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Tropical Storm Dora has formed off the West Coast of Mexico. It will quickly ramp up to hurricane strength and probably reach about Category 2 before weakening back to a Tropical Storm and then just a weakening depression. As with many (most) storms that form off the West Coast of Mexico, the storm will move west-northwest and then west away from land. There’s only a small chance of a tropical storm level wind on the west coast of Mexico or at the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula. The storm may produce significant rain along the Mexico Coast, but the heaviest storm will likely remain offshore. Check out the latest NWS discussion on the storm, the Public Advisory, the Funktop Satellite Loop, the Visible Satellite Loop and a few weather observations from Mexico. Here’s a list of hurricane names for 2017.
All of the Great Lakes water levels remain well above average. The level of Lake Michigan/Huron is up 4″ in the last month, up 3 inches year-to-year and is now 15″ above the June average level. Lake Superior is also up 4″ in the last month and up 3″ year-to-year. Superior is now 11″ above the June average level and only 2″ below the all-time highest June level set in 1986. Lake Erie is unchanged in the last month and is up 9″ in the last year. Erie is 19″ above the June long-term average. Lake Ontario is down 4″ in the last month, but it’s still 30″ higher than one year ago! Ontario is still at the highest June level ever. It’s 62″ higher than the lowest all-time June level set in 1935. Pic. above is from the S. Haven Lighthouse looking out at a light shower over the lake at sunset on Fri. 6/23.
This is sunset at the Muskegon Channel Friday (from NOAA Coastwatch). All the rivers that connect the Great Lakes, as you might expect, have above average flow. Most rivers in the Western Great Lakes also have above average flow.
Great Lakes news: Tonight is the anniversary of the crash of Northwest flight 2501 in Lake Michigan southwest of S. Haven. All 58 aboard were lost. The main wreckage of the plane has never been found. Here’s the latest from Boatnerd. Asian carp gets past the electric barrier. Less beach on the Great Lakes. “Tsunami” warnings for the Great Lakes. Explorers search for prehistoric life under the Great Lakes. How the Great Lakes protect Michigan from some severe weather. Major flooding in Central Michigan. Paddleboarders make it across Lake Huron. An underwater classroom of mystery. Boaters, anglers celebrate. Cheboygan’s historic lights. Daughter #3 is interviewed regarding the Charlevoix Marathon. Boaters beware. Historic icebreaker. Great places in the Great Lakes. Free boat washes this Sunday. Pipeline under Straits of Mackinac passes pressure test. Lighthouse goes back to 1874. Resurgence in sturgeon population. Great places in the Great Lakes – Michigan. Monroe Co. deputies rescue woman entangled in phragmites. What killed hundreds of seagulls. Kayaking Sleeping Bear Dunes. Lake Michigan to get its first maritime highway. Great places in the Great Lakes – Wisconsin. Great places in the Great Lakes – Minnesota. There’s really a yellow submarine. Sand angel world record.
Extremely heavy rainfall, especially in Isabella and Gladwin Counties has caused significant flooding. The picture above is a total road washout on Blanchard Road between Lincoln and Crawford Roads.
This is Loomis Road north of Rosebush Road. This is obviously going to take some time to repair (pics. from Isabella County Road Commission). Travel is more dangerous because of road washouts in a situation like this, especially at night. Central Michigan University was closed on Friday. There was also some minor wind damage from the storms in Isabella Co. A State of Emergency was declared in Isabella County, where there were 87 road closures and in Midland Co…and Gov. Snyder has declared a State of Disaster in Midland and Isabella Counties. State police helicopters and drones were surveying flooded areas and checking area roads for washouts. Untreated sewage was released into the Chippewa River. More flood pics. Vehicles stranded in floodwaters. Residents kayaked down the street. Homes flooded. Reporter Barton Dieters found fish swimming on the road. A Red Cross Shelter was opened up in Midland Co.
Flood Warnings were in effect for the Chippewa River in Isabella Co., the Muskegon River in Newaygo Co., the Little Muskegon River in Mecosta Co., the Pine River in Gratiot Co., the Tittabwassee River, the Saginaw River and the Rifle River near Sterling.
This is the river gauge on the Chippewa River near Mt. Pleasant. You can see the rapid rise last night and today. The river should crest here tonight at roughly 4 feet above flood stage. When I checked late afternoon, the flow on the Chippewa River at Mt. Pleasant was 5,940 cfs. That was 27 times the average flow and more than the flow of the Grand River in Grand Rapids (4,980 cfs). BTW, the flow on the Grand River at Grand Rapids was 194% of average flow for June 24. The flow on the Muskegon River at Croton was at 6,870 cfs compared to an average flow of 1.840 cfs. Click here to see Michigan river levels.
Here’s some rainfall totals: 7.31″ Oil City (Midland Co.), 6.88″ Mt. Pleasant, 6.28″ Pinconning, 5.73″ Lakeview (Montcalm Co.), 5.58″ Midland, 5.2″ Bay City, 4.85″ Auburn (Bay Co.), 4.45″, Stanwood 4.11″, Big Rapids 3.98″, Mecosta, 3.56″ Sylvester, 3.5″ Morley, 3.22″ White Cloud, 3.22″ Woodville (Newaygo Co.), 3.11″ Shepherd, 3.03″ Harrison (Clare Co.), 2.98″, Breckenridge, 1.90″ Alma, 1.82″ Fremont, 1.73″ Croton, 1.72″ Clarksville, 1.62″ Grand Junction, 1.44″ Scottville, 1.41″ Lowell, 1.32″ Alto, 1.29″ Stanton, 1.27″ Grant, 1.24″ Ionia, 1.23″ Baldwin, 1.01″ Hastings, 1.01″ Rockford, 0.96″ Grand Rapids, 0.43″ Muskegon, 0.12″ Kalamazoo, 0.09″ Holland, 0.06″ Battle Creek. Here’s video of the flooding. More rainfall totals here.
Here’s storm total rainfall off the Nexrad radar. The heavier rain fell generally north of a line from Muskegon to Flint. Rainfall amounts are expected to generally be below average in Michigan over the next week.
Ellen Bacca took the pic. above in downtown Grand Rapids Monday. It’s a “fire rainbow” also known as a circumhorizontal arc. It’s actually not a rainbow (caused by rain and you would be looking at a rainbow with the sun at your back. This occurs when sunlight passes through a band of high clouds with 6-sided crystals in the shape of plates. The sun has to be at least 58 degrees above the horizon to see a circumhorizontal arc. That means today (one day from the Summer Solstice) you could see a circumhorizontal arc between 11:41 am and 3:50 pm….and…in Grand Rapids you can only see a fire rainbow from April 18 to August 23rd, when the sun climbs to 58 degrees above the horizon. North (and south) of 55 deg. latitude, you’ll never see a fire rainbow. In London, England (51.5 deg. latitude), they only have a total of 140 hours a year when the sun is high enough to see a circumhorizontal arc.
This awesome pic. of a circumhorizonal arc is on the Wikipedia page. I’ve got more in a previous article I wrote on the topic last August (along with more pics.)
We have Tropical Storm “Bret” hugging the coast of Venezuela and soon to be Tropical Storm “Cindy”, which should bring significant rain from SE Texas east through Louisiana. You may have missed Tropical Storm Arlene, which briefly reached tropical storm status far out into the Atlantic in April. We’ve only had 3 times in the recent past when we had two active tropical storms in the Atlantic/Caribbean/Gulf at the same time in the month of June.
Bret is moving to the west and may not ever reach hurricane status. Here’s Caracus radar. I once spent a week on Margarita Island which is part of Venezuela. Here’s the Public Advisory, the latest Discussion, Here’s a colored satellite loop.
Tropical Storm Cindy may also not reach hurricane status as it comes into SE Texas and Louisiana, but it will produce heavy rain and gusty winds. Here’s the latest Public Advisory, Discussion and a satellite loop. Here’s regional radar.
Here’s a list of Tropical Storm names.
This is a screen grab from the Barrow, Alaska webcam – at the northernmost point in the U.S. Up here, well north of Arctic Circle, we have 24 hours of daylight in June and July. The next sunset at Barrow will be on August 2nd. Even in summer, Barrow is a cloudy place, so it’s nice to see a sunny day. The snow is gone, except for the piles. June 8 was the first day this year that Barrow did not have at least an inch of snow on the ground since last October. Yesterday, Barrow had a high temperature of 36 and low of 27. The first two weeks of June were 4.1 deg. cooler than average in Barrow. The last time it was 40 in Barrow was Oct. 29 and the last time it was 50 was August 27. Barrow gets less snow than W. Michigan. Their season snowfall total for last winter was 40.5″ and that was 3″ above average. There is still nearly solid ice on the Arctic Ocean at Barrow.
This is North American snow and ice cover. As you can see, most of Hudson Bay is still covered with ice. There is still a little snow on the ground in far northern Labrador, northern Quebec and northern Nunavut. The ice is gone from Great Slave Lake. There is still ice on some lakes in northern Quebec. You can also see where there is still a little snow on the ground in the Western mountains. Look at the snow left in Yosemite Natl. Park. Check out the webcams at Mammoth Mt. CA – where they have had 618″ of snow this past winter, the 2nd highest total since records began in 1969. The heavy snow in the West will keep reservoir levels up into next year. Check out the snow and record cold in Nevada. Global warming research trip cancelled because of too much ice. Still snowing in Wyoming. Record flooding has occurred where the heavy snowpack from the winter is melting.
Also: Hail in N. Spain. Nice mammatus clouds with the storm. From the Daily Telegraph in London: “Fears were raised that green energy concerns were prioritised ahead of safety as it emerged that cladding used to make the building more sustainable could have accelerated the fire.” Video of storm moving thru Madison WI.
Severe T-Storm Watch cancelled for these 7 counties: Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon, Montcalm, Ionia, Gratiot and Clinton Gusts to 46 mph at both Manistee and Traverse City. Power outages near Kingsley, Glen Lake, Muskegon and south of Bronson. Here’s local and regional radar – these will update automatically.
Morning water temps: 67 Reeds Lake, 57 Ludington, 54 Grand Haven and Holland, 52 S. Haven, Muskegon and Pentwater.
Morning water temps: 67 Reeds Lake, 57 Ludington, 54 Grand Haven and Holland, 52 S. Haven, Muskegon and Pentwater.
Links: Here’s Grand Rapids radar and Northern Michigan radar, Milwaukee radar, Northern Indiana radar, Chicago radar, Detroit radar, Regional radar, the Updated GRR NWS Short Term Discussion. 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, the National warning/watch/advisory map, and 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 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, the Port Sheldon buoy, the S. Haven buoy, the Muskegon buoy and the Ludington buoy. Cool U.S. satellite loop.
Today (Sat.) is an Clean Air Action Day. This covers the lakeshore counties plus Kent Co. It’ll be warm, with a southwest wind coming out of the Chicago area. However, it is Saturday (when there is less industry) and we will have strong winds this midday/PM and that makes this just a marginal day for reaching the threshold. They have lowered the threshold for a Clean Air Action Day a couple times in the past.
Here’s buoy water temps. from the surface to near the bottom at the S. Haven buoy Fri. evening. There is a Beach Hazard Statement for the lakeshore from Holland to the north. Don’t swim near or jump off the south side of the piers and breakwaters, like the south pier at S. Haven. Usually, in a situation like this, I’d be concerned about people jumping off the Grand Haven pier, but that is closed for repairs (don’t swim right next to the pier, though). Small Craft Advisories are out for Lake Michigan.
There is a Marginal Risk of a severe t-storm today across much of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. For Sunday, there is a Slight Risk for parts of MN and WI and a Marginal Risk for N. Lower and the U.P. and for Monday, a Marginal Risk north of US 10. The main threat is isolated strong winds.
Lots of activities today…weddings, open houses, the Asian Festival in downtown G.R., the Start of Summer in Rockford – enjoy a warm day (10 deg. cooler at the Lake Michigan beaches, but a windy day). Plus the full “Strawberry Moon” – which is the smallest full moon of 2017.
You can follow severe weather in the U.S. with these links from SPC: Convective Outlooks, Current Severe Weather Watches, Current Meso-Discussions and today’s Storm Reports. Here’s storm reports in Michigan so far this year and storm reports in Michigan for 2016, 2015, and 2014.
Also: Fairbanks AK reached 90 degrees on Friday, the first time they have hit 90 since June 2013. And they’re still waiting for the first 90 at Little Rock. The rain line to Churchill, Manitoba has been shut down due to catastrophic flooding…a preliminary assessment found the track bed has been washed away in 19 locations and five bridges are visibly damaged. The company said another 30 bridges and 600 culverts need to be examined further. It may take A YEAR to complete repairs! Look at storms blowing up over the TX Panhandle. Map showing the heavy rain totals this past week in S. Florida. Another wind turbine catches fire – this time in TX. Video of tornado in Russia. Unusually thick ice traps boats in Canada. This storm looks like an explosion. Huge fire started by lightning.
Here’s a Friday evening sunset pic. from the Muskegon Channel. Great Lakes water levels remain high. The Friday update showed Lake Ontario 4″ higher than the previous June record. Ontario is up an incredible 32″ in the last year and is now 31″ above the average June level. It’s up 3″ in the last month. Lake Erie is up 1″ in the last month, up 10″ year-to-year and is now 21″ above the June average level. This is the highest that Lake Erie has been in 20 years. Lake Michigan/Huron is up 2″ in the last month, unchanged in the last year and is 12″ above the June average level. Lake Superior is up 5″ in the last month, up 2″ in the last year and is now 8″ above the century average for June. Lake St. Clair is down 1″ in the last month, up 5″ in the last year and is 19″ above the June average level. A drier weather pattern has brought many river levels back to average. As I write this Sat. AM at 2:45 am, the Grand River in G.R. is flowing at 3,030 cfs compared to an average of 3,060 cfs. The St. Joseph River and Three Rivers is at 1,160 cfs compared to an average of 1,080 cfs and the Kalamazoo River at New Richmond is at 1,740 cfs compared to an average of 1,850 cfs.
Also – the flow of water out of Lake Ontario is 2.7 million gallons per second. 8,600 mile kayak trip around the Great Lakes. Pics. of Bois Blanc Is. This is Free Fishing Weekend in Michigan – you don’t need a license to fish – including the Great Lakes.
This picture taken Sunday PM shows a ship (the Algoway?) coming out of the Muskegon Channel. It turned north and headed toward the Mac. Bridge. There’s a little less beach in the Great Lakes this summer, especially for communities along Lake Ontario. Lake Ontario remains at a record high water level…up 12″ in the last month, up 33″ year-to-year (!) and is now 32″ above the average June level and 4″ above the previous June record level set in 1952. Lake Erie is up 7″ in the last month, up 9″ in the past year and is now 20″ above the June average level. Lake Superior is up 5″ in the last month, up 3″ in the last year and is now 7″ above the June average water level. Lake Michigan-Huron is up 4″ in the last month, up 1″ year-to-year and is now 13″ above the June average level (still 19″ below the record June level set in 1986. Lake St. Clair is up 5″ in the last month, up 5″ in the last year and is 18″ above the June average level. All the rivers that connect the Great Lakes have above average flow and that is expected to continue into the summer.
There were a lot of boats out Sunday. This is the Muskegon Channel area, where boats are protected behind the breakwater. Keep in mind that with higher water levels, it’s easier for waves to crash over the piers and breakwaters. Walking a pier on a choppy day with four foot waves becomes much more dangerous when water levels are high. We’ll have a north wind this Monday, so structural currents will develop on the north sides of the piers…so today you should not be swimming near or jumping off the north side of the pier at Holland State Park (or the north sides of other piers (Ferrysburg – the north pier at S. Haven, etc.). Small Craft Advisories were issued to run from 10 am today until midnight from Holland south into Indiana.
Also – Beware of Cyanotoxins in the Great Lakes. Contrary to what the CBC and others try and tell you…weather extremes are NOT becoming the norm. The water level of Lake Ontario is managed by a board. How the Great Lakes protect Michigan from severe storms. Lake Superior’s Ontario Lighthouses. Fact: There are 6 Caribou Islands in Ontario.
Tomorrow is the anniversary of the famous “derecho” thunderstorm outbreak of 1998. A derecho (Spanish for “straight”) is a fast-moving line of thunderstorms that produces a wide and long swath of significant wind damage. 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. At one point, 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. Storm Reports here (pages 2 – 8). 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…. 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 (especially here in May) and in the U.S. In a derecho like this, wind damage is the greatest overall threat from fast-moving thunderstorms.
I took the pic. above Saturday. Despite cool air temps. and very cold water…kids always seem to want to jump in and Elijah and Riley were playing in the water of the East Bay (Traverse City) while the rest of us with our jackets on watching the Bayshore Marathon runners pass by. The water was clean – a few ducks and geese passed by, along with an occasional boat. The water level is high, so not as much beach as we are used to. I’ve mentioned before that they were lucky the marathon was on Saturday. Sunday late morning, a thunderstorm dropped 1.07″ of rain on Traverse City.
The water level of Lakes Michigan and Huron (at some level) is up 5″ in the last month – unchanged from one year ago – and 14″ above the late May average. The level of Lake Superior is up 6″ in the last month, up 4″ year-to-year and is now 10″ above the century May average. The water level of Lake Erie is up 8″ in the last month, up 9″ in the last year and is now 23″ above the long-term May average. Erie is only 4″ below the record high level set in 1986.
Lake Ontario is the big story – it continues to be at an all-time record level. Ontario is up a whopping 14″ in the last month, up 32″ year-to-year and is 33″ above the average level for late May – it’s 5″ higher than it has ever been in late May. Obviously, this is causing significant beach erosion and some flooding, which is compounded when strong winds create large waves that crash against the shore. In some areas, there is no beach left, with the water up into the grass or bluff. Lake St. Clair is up 6″ in the last month, up 6″ in the last year and is now 20″ above the century average level. Since 1/1, Grand Rapids is 3.23″ above average for precipitation. Fort Wayne IN has had 9.15″ of rain so far in May, making this the 2nd wettest May ever. Cleveland has had 6.07″ of rain in May, 2.67″ above average. Buffalo is at 6.28″ for May, 3.06″ above average. Buffalo has had over 17″ of precipitation since 3/1 and that’s nearly 8″ above average. All that extra rainfall has been flowing into Lakes Erie and Ontario. (pic. of sandbags along the Lake Ontario show from WROC).
The Miami River at Antwerp Ohio is running 13 times average volume (18,800 cfs vs. an aveage of 883 cfs). The Cuyahoga River at Newberg Heights OH is at 5,200 cfs compared to an average of 850 cfs. Rivers in Michigan are generally higher than average, but not nearly as high as rivers that empty into lakes Erie and Ontario. The Grand River at Grand Rapids is at 4,400 cfs compared to an average flow of 3,579 cfs. The Muskegon River at Evart is at 1,280 cfs compared to an average of 1,050 cfs. The Kalamazoo River at Comstock is 1,220 cfs compared to an average of 867 cfs and the St. Joseph River at Niles is at 7,740 cfs – more than double the average flow of 3,510 cfs.
This is anticipated rainfall over the next 72 hours. Amounts should be light over most of the Great Lakes region. ALSO: Bizarre lights over Lake Ontario. Shipwrecks discovered. House close to falling into the lake. Drowning in manure. Return of the king salmon. Woes in Wilson. Shrinking sandbar. “Black sand” on Lake Michigan shore. Record high flows along the St. Lawrence River. Creek turns red.
Pic. shows the Lake Express Ferry coming into the Muskegon Channel at 4 pm Friday (from NOAA Coastwatch). The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron is now 13″ above the May average water level. The level is up 5″ in the last month and is unchanged from the level one year ago. Lake Superior is also up 5″ in the last month. Superior is 2″ higher than one year ago and 7″ above the historic average for May. Lake Erie is up 6″ in the last month, up 6″ in the last year and is now 20″ above the May average level. There is a separate thread for Lake Ontario below. Ontario is at an all-time record high level. Lake St. Clair is up 6″ in the last month, up 3″ in the last year and is now 19″ above the May average level. Above average precipitation and to a lesser extent, below average evaporation, have contributed to the high water levels. All the rivers that connect the Great Lakes have above average flow. The St. Clair River at Port Huron has a flow of 217,000 compared to an average flow of 177,000 cfs.
The Grand River at Grand Rapids has a flow of 4630 cfs (avg. is 4079 cfs). The Muskegon River at Evart is at 1,290 cfs compared to an average of 1,210 cfs and the Kalamazoo River at Comstock is at 1,050 cfs compared to an average of 976 cfs.
The water temp. at Reeds Lake is 61. The water temp. of the Port Sheldon Buoy near Holland is 51.
The water level of Lake Ontario is at the highest level ever recorded (records go back 157 years). As of Friday 5/19, the lake was 33 inches above the average May level – 5 inches higher than the previous May record set in 1973, and 69″ above the lowest May level ever recorded in 1935. The level had risen 18″ in the last month and 31″ in the last year. One resident who measures the lake said it was rising “at the rate of nearly a centimeter a day!.
This is a lakeshore road that has been washed out. The governor has extended the State of Emergency and National Guard troops have been called up to help with sandbagging and other flood control efforts. A number of cottages and homes have fallen into the lake or are in danger of falling into the lake.
Residents have been putting barrels out to weigh down piers and docks. The Coast Guard has requesting that residents put a red “X” on the barrels, so that they will know that they do not contain hazardous waste. (Pics. from WROC and WIVB)
Today is the anniversary of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens in Washington State. On the morning of May 18, 1980. The first pic. from Wikipedia is the mountain before the eruption. The next image (from Rocky Kolberg) shows the eruption from 35 miles away! The third picture shows what the inside of the volcano looks like today (from Steve Schilling and USGS), cold – quiet – observing one of nature’s long stoplights before the inevitable next eruption.
At 8:32 am on May 18th, an eruption measuring 5.1 on the Richter Scale caused the north side of the mountain to collapse. There were 57 fatalities that day, 250 homes were destroyed, 47 bridges, 15 miles of railway, 185 miles of road. Before the eruption, the mountain was 9,677 feet high – after the eruption it was 8,363 feet high. 230 square miles was devastated and 1.5 million metric tons of sulphur dioxide was released into the air. Trees up to 19 miles away were toppled. 46 billion gallons of snow and ice were melted. Mudslides came down the mountain at 90 mph. Three days later, the ash cloud was seen passing over West Michigan. I calculated that it reduced the high temperature that day here in G.R. by 3 degrees F. It took 19 days for the ash cloud to circle the world. Here’s some interesting facts about Mt. St. Helens. Movie about the eruption. Minute-by-minute view of the eruption.