoon Meranti passing over the small island of Itbayat (Photo from CIMSS. We assure there has been severe damage on the island. Isbayat is roughly 32 square miles and has a population of 2,988. It’s part of the Philippines. The eye of Meranti passed just south of the island of Taiwan…
…and it moving onshore now in Mainland China southwest of Xiamen. It will weaken quickly as it moves on land.
Today (Sept. 10) is the peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season. The ACE Index is a measure of the number and intensity of tropical cyclones (hurricanes). You can see the updated Atlantic ACE Index here. The Atlantic ACE Index has decreased significantly since the Katrina year of 2005. You can see the global ACE Index here. Same thing – hurricane activity has decreased significantly since 2005 – note the difference between current years and the 1990s. Hermine was the first hurricane to come ashore in Florida since 2005 – the longest stretch between hurricanes going back to before the Civil War. From the National Weather Service: “June (now early Sept.) marks a continuation of a record-long major hurricane (Category 3 or stronger) landfall drought in the United States. The last major hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. was Wilma on October 24, 2005. This major hurricane drought surpassed the length of the eight-years from 1861-1868 when no major hurricane struck the United States’ coast. On average, a major hurricane makes landfall in the U.S. about once every three years. The reliable record of landfalling hurricanes in the U.S. dates back to 1851. Quote from Dr. Christopher Landsea, Science and Operations Officer at the National Hurricane Center: “The global warming impacts are so tiny today that they can’t be measured although they might be measured in 100 years. Compared to the natural swings of hurricane activity and compared to the huge population increase and infrastructure build-up along the coast, any global warming effects are likely to be so tiny that they’re lost in the noise.”
While I’m at it…here’s the NOAA record of strong tornadoes from 1954-2014 (2015 and 2016 have both been below average years for tornadoes). Note on the graph that the number of strong to violent tornadoes has actually decreased since the 50s, 60s and 70s. Tornado fatalities: Worldwide, 122 fatalities have been reported so far this year: 99 in China, 12 in the United States, five in Uruguay, four in Brazil and two in Russia.
Here’s the tornado count for this year and the past 10 years – once again we’re below average this year. So far in 2016, we have not had any EF5 tornadoes in the U.S. and only two EF4 tornadoes (Katie OK on 5/9 and Chapman KS on 5/25).
The map above shows storm total rainfall for the past 3 days, with a significant portion of central Lake Michigan getting 2-5 inches of rain. This is helping to keep the water level steady in a time of year when the level is often slowly going down. Several locations in Muskegon, Oceana and Mason County Michigan received over 4″ of rain in 48 hours and a few spots in the central U.P. were over 3″.
The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is unchanged in the last month, up 3″ in the last year and is now 11″ above the September average. Lake Superior is up 1″ in the last month, even with the level of Sept. 2015 and is 7″ above the September average. Lake Erie is down 2″ in the last month, down 1″ in the last year, but is 13″ above the century September average. Lake Ontario is down 4″ in the last month, down 7″ in the last year and exactly at the September average level. Lake St. Clair is down 1″ in the last month, unchanged in the last year and is 12″ above the August average level. Outflow from Lake Superior down the St. Mary’s River to Lake Superior will be near to slightly above average through early fall. Flow from Lake Huron to Lake Erie through the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers will stay at above average flow, as will the Niagara River from Lake Erie into Lake Ontario. The flow out of Lake Ontario down the St. Lawrence River is expected to be near average flow.
A warmer than average and sunnier than average summer has boosted water temps. to above average levels. This trend will continue into at least October and probably into November…setting up the potential for some decent lake-effect snow if (big if) we get cold enough air crossing the lakes before they cool back to average levels. The south mid-Lake Michigan buoy showed a water temp. of 75 on Thursday.
Many river levels are higher than average. Here’s some volume readings late Thurs. evening compared to (average): Grand River at Grand Rapids 2,480 cubic feet per second (1,419), Muskegon River at Croton 2,230 cfs (1,070), Kalamazoo River at New Richmond 1,520 cfs (1,300), Fox River at Appleton WI 9,354 cfs (1,830), Milwaukee River at Milwaukee 2,320 cfs (259), Greater Miami River at Hamilton OH 1,490 cfs (696).
Here’s sunset at the Muskegon Beach yesterday evening (from NOAA Coastwatch). Also: Great Lakes drownings up this year (at least partly due to warmer weather). Check the weather buoys on the Great Lakes. The DNR wants to cut the number of Chinook Salmon it stocks in Lake Michigan by 50 percent for spring 2017. The history of Thousand Island dressing. Making progress against the Asian carp. A strong summer for the Michigan tourist industry. Taking a cruise on a cruise ship. Here’s the latest from Boatnerd. Catwalk off the Grand Haven pier.
This is the current winter temperature anomaly (difference from average) for the months of Jan. – Feb. – Mar. from the Climate Prediction Center. They are calling for a colder than average winter across the Northern Plains, warmer than average across much of the South and Southwest and near average temps. here in Lower Michigan. I haven’t put out a forecast yet…but…
Here’s global sea surface water temperatures. Lots of warmth over the oceans in the mid-latitudes and tropics, cold water around Antarctica. A big of cool water in the Central Pacific along the Equator (the strong El Nino is gone…to be replaced this winter with a weak La Nina or neutral (La Nada) pattern. The strong El Nino trumped all other factors last winter and kept much of the world on the mild side. That won’t be there this year, but we still have warmer than average water temps. off the East and West Coasts (though look how Hurricane Hermine stirred up some colder water from below to the west of the Florida Peninsula). This would argue for mean ridges close to the West Coast and East Coast and a mean trough over the Central U.S. Looking at this…I’d say probably not a warm winter and probably a winter that starts out near average or even a degree or two above average in Dec., then goes at least a little below average in Jan.-Mar. We should get at least an average amount of lake-effect snow with a pattern like this, though the mean storm track may be just a bit east of us. We’ll look at other factors…we’ll see how much snowcover there is in Siberia in late October (usually means a colder winter in the Great Lakes). But – the snow shovel/blower/plow is going to get some use this winter. If you go here and find the years with a weak La Nina, you’ll find we’ve had 11 years like that since 1950. The average snowfall for G.R. during those 11 winters was 75″, which is ever so slightly above average. There were two years with well below average snowfall, two with well above average snowfall and the other 7 years were close to average.
Speaking of winter…check out these temps. in Antarctica.
The drownings at Holland St. Park yesterday were tragic and most likely avoidable. There was a Beach Hazards Statement in effect. We knew there was going to be a brisk north wind on Weds. at Lake Michigan. We know that a wind like this causes a VERY dangerous structural current to form on the north (windward) side of the pier (actually a breakwater – a pier allows water to pass beneath it…a breakwater does not) at Holland St. Park. We KNEW that anyone who jumped off or swam near the pier at Holland St. Park on Weds. would be in this dangerous current.
The dangerous side of the pier is the windward side –
You can start by watching yourself and then showing this excellent slide show to your children or classroom: https://www.weather.gov/media/mqt/Web_presentations/Dangerous%20Currents%20on%20the%20Great%20Lakes_Dodson_DCW%202013.pdf Note on slide 8 that Ottawa County, Michigan is the most dangerous county on the Great Lakes (due to the high number of people who swim here and the fact that we have two piers that many (mostly young) people jump off at Holland St. Park and at Grand Haven St. Park).. Note on slide 12 that many drownings occur when waves are 3-5 feet. When waves are low, the currents are weaker, when waves are higher than 5 feet, most people won’t go in the water. Slide 45 starts the part on structural currents. Send the URL of this slide show to anyone who swims in and especially jumps off the piers (breakwaters) of the Great Lakes. Side note, the (amazing) author of this slide show, Megan Dodson, is now at the National Weather Service in North Webster, Indiana and not at Marquette NWS.
Go here: see pages 40, 42-44 in particular.
Another problem we have now (unrelated to this incident but related to the woman who with her bicycle was washed off the Grand Haven pier recently) is the fact that 4 of the 5 Great Lakes have well above-average water levels. Waves that crashed harmlessly into the side of the piers three years ago and now coming over the piers with enough force to wash adults off the piers, much less children and pets.
The best solution is to physically keep people from jumping off (or even going out on) or swimming near the pier on days when we KNOW that these dangerous currents will develop. We need to get structural current education in our schools. Too many of these fatalities are teenagers who jump off the piers. We need to teach practical and important topics like beach safety (and the value of compound interest) at home and in our schools. I know the piers are owned by the Army Corps of Engineers and the State Parks don’t control them – whatever – but FIX THIS. At the very least, create an animated alarm – flashing red lights that can be triggered on days (and there are not that many) when we KNOW these currents will develop. Station a boat off the end of the pier (volunteer?) and pluck these people out of the water if it has to come to that and it has several times that I know of at both Holland and Grand Haven State Parks.
We make a big deal out of tornado warnings, when often there are no fatalities – we should make a big deal out of educating young people on the dangers of structural currents on the Great Lakes.
This picture from Tim and Tiffany Robinson and the Detroit/White Lake National Weather Service facebook page shows a funnel cloud (doesn’t look like at this point that it’s touching the ground. You can also check out this picture and this picture (which sure looks like a tornado or – if over water – a waterspout to me. Funnel clouds were spotted in Washtenaw, Lenawee and Monroe Counties. Many locations had over an inch of rain in SE Michigan Sunday PM. There were a couple reports of damage. However…
September 10 is the peak of the hurricane season, which has been relatively quiet so far…but, we’ve got several systems to track now. Up top is Hurricane Madeline, which should pass south of the Big Island of Hawaii. A Hurricane Watch has been posted for the Big Island of Hawaii, thought the center will pass far enough south so that significant wind damage is unlikely. Lester has peak winds of 125 mph as I write this, but a slow weakening trend is likely today and tomorrow. The biggest threat is heavy rain (which can be a problem with the mountainous terrain of the Big Island) and resultant flooding and mudslides. Hilo reported 0.32″ of rain yesterday with a relatively cool high temp. of 78.
Hurricane Lester is also a major hurricane as I write this. The track of this storm takes it far enough north of the Islands to prevent significant wind damage. Lester should also weaken as the center of the storm passes north of the Islands. The two storms will make for some gnarly surf.
In the Atlantic/Gulf of Mexico we have Gaston – in the middle of the Atlantic and no threat to land. We also have two tropical depressions (as I write this around 2 am) affecting the U.S. T.D. 8 is off the coast of North Carolina. It may become a tropical storm (winds over 40 mph) today as it passes the Outer Banks, then turns NE and heads out to sea. Here’s E. North Carolina Radar and E. North Carolina weather observations (not much wind there as I write this). Tropical Depression 9 will likely reach tropical storm strength as it heads through N. Florida, out into the Atlantic Ocean and out to sea. Here’s Florida weather observations, Tampa radar and Southeast Regional Radar.
Interesting article on how the people in the Starbucks survived an EF3 tornado. There were “20 or so” customers in the store. “He…moved everyone to the safest locations in the store – two bathrooms”…“Even in a tornado we divided up with women in the women’s restroom and the guys in the men’s room,” He found one person outside who needed shelter. Then they waited. Tornado sirens sounded. Cellphones alerts began going off warning of imminent risk. Harris, who’s from Oklahoma and is familiar with tornado danger, felt a sudden change in air pressure. She heard “that freight train sound” people who’ve been through tornadoes describe followed by a “huge” crashing sounds. The lights went out.The building shook. “It blew over and flattened like a piece of cardboard folding,”
Another great article “This is how the ‘surprise’ Indiana and Ohio Tornado outbreak of August 24, 2016 happened.” BTW, there were at least two tornadoes (and a few injuries) in SW Ontario near and just east of Windsor.
The lack of fatalities and serious injuries shows that people know tornado safety rules – have a plan, know where to go, and then go there. The tornadoes resulted in about 24 minor injuries, including several in Canada.
Here’s a look at the # of 90-degree days thru 8/26. I can’t vouch for the quality of each weather station, but most of these are good. There can be quite a difference based on the location of the thermometer and the quality of fans (aspirators) that keep air flowing over the temperature sensor. Temperatures of 89.5 were rounded up to 90 degrees.
Here’s the number of 90-degrees we’ve had: Watervliet – 26 (they had one day with a 99.5 degree high) – obviously this is a warm spot relative to other weather stations. 19 – Grand Junction, 18 – Grand Rapids and Constantine, 17 – Lansing, 15 – Benton Harbor, 13 – Lawton, Allegan, 12 – Keeler, 11 – 5 miles NW of Battle Creek, Cassopolis, Lawrence, Mendon and Hartford, 10 – Dowagiac and the Kalamazoo Nature Center, 9 – Kalamazoo, Bloomingdale, 8 – Eaton Rapids, Coldwater, Mecosta and Hickory Corners, 7 – Alma, Oshtemo, Berrien Springs, Standale and Hudsonville, 6 – Hastings, 5 – Kent City, Holland (airport), Charlotte, Entrican and S. Haven, 4 – Fennville and Ceresco, 3 – Sparta, 2 – Battle Creek and Big Rapids, 1 – Albion, W. Olive, Shelby, Fremont and Ludington, 0 – Grand Haven. It’s seldom that the lakeshore areas north of Muskegon up to Little Sable Point get to 90 degrees. If anyone else keeps a daily record and wants to be added to the list, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The average for all these stations is 7.84.
This is a record of heat waves in the U.S. (graphic from the EPA). The most 90-degree days in G.R. was 37 in 1988, followed by 35 in 1894, 34 in 1931, 32 in 2012, 31 in 1921, 29 in 1901, 28 in 1934 and 27 in 1898. We have reached 100 degrees a total of 32 times in G.R. 100-degree days by decade: 1890s = 5, 1900s = 0, 1910s = 7, 1920s = 1, 1930s = 12, 1940s = 2, 1950s = 1, 1960s = 1, 1970s = 0, 1980s = 1, 1990s = 0, 2000s = 0, 2010s = 2.
Here’s a pretty shot from GLERL at the Thunder Bay Island. You can see the pink glow of sunset (8 pm Thurs. evening 8/25) and you can see a ship moving north. So far the month of August has been 2.3 deg. warmer than average in G.R. with high temps. ranging from 75 to 92. Water temps. have remained warm. It’s been sunnier than average (82% sunshine in G.R.) and we’ve had quite a few days with light winds. The percent of possible sunshine in G. R. was 73% in June, 74% in July. The average wind speed this month in G.R. has been 6.9 mph. In Grand Rapids, the hottest temp. this summer has been 93 and the last time we had a low temp. below 50 was June 9. We’ve had above average rainfall in July and August and overall crops are in very good condition over most of the Great Lakes (and Corn Belt). August rainfall is up to 6.79″ in G.R. and 7.55″ in Battle Creek. Paw Paw is now over 12″.
The above average sunshine and light winds (until this weekend – average wind speed in G.R. for August 1-18 was just 6 mph) have helped allow the surface water at Lake Michigan to warm up to the warmest readings of the decade so far. The water temp. of the mid-lake Michigan buoy west of Holland (east of Milwaukee) was 77 early Saturday morning. The north mid-Lake Michigan buoy had a temp. of 71.
The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is unchanged in the last month, up 5″ in the last year and is now 11″ above the August average. Lake Superior is down 1″ in the last month, down one inch in the last year and is 6″ above the August average. Lake Erie is down 4″ in the last month, down 5″ in the last year, but is still 7″ above the century August average. Lake Ontario is down 4″ in the last month, down 9″ in the last year and is now 2″ below the August average level. The weather has been drier in western N.Y. Lake St. Clair is down 1″ in the last month, unchanged in the last year and is 12″ above the August average level. Outflow from Lake Superior down the St. Mary’s River to Lake Superior will be near to slightly above average through late summer. Flow from Lake Huron to Lake Erie through the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers will stay at above average flow, as will the Niagara River from Lake Erie into Lake Ontario. The flow out of Lake Ontario down the St. Lawrence River is expected to be near average flow.
Also: Great Lakes drownings up this year (at least partly due to warmer weather). Weather buoys on the Great Lakes. Cruising the waters of Parry Sound. L.A. Times profiles the Apostle Islands. The latest on the Asian carp. Lake Geneva’s mail jumpers (I’ve seen them in action).
Here’s two maps of the tornado paths from Saturday, with the 6th tornado path added. We had 4 EF1 tornadoes and 2 EF0 tornadoes. Five tornadoes came off the same storm rotation and there was wind damage between the tornado paths, including 100 mph winds in SW Kent County. We were very fortunate that there were no injuries. Consumers Energy did the usual overall great job getting power restored, despite having to replace dozens of utility poles and many miles of wire. NWS Meteorologist Cort Scholten has a nice write-up on his facebook page. I believe this puts Michigan up to 13 tornadoes for 2016 (avg. is 16).
Here’s an interesting map. This is from the Storm Prediction Center and it shows the probability (1950-2011) of a strong tornado (EF2 or higher) on August 26th in the U.S. The highest risk isn’t over Kansas or Oklahoma at this time of year. It’s up here from N Iowa to NW Ohio. So, while there are certainly fewer tornadoes at late August than say, in May…we can still get a healthy tornado in our neck of the woods in late August.
I have this in an earlier post…but it’s worth noting again that the 35 (that number will be adjusted) tornadoes reported yesterday from Central IN to NW OHIO is the 2nd highest number of tornadoes in a single day in the U.S. in 2016, second only to Feb. 23rd…it’s the highest # of tornadoes in the U.S. on a single day in August not associated with a tropical storm or hurricane (since 1950) and it (at this time) ties for 2nd place for most number of tornadoes on a single day in August since 1950 – second only to the 40 tornadoes spun off of hurricane Katrina on 8/29/2005.
A 6.2 magnitude eartquake hit Central Italy in the middle of the night. Last check around 2 pm was 159 fatalities – that number will increase. The mayor of Italian town of Accumoli says six people have been killed there. Fatalities are also reported in Amatrice. The quake was centered just southeast of the town of Norcia, about 70 miles north-northeast of Rome in the province of Rieti. The quake was approximately 6.3 miles under the earth’s surface. The quake was felt in Rome, where buildings shook for about 20 seconds at approx. 3:37 am local time and it was felt down to Naples and up to Bologna. The quake was felt strongly in Perugia, which has been a sister city of Grand Rapids MI since 1993. In 2009, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake in the Aquila region, which was also felt in Rome, left more than 300 dead. That earthquake was about 55 miles south of today’s earthquake There has been a 5.5 magnitude and a 4.6 magnitude aftershock. Now a 5.1 magnitude aftershock. The town of Amatrice reports extensive damage. Here’s a map of Amatrice. People are trapped under rubble in the town, where most of the power is out. One mayor said “half the town is gone” Minor damage in the Rome area. Damage pics., here and here. Look at the 2nd pic. here. 10 aftershocks in the first 2 hours after the quake. Live SkyNews. Clips from YouTube. Best pics. are on Italian TV. Here’s before and after the equake pics. Ironically, today is the anniversary of the equake and eruption of Mt.Vesuvius in Italy. Drone footage of earthquake damage.
We’ve also had a powerful magnitude 6.8 e-quake in Myanmar (Burma). While this was an even stronger earthquake than the one in Italy, this one was much deeper underground. Fatalities have been reported with this quake. Pic. here.
Also, a 6.0 equake off the coast of Indonesia. M 4.6 magnitude quake – 30km SSW of Palimbang, Philippines. For the first time in 3 years, lava from Kilauea has made it to the Pacific Ocean. The Northern Lights were out last night in parts of the Northern U.S.