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A Severe Thunderstorm Watch will be in effect until 8 PM for all of Lower Michigan with the exception of the counties that border Indiana and Ohio. Pea-sized hail and heavy rain downtown at 3 PM, gusts to 35 mph – very little lightning/thunder. We’ve had 3/4″ of rain (and hail) downtown and most of that came in 10-minutes! Reports of small hail in NE G.R. off Leonard and in Grandville. Penny-sized hail at the Big Rapids Hospital. The only warning out at 3:20 PM is for Clare Co. 1/4″ hail far west side of G.R. on Lake Michigan Dr. Dime-sized hail 96th and Cottonwood, southeast of the city of Newaygo. . More storms north to the Traverse City area. Nothing much south of Kent County yet. Put a comment below if you get hail or strong winds. The greatest threat will be isolated wind damage, though hail is possible. The risk of a tornado is not zero, but it’s relatively small. Dew points are high and heavy rain is a possibility. Before the storm…see if you can move your car so that it won’t get hit by a falling tree branch, and protect from hail if possible. Pick up the yard, take down hanging baskets, make sure the garbage bin won’t go flying. Looks like the chance of a storm is small west of a line from New Buffalo to Kent City to Baldwin.
As of 9:45 AM Monday, we are up to 28 tornadoes, 280 reports of wind damage (measured to 74 mph) and 193 reports of large hail up to 3″ in diameter. Oklahoma was hard hit, with one fatality at Dale OK and at least 21 injuries in OK. Sixteen counties in OK have been declared disaster areas. Tornadoes crossed both I-35 and I-40, where a truck was left dangling over an overpass. Tornado Watches stretched from Lake Superior in NW Wisconsin to the Texas border. Here’s video of the destroyed mobile home park near Shawnee. Damage in Carney OK. Reports of injuries there. Pictures from KFOR in Oklahoma City
Tornado in Kansas Sat. PM – pic. from KSN. The early Sunday AM severe weather count from Saturday: 11 tornadoes, 46 reports of wind damage and 102 reports of large hail (up to tennis-ball size. Nine states had at least one severe weather report with the largest concentration in the High Plains from the Dakotas to North Texas. Here’s updated SPC severe reports. Here’s video of the Rozel KS tornado. Here’s some pics. A policeman was injured by debris at Garfield OK. 4″ of rain fell near /Dupree SD. 85 mph winds were reported at Okreek SD.
Model update…the NAM caribou gives G.R. highs of 83 the next couple days. The GFS caribou goes to low 80s Sun. and 85-86 on Monday. It also takes low temperatures down to the mid-upper 30s next Sat. and Sun. AM – both days are partly-mostly sunny and dry, but too cool for most people for getting wet at the lake or pool.
Also, it looks like it’ll be the latest ice break-up on record at Nenana, Alaska. The only other year when the ice lasted this long was 1964. The contest goes back to 1917! The tripod at the link is bigger than it looks in the picture and it’s 300 feet offshore. The ice there was actually 2″ thicker on April 25 than it was on April 1…that’s incredible. What’s also incredible is the money! The jackpot last year was $350,000. Speaking of jackpots, I heard that 80% of the possible combination of numbers were picked in the Powerball drawing.
Today (May 18) is the 33rd anniversary of the biggest (and there were a handful) explosion of Mt. St. Helens, the last big volcano in the Lower 48 states. The picture on the left is the mountain before the explosion (center). The image on the right is damage to trees. The explosion that occurred on May 18th, 1980 at 8:32 AM local time destroyed 4 BILLION board feet of timber, enough to build 300,000 homes. The initial blast-thrust was 300 mph. According to the USGS, the landslide caused by the collapse of the northern slope of Mount Saint Helens was the largest debris avalanche on Earth in recorded history. Within 15 minutes ash was blown into the stratosphere to a height of 80,000 feet. The ash cloud passed over Grand Rapids two days later (I have a slide I took of the ash cloud, which looked like a thick, uniform cirrus cloud layer) and circled the globe in 15 days. Ash accumulation was 10″ deep ten miles from the volcano and 1″ deep sixty miles from the volcano.The height of the mountain was reduced by 1,314 feet. The blast began with a 5.1 magnitude earthquake. Fifty-seven people were killed that day, 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles of railway and 185 miles of roads were destroyed. Here’s more facts – more pictures, a link to the National Monument website, and the Wikipedia article.
Volcanoes have become quite active in the last few weeks. A number of volcanoes are erupting right now, including the Pavlof volcano in Alaska. The plume from Pavlof rose to approximately 20,000 above sea level and have created a diffuse plume trailing 100 miles downwind. Popocatepetl in Mexico has erupted. Ash fell in three villages. Government officials have raised the threat level from one to three (third highest rank). Four people were killed as Mt. Mayon in the Philippines erupted without warning on May 7th. Shiveluch in far east Russia produced an ash cloud that rose 15,000 fee. The Stromboli volcano remains active in Italy. Observers spotted a small flow of lava from the volcano’s northeast crater. We still have the more prominent erupting volcanoes like Mt. Etna in Italy and Kilauea in Hawaii.
Lake Michigan sunset at Duck Lake – from Matt Miller at ReportIt. Check it out full screen. The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron was unchanged in the last week. We’ve had only 0.58″ of rain so far this month in G.R. and the river levels have come down. The Grand River in Grand Rapids is still a little above average (5600 cfs vs mean of 5280 cfs). The Muskegon River looks to be near average and the Kalamazoo River at New Richmond is a little below average flow now. Lake Michigan is 7″ higher than one month ago and 5″ below the level of one year ago. It’s still 22″ below the May average level, but 7″ higher than it was in May 1964. Lake Superior gained an inch in the last week (mainly from snowmelt). It’s also 7″ higher than one month ago, but is now 2″ higher than it was one year ago. It’s still 10″ below the century average for May. Lake Erie is only up 1″ in the last month. It’s 7″ lower than one year ago and 8″ below the century average. Lake Ontario is up 5″ in the last month, down 2″ in the last year and is now 5″ below the century average. Also: Check out the MODIS Lake Superior picture from yesterday (Thurs.). You can STILL see several places in the Porcupine Mts. and the Keweenaw Peninsula where there is snow on the ground! Lake Nipigon still has an ice cover. Here’s the Lake Michigan picture, the land has really greened up in the last couple weeks. Here’s a picture of the large forest fire burning in far NW Wisconsin.
Model update: The European keeps us dry until next Monday PM. Then we get showers/t-showers (not all day rains) from Monday PM thru Thursday with a total of 2.72″ for G.R. from Monday PM thru Thurs. Evening. The GFS (caribou) has 1.97″.
Oh, one more thing. I got a call from near Stanton about a large dust devil that knocked shingles off their house, barn and garage. Thurs. was a perfect day for dust devils…nearly calm winds…high sunshine…low relative humidity. I bet there were quite a few dust devils in Lower Michigan yesterday.
The main type of mosquito plaguing us right now is the Aedes mosquito. They are a floodplain mosquito and their population has exploded after the April flood. Their eggs can lay dormant for 7 years, waiting for the next flood. Another bad trait of the Aedes mosquito is that they like to bite in the daytime. Some mosquitoes are more active in the evening and at night. The Aedes mosquito will bother you morning, noon and night. This crop may be around for another 2-3 weeks. Watch us tonight for a story on the pesky critters. One piece of good news…the Aedes mosquito does not carry the West Nile Virus. Leave a comment and let us know how bad or not so bad are the mosquitoes where you are. We had a lot of rain in April and there’s still a decent amount of standing water around for them to breed.
The tornado that hit south of Granbury, Texas has been rated EF4 with winds of at least 166 mph. The official death toll is 6 at 1:45 pm EDT Thurs. “About 50 people were taken to a Granbury hospital and two were transferred to a hospital in Fort Worth.” Look at this damage. Buildings destroyed. New video here of the tornado across Lake Granbury. Hardest hit is the Lake Granbury area west-southwest of Fort Worth. “As many as 100 people have been injured by the twisters in the Dallas-Fort Worth area”, said MedStar Mobile Healthcare spokesman Matt Zavadsky. The preliminary count is that there were 10 tornadoes. At least 7 were injured in Cleburne TX. Granbury has a population of about 8,000. A tornado near Rio Vista was said to be “a mile wide”. Damage in Hood, Montague, Parker, Johnson and Wise Counties. Here’s Dallas radar. Here’s video of the Granbury Tornado forming. More tornado video here and here. Here’s photos. Hail up to softball-size has fallen. Here’s storm reports. Thunderstorm gusts to 80 mph were reported at Cleburne. Here’s coverage from WFAA (“It’s a scene of complete devastation in this neighborhood off Acton Highway near Granbury. Emergency personnel are going door-to-door trying to determine if anyone is trapped in damaged homes. Dozens of ambulances were staging nearby at a triage center to deal with as many as 100 injuries. ”
There is a solar eclipse today. You can view it here (live broadcast starts at 5 PM EDT). Here’s a map that shows where the eclipse will be visible. This is called an annular eclipse. The moon is, on average, 238,900 miles from the Earth. However, this distance can vary from 221,600 to 252, 500 miles. Today, the Earth-Moon Distance is closer to 248, 700 miles. So, the moon is farther away than average. At this distance, the Moon does not quite cover the sun and it will produce a “ring of fire” as it passes in front of the sun. Check out the animation here. The next good solar eclipse here in the central U.S. will be in August 2017. Here’s this week’s skygazing summary. Here’s a list of times when you can see the Intl. Space Station flyover. Finally, check out this great picture of the Northern Lights over Lake Superior on May 7.
Lightning hit an American Airlines passenger jet heading from Detroit to LaGuardia Airport on Wednesday. The captain declared an emergency. Fortunately, the plane landed safely at LaGuardia. The American Eagle flight with 20 passengers and three crew members was hit on its approach to the New York area. Comment on the story: Allison Cooper · Works at Yale University School of Medicine “My brother was the pilot on the plane. At first, there was a loud boom. They thought it was a bomb. Then a second one. The flash let them know it was lightning. It is not avoidable. He landed the plane safely. The whole back end was burned and the flight grounded until the plane can be thoroughly inspected. He just called me to tell me what happened. He is shaken by it. Who wouldn’t be. The passengers were screaming they were going to die. How scary. No damage to the instruments and was a normal landing. Unfortunately, weather patterns change fast and lightning is not avoidable. Thank God everyone is safe!” The thunderstorms produced over 3″ of rain at Central Park and there was some local flooding.
Also, the temperature reached 80 at S. Ste. Marie on Weds., 81 at Iron Mt. and 78 at Houghton. Here’s an oddity, the warmest place in the U.S. Weds. was Entiat, Washington (97). The coolest spot was Sunset Crater, Arizona (24). Grand Rapids made 80 on Weds., the 4th 80-degree temperature in the last 8 days. We are now 11.6 deg. warmer than average for the first 8 days of May. We have also had 12 days in a row warmer than average. The pop-up showers/t-showers produced 0.47″ of rain at the Kalamazoo Airport in the late afternoon. We had 0.03″ at WOOD here at Heritage Hill and 0.02″ at GVSU downtown. Spotters recorded 0.17″ near Mendon and 0.15″ on the near West Side of Kalamazoo.