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Picture from Jack Martin of a Lake Superior sunset near Munising on 7/18. Lake Michigan/Huron (one lake for lake level purposes – connected at the Mackinac Bridge) is 2″ higher than it was one month ago and an incredible 15″ higher than it was one year ago. Each extra inch of water on Lake Michigan represents an additional 390 billion gallons, so 15″ would be an increase of 5.85 TRILLION gallons! Lake Michigan/Huron is now just 4″ below the long-term average. It’s now 27″ above the lowest July level of 1964 and 36″ below the highest July lake level in 1986. Lake Superior is up 2″ in the last month and up 11″ year-to-year. Superior is now 7″ above the long-term average and only 6″ below the highest ever July lake-level of 1950. Lake Erie is down 1″ in the last month, unchanged in the last year and 4″ higher than the century average. Lake Ontario is down 3″ in the last year, but 2″ higher than the long-term average. Lake St. Clair is up 1″ in the last month, up 7″ in the last year and 4″ above the century average. The outflow from Lake Superior down the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is expected to be above average through the rest of the summer. The Grand River in Grand Rapids is running (as I write this) at about double average flow (3400 cfs vs 1620 cfs average). The Muskegon River at Croton is at 1150 cfs compared to an average of 1210 cfs. The Kalamazoo River at New Richmond is at 1630 cfs compared to an average of 1729 cfs.
News: Fastest 12-month lake level rise on Lake Superior since 1916. Sewage overflows in Chicago not the fault of “global warming“. Update on Enbridge replacing pipeline. More support anchors for Great Lakes oil pipelines.
At least 2 fatalities and 36 injuries in a morning tornado in eastern Virginia. Campers were overturned at the Cherrystone Campground and huge trees were toppled (some on the campers). The storm hit around 8:40 am. At least one semi was tipped over on a nearby road. The driver was injured. Large hail was also reported with the storm. Picture from WAVY-TV. More pictures here. VIDEO of Softball sized hail and the tornado here. Virginia Beach EMS says the City of Virginia Beach has responded to the Eastern Shore with six ambulances, a mass casualty truck. The National Weather Service tweeted that it has a storm survey team headed to the Cherrystone Campground area to survey the damage. 1,328 people were listed as residents or visitors at Cherrystone Campground, according to a news release from Northampton County. 150 to 175 people lost their shelter, and were being transported from the campground to a local emergency shelter. WAVY News reported from Lankford Highway in Northampton County that there was a stream of ambulances coming in and out of the campground area. The road is currently open *just* for emergency personnel. Hail was still on the ground two hours after the storm and a couple billboard signs bent back from the wind. The Coast Guard confirmed there are overturned boats in Oyster Bay. Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital said the hospital has received 26 patients following the storm: 3 critical, 8 trauma, 8 pediatric. More pictures here. 200 to 300 people have been taken to Northampton High School, where a temporary shelter has been set up. The courthouse in Eastville closed down for the day so that workers could go to the scene to help. The Northampton County Board of Supervisors issued a declaration of a local emergency following a reported tornado. According to the declaration, the county is facing a condition of extreme peril, necessitating the proclamation. Helicopter video.
Update: The tornado has been rated EF1 and started as a waterspout on Chesapeake Bay. From the National Weather Service Survey Team: 0833 AM TORNADO CHERRYSTONE 37.31N 76.00W 07/24/2014 NORTHAMPTON VA NWS STORM SURVEY *** 2 FATAL, 36 INJ *** EF-1 TORNADO MOVED OFF THE CHESAPEAKE BAY…THEN CROSSED NORTHERN PORTIONS OF CHERRYSTONE CAMPGROUND…THEN MOVED EASTWARD ACROSS RT. 13.
The Michigan (and Indiana) Dept. of Environmental Quality has declared Monday to be an Air Quality Alert Day (you might remember these as “Ozone Action Days”…kind of like “global warming” has now been changed to “climate change” to cover more bases). It’s likely that they will declare Tuesday an Air Quality Alert Day, too The Advisory covers the lakeshore counties, Kent Co. and the Detroit area in Michigan and Lake, Porter and La Porte Counties in NW Indiana and the Chicago area. This is for Ozone levels marginally reaching the “unhealthy level for sensitive groups”. There was an Air Quality Alert Day issued for Sunday, but I did not see the readings reach “unhealthy levels”. So, unless someone can correct me, it looks like they were at least one day early. Here’s Ozone monitoring stations in Lower Michigan and Air Quality Index Values. Here’s past Air Quality and Ozone Action Days (only two last year). You can go to this website tomorrow and check the Ozone (AQI) levels and see if their forecast was correct. Remember, there are FREE rides on the RAPID in the Grand Rapids Area and the MAX (Macatawa Area Express) in the Holland/Zeeland area (fixed routes only) on Clean Air Action Days.
Picture from Jack Martin, enjoying the Sleeping Bear Dunes. Lake Michigan/Huron gained another inch last week, bringing it even closer to the long-term average. The other Great Lakes remain above their long-term averages.
Lake Michigan/Huron (one big lake for lake level purposes) is up 4″ in the last month and is up a whopping 15″ in the last year. Since each inch of water represents 390 billion gallons, that means Lake Michigan has added 5.85 trillion gallons of water in just the past year. This is due to a combination of above average precipitation (Grand Rapids has had 9.47″ of rain since June 1, 3.65″ above average) and lower evaporation (lots of ice this past winter). Lake Michigan/Huron is now only 4″ below the long-term average. Lake Superior is up 2″ in the last month and up 14″ in the last year. Superior is now 6″ above the century average and only 6″ below the highest water level ever reached in 1950. Lake Erie is up 1″ in the last month and up 3″ in the past year. Erie is 5″ above the long-term average. Lake Ontario is 4″ above the century average. Lake St. Clair is up 2″ in the last month, up 7″ year-to-year and 3″ above the century average level. Lake Superior’s outflow down the St. Mary’s River into Lake Huron is expected to be above average into August. The outflow our of Lake Erie down the Niagara River is also expected to be above average.
Also, cool picture…mosquito population triples (audio)…shark spotted in Lake Ontario??!!…grain shipments increase on the Great Lakes…July waterspouts on the Great Lakes…cold water lingers in the Great Lakes…heavy rains cause trash to float into Lake Michigan…WSBT gets lake level story right.
The latest from Ed: Due to sliding wholesale prices, there was on-going pressure to keep retail prices down. However, wholesale prices have stabilized, and I’m seeing gas in the $3.20′s in Fort Wayne, and $3.30′s in Lowell, Michigan. By my calculation, the price to retailers is about $3.40. So, I’m going to fill up Tuesday morning, expecting a hike with a new price at least $3.69. — Ed A.
The National Weather Service has issued a Beach Hazards Statement for Tuesday. The Statement warns of high waves, dangerous swimming conditions and strong currents. There is a danger of longshore currents, rip currents and especially structural currents. Click on the graphic to enlarge. This is an overhead view of Grand Haven State Park. Structural currents occur along the breakwaters of the Great Lakes. What we often call piers are actually breakwaters. Technically, piers allow water to flow underneath them. Breakwaters stop the water and are often along river outlets to prevent sand from filling in the channels. Structural currents are not a factor on calm days, but can be deadly on windy days. When the wind pushes the water into a breakwater, the water has no place to go. It can’t go up on the beach, or up or down. So a current is created that moves along the breakwater out toward open water. With a brisk south or southwest wind the dangerous structural current is on the south side of the breakwater (Grand Haven St. Park). With a northwest wind (which will be the case on Tuesday), the dangerous current is on the north side of the breakwater ( North Beach in S. Haven, Holland St. Park, Muskegon St. Park, Mears St. Park, Stearns Park in Ludington). The most dangerous place in the entire Great Lakes is the south side of the breakwater at Grand Haven. It’s more of an issue when a strong south to southwest wind because the air tends to be warmer and more people are in the water. On days with a strong north wind like Tuesday, the air is usually colder and fewer people are in the water. Look at the picture here – it’s best to swim well off to the right (south) away from the breakwater, especially on windy days or days with significant waves. Most of the fatalities in the Great Lakes due to currents are on days when waves are 2-5 feet. Waves on Tuesday are expected to be 2-5 feet.
There is always a chance of a waterspout when you have cold air coming over warm water. This is most common from September into early November. This year, the Great Lakes are colder than average due to both the cool spring and the cool temperatures this July (for the first two weeks of July, Muskegon is 3.7° colder than average and Manistee is a whopping 6.6° colder than average). Waterspouts are weaker than most tornadoes and tend to dissipate as they come into shore.
This is a MODIS Lake Michigan satellite picture taken today (Thurs.) showing clear skies over Lake Michigan. There is an onshore breeze all around the lake (west wind in Lower Michigan, north wind in Indiana, east wind in Wisconsin). With all the rain we’ve had, everything is green and crops are mostly in very good shape at this point in the growing season (picture from NOAA Coastwatch).
Lake Michigan/Huron is up 4″ in the last month, up 14″ in the last year and just 5″ below the century average (that should drop to -4 or -3 this month). Lake Superior is up 3″ in the last month, up 13″ year-to-year and is now 6″ above average level. Lake Erie is up 2″ in the last month, up 5″ in the last year and is now 5″ above the long-term average. Lake Ontario is down 2″ in the last month, down 2″ year-to-year and is 5″ above the century average. Lake St. Clair is up 2″ in the last month, up 4″ year-to-year and is 3″ above the long-term average. Flow down the St. Mary’s River from Lake Superior into Lake Michigan/Huron will remain above average through July. River levels in West Michigan remain above average flow. The Grand River in Grand Rapids is high, but still well below flood stage at 8680 cfs compared to an average flow of 2,370 cfs. Lake Michigan beach water temperatures are in the 60s. The mid-Lake Michigan buoy west of Holland (east-southeast of Milwaukee) shows a water temp. of 63°.
Finally, check out this article from yesterday…it says: “The Council of the Great Lakes Region released a new report last week, ‘Low Water Blues,’ projecting the economic impacts of future low water levels in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River regions. Although the report estimates a potential $19 billion in economic losses by 2050 if the Great Lakes water levels continue to decline, Stop the Drop founder Colin Dobell told The Expositor that this number won’t be enough alone to raise the alarm, stressing the need for the public to rally behind the cause in order for the government to take action. “The report had a good, broad amount of funding and involvement across all sectors…”
Now compare that alarmism with reality in the first paragraph above. The Great Lakes are not “continuing to decline”…they have gone up significantly. Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron are all up over a foot in the last year. Lake Superior is so high that they have upped the water release through the St. Mary’s River, which flows down into Lake Huron. Contrast that article to this one in the Chicago Tribune.
The Grand Rapids National Weather Service has confirmed that damage in Kent County was from an EF1 tornado. They say: “*** 6 INJURED *** NWS STORM SURVEY CONFIRMED AN EF-1 TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN IN BYRON CENTER BEFORE MOVING INTO WYOMING AND THEN KENTWOOD BEFORE LIFTING. THE TORNADO HAD MAXIMUM WINDS OF 100 TO 110 MPH. THE PATH LENGTH WAS 6.25 MILES AND THE WIDTH WAS 300-400 YARDS.. Aerial view of storms damage from Adam Dabaja. There is a Flood Warning for the Pine River at Alma, where the river will rise to a couple inches above flood stage. There is a Flood Advisory for the Grand River at Ionia and the Maple River in Clinton County with the river will cause some minor flooding, but stay below flood stage. Rainfall: 4.90″ Alma, 4.82″ McBride (E. Montcalm Co.), 3.72″ Bellevue, 3.13″ Elsie (Clinton Co.), 3.00″ Howard City, 2.74″ Ionia, 2.60″ White Cloud, 2.31″ Grand Ledge, 2.30″ Entrican (Montcalm Co.), 2.00″ Mt. Pleasant, 1.90″ Lansing and DeWitt, 1.68″ Grand Rapids, 1.44″ Hastings. Hail was reported in Holland and Jenison. Wind gusts hit 45 mph at the Ford Airport in G.R. Here’s W. Michigan storm reports and rainfall totals. As of 7:45 pm – 1,029 in Kent Co. without power, though a scheduled outage will bump that up close to 3500 for a couple hours this evening. The path of this tornado is similar to a tornado that occurred on April 21, 1967. That was an F-3 and destroyed 65 buildings.
Kyle Underwood viewed storm damage and called it a tornado, an EF1. There were at least 6 injuries and the damage path goes on for at least 6.25 miles from S. Wyoming into Kentwood and far south G.R. With these events it’s very hard to tell between tornado and thunderstorm downburst wind damage. If the tornado had winds of 70 mph and a forward speed of 20 mph, you’d get a resultant 90 mph on the right side of the tornado and 50 mph (and hence little damage) on the north side of the tornado…so the damage would be similar with most of the debris falling in one direction. The National Weather Service is doing a more complete damage survey and make the ultimate call. Here’s more on the Sunday night storms from the GRR NWS. In their summary, they say: “In the reflectivity data, in the next-to-last frame, an area of higher reflectivity appears over Kentwood, likely indicative of lofted debris. The “lofted debris” is an indication of a tornado. Here’s a list of roads closed as they clean up debris from the storm. Here’s photos of the storm and storm damage. Lower Michigan is in the General Thunderstorm Outlook for this PM/Night, but not a Slight Risk Area. Here’s Grand Rapids Radar and Regional Radar.
Also, a strong 7.1 magnitude earthquake has hit Mexico and Guatamala. There are fatalities.
Picture of Lake Superior between Marquette and Munising by Michelle Olin. Lake Michigan/Huron is up 4″ in the last month, up 14″ in the last year and just 5″ below the century average (that should drop to -4 or -3 this month). Lake Superior is up 2″ in the last month, up 13″ year-to-year and is now 6″ above average level. Lake Erie is up 1″ in the last month, up 5″ in the last year and is now 4″ above the long-term average. Lake Ontario is down 2″ in the last month, down 1″ year-to-year and is 6″ above the century average. Lake St. Clair is up 3″ in the last month, up 7″ year-to-year and is 3″ above the long-term average. Flow down the St. Mary’s River from Lake Superior into Lake Michigan/Huron will remain above average through July. River levels in West Michigan remain above average flow. The Grand River in Grand Rapids is falling very slowly and is at 4,600 cfs compared to an average flow of 2,740 cfs. Lake Michigan beach water temperatures are in the 60s. The mid-Lake Michigan buoy west of Holland (east-southeast of Milwaukee) shows a water temp. of 51°.
“The legal separation of the 13 Colonies from Great Britain actually occurred on July 2, 1776, when the 2nd Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence (from Great Britain).After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. Congress debated and revised the wording of the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4. A day earlier, John Adams had written to his wife, Abigail: “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”
His prediction was off by two days, but it’s pretty much what many of us will do today. From the outset, Americans celebrated independence on July 4, the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress. Historians have long disputed whether Congress actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, even though Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin all later wrote separately that they had signed it on that day. At one point during that day, it was noted the temperature was 76° and that a thundershower occurred at 4 pm.
In a remarkable coincidence, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as President, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. Although not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, but another Founding Father who became a President, James Monroe, also died on July 4 – in 1831, thus becoming the third President in a row who died on July 4th. Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President, was born on July 4, (in 1872), and is the only President to have been born on Independence Day.”