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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.
These are the Severe Weather Outlook maps for today (Tue.), tomorrow ( Wed.) and the next day (Thu.). While there is a chance of an isolated shower or t-shower today, most areas will stay dry. It’ll be a warm and humid day with highs in the upper 80s.
We’re focused on tomorrow (Weds.). The Southern Great Lakes are in the (yellow) Slight Risk Area. SPC says: “central/southern Lower MI to far southern WI and northern IL presently appear to be the zone of most robust convective development…Severe wind, and initially severe hail, will be the primary concerns with this activity. During incipient stages of convective development, some tornado potential (albeit limited) could exist with supercell structures across southern Lower MI. I would not be surprised to see the Slight Risk Area expanded and perhaps even upgraded to an Enhanced Risk.
OK – this is technical – but this is from the local Grand Rapids National Weather Service 3:30 am Forecast Discussion: “WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON WILL BE A TIME FOR ALL OF US TO WATCH THE SKY CAREFULLY. IT WOULD SEEM TO THIS FORECASTER THE SET UP FOR SEVERE STORMS IT THE BEST I HAVE SEEN THIS YEAR FOR THIS AREA. THERE IS JUST ABOUT ALL THE ONE WOULD TYPICALLY LOOK FOR. THE DEEP LAYER SHEAR RISES TO NEAR 40 KNOTS NORTH OF I-96 LATE IN THE DAY, THERE IS A 35 TO 45 KNOT LOW LEVEL JET ACROSS CENTRAL LOWER MICHIGAN IN THE AFTERNOON, WE GET INTO THE JET ENTRANCE REGION LATE IN THE DAY. SINCE THERE IS A COLD FRONT TRAILING THE SURFACE LOW WE HAVE GOOD SURFACE CONVERGENCE. THERE IS GOOD 700 TO 300 MB QVECT CONVERGENCE, THE SOUNDING SHOW A “LOADED GUN” TYPE SOUNDING DURING THE AFTERNOON TOO. IF THAT IS NOT ENOUGH THE THE SPC SREF CALIBRATED PROBABILITY OF SEVERE STORMS REACHES A 13 LATE IN THE DAY WEDNESDAY, THAIS THE HIGHEST NUMBER I HAVE SEEN IN MICHIGAN THIS ENTIRE YEAR. THE SREF CONDITIONAL SEVERE GETS TO 40 PERCENT (WHICH FOR MICHIGAN IS HIGH). THE CRAVENBROOKS SIGNIFICANT SEVERE GETS TO 40,000, WHICH IS THE HIGHEST I HAVE SEEN ALL YEAR TOO. THE SIGNIFICANT TORNADO PARAMETER REACHES “2” NEAR ROUTE 10 BY LATE IN THE AFTERNOON. I COULD GO ON BUT BY NOW YOU SHOULD GET THE PICTURE. I SEE THE THREAT OF VERY HEAVY RAIN, VERY STRONG AND POSSIBLY DAMAGING WINDS, AND TORNADOES ARE NOT OUT OF THE QUESTION WED. AFTERNOON INTO THE EARLY EVENING.”
I hope newer model runs ease back on this…but as of now….stay up with the latest forecasts – let you friends know about the severe threat Weds. PM.
I won’t be here in Michigan. Wednesday is my mother’s 98th birthday, and I’ll be celebrating with her and the rest of the family in Tennessee. I will be checking in on rare occasion, but mom takes priority here. In any case, stay up with the latest forecasts during the day Wednesday.
Regional and local radar maps should update automatically.
“Today is the anniversary of another deadly storm – the famous “derecho” thunderstorm of July 7, 1991. I remember the day well. It was a Sunday and I had the day off. The high temp. was 91 in G.R. and I had taken by 3 girls to the beach. I saw the storm coming and we packed up and headed back to G.R. We later clocked the movement of the storm at 60-65 mph, so the storm was catching up to us as we drove down M-104 and I-96. I pulled down our street as the gust front hit. Instead of opening my garage door (which faced west into the wind), I drove into the orchard across the street and parked. I got the girls to get down (so they wouldn’t be scared and that gave the vehicle a little lower center of gravity). The wind hit a couple minutes later, rocking the car back and forth. Leaves were blowing through the orchard. I watched the wind knock down my neighbor’s tree and take about 16 shingles off my house.
This is a portion of an article on the storm by the Storm Prediction Center (whole article at link):
“…the strongest winds occurred in Kent County and northwestern Ionia County, where a gust to 84 mph was measured in Grand Rapids and a gust to 85 mph was recorded at Belding. Some of the worst damage in southwest Lower Michigan also occurred in these counties. Two homes were destroyed and over 250 others were damaged. About four dozen barns were damaged or destroyed, and many fruit growers lost more than half their crop.” (I remember looking at significant building damage on Scott Rd. on the west edge of Ionia Co.)
“As the storm system continued east across the state, a semi-trailer truck was blown over on Interstate 69 east of Battle Creek. Some of the most severe damage in southeast Lower Michigan occurred from Shiawassee County east into the Flint metropolitan area. In New Lothrop, 10 mobile homes were blown over, with one being rolled into a nearby lake. In Durand, numerous camper trailers were blown over and one person was injured. Many homes and cars were damaged by falling trees in Owosso. A roof was blown off an elementary school in Swartz Creek, and on the west side on Flint near Interstate 75, roofs were blown off two apartment buildings.
Wind gusts from 75 to 85 mph were common in the Ann Arbor, Detroit, and Pontiac areas. Many homes and cars were damaged in Rochester and Tecumseh, and trees and power lines were blown down throughout the region. In summary, the “Southern Great Lakes Derecho of 1991″ traveled about 1000 miles, caused $125 million worth of damage, produced widespread electrical outages that affected nearly one million customers, killed one person, and injured about a dozen others.”
Here’s an earlier blog article on the storm I wrote in 2011 on the 20th anniversary of the storm. If anyone has a memory or pic. of the storm let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today is the first Friday of the month and that means some counties are going to test their sirens at noon. Kent and Ottawa test their sirens on the first Friday from April through October. Last I checked, Ionia does it on the first Saturday of the month. Muskegon Co. doesn’t do a siren test. I’m not aware of what testing is done in other counties, but if you know and want to email me, I’d appreciate it (email@example.com). Sirens are meant to warn people who are outside, so you may not be able to hear the siren inside. Also, not all areas are covered by sirens – best to rely on the Storm Team 8 Weather ap. or watch us on TV.
VERY STRONG WINDS HIT W. MICHIGAN! – One Fatality, 72-year-old male – tree fell on house on Poplar Ridge, near Grand Haven St. Park – Highest winds in OTTAWA, S. KENT, BARRY AND EATON COUNTIES!! Top pic. is from David Behrens – this is the beach at Grand Haven right as the storm was moving in. Here’s storm pics. and videos.
Unofficial gust in Grand Haven to 103 mph. Measured gust in Grand Haven to 91 mph. Gusts to 88 mph on the roof at GVSU in ALLENDALE, 74 MPH AT DAYBREAK CHURCH IN HUDSONVILE, 67 mph in Lake Odessa (plus small hail), 65 mph on Lake Michigan Dr. on the west side of G.R. ()plus small hail), 61 mph Muskegon Beach, 60 mph at East Grand Rapids, 59 mph at the Ford Airport in G.R., 59 MPH AT JENISON, 54 mph in Grandville and 52 mph at Portage. Nickel-sized hail at Marne, We had marble-sized hail here at WOOD TV8. Here’s a list of wind gusts from the NWS. Local and regional radar will update automatically. We had all 5 meteorologists here working the storm during the morning news.
This is the velocity data from the radar at the G.R. NWS. The light blue shows where the strongest winds were occurring. This area of strong winds moved ESE to Allendale and east into southern Kent Couinty then Barry and S. Ionia County.
Severe weather up north: Numerous trees down in Ogemaw Co., esp. near Clear Lake. Also wind damage at/near Grayling, S. Ste. Marie, Menominee, Betsy Lake (Luce Co.), Skidway Lake, Higgins Lake and Roscommon. Hail fell near Grayling and W. Branch. In Wisconsin, 1″ diameter hail pelted Westfield, Palmyra and Maple Bluff, Hail also fell in Kaukauna and Clintonville. Gusts hit 60 mph at Seymour and there was tree and power line damage at Beaver Dam and Portage WI.
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 marks the 3-year anniversary of the EF-1 tornado that ripped through parts of Wyoming and Kentwood, causing millions of dollars in damage. (the video story above was done at the one-year anniversary in 2015).
The July 6, 2014 tornado was the most powerful West Michigan has seen in more than a decade, with winds reaching 110 mph. On the ground for at least six minutes, it cut a six-mile path of destruction that was sometimes a third of a mile wide — the length of three football fields.
The storm hit at 10:20 p.m., in total darkness. The true extent of the destruction — torn up trees and ripped away roofs — wasn’t visible until the next morning. The tornado caused $5 million in damage, but thankfully no deaths.
>>Photos: Aftermath of the tornado
Extremely powerful tornadoes (EF3 to EF5) are rare in Michigan. Most of the tornadoes we see are smaller EF0 or EF1 twisters. Some of them, like the Portland Tornado and the tornadoes of August 20th last year, are “rain-wrapped” and hard to see until they are on top of you.
It’s also rare to get a direct hit on a highly populated area. The environment on the night of July 6, 2014 was not highly conducive to tornadoes. There was a thunderstorm with heavy rain and some lightning, but not the strong, sustained, rotating winds that accompany many tornadic thunderstorms. .
“It looked pretty much like an ordinary thunderstorm. The main threat we were worried about was heavy rain,” National Weather Service Meteorologist-in-Charge Dan Cobb said of the storm. The dangerous swirling winds weren’t detected on radar until the storm was about to lift and had done most of its damage. As a result, no tornado warning was issued.“The next volume scan comes in, and now you’re halfway down the damage path before we even see the signature, and then it takes a couple of minutes to issue the warning,” Cobb said.
There’s a nice write-up here from the National Weather Service.
The pic. at the top is a still from a video from Sylvia Medina of a “landspout” tornado that occurred Friday evening in Grand Junction, Michigan. If you check the video at the link, you’ll see something ribbonlike (plastic strips? someone suggested irrigation hose?) getting hoisted into the air. The ribbon showed the upward motion and the rotation of the tornado. Tornadoes come in different shapes and sizes.
Here’s four radar images with notes from Kyle Underwood. One characteristic of a landspout tornado is no lightning (so not a “thunderstorm”). We have had discussions about what the response should be in a situation like this. Do you issue a tornado warning? A tornado warning would cause a lot of people to take action over a relatively large area? Would that be warranted? Or would it be better to give the storm another one or two radar scans. Landspouts generally dissipate quickly, maybe before people could even take action. Also, technically, a tornado should have horizontal wind speeds of at least 40 mph. If it’s less than than 40 mph, it’s not going to do any damage or cause any injuries. We’ve had 40 mph wind gusts a dozen times already this year.
Here’s another view of the landspout funnel (probably not a tornado a this point – not touching the ground). Visual might make you doubt a +40 mph wind. I don’t have an exact time on the landspout, but I looked at 9 pm observations. All stations in W. Michigan had a wind under 10 mph. The wind in Kalamazoo was south at 9 mph, Benton Harbor southwest at 7 mph, S. Haven southwest at 3 mph. There might have been a little surface convergence here.
This picture of the landspout tornado was from Cindy Stokes Johnson. If you’d like to learn more about tornadoes and severe storms, check out the online booklet “Advanced Spotters Field Guide”. Here’s a video “Landspout vs. tornado“. Note the example they use for the landspout is from a wind coming off Lake Michigan, similar to the case last night. Here’s another video on a landspout tornado in SW Chicago.
Here’s a pic. of the clouds looking back toward G.R. from Muskegon Fri. evening (from “TMS”). We had some showers in the G.R. area at the time. Hey, if you like storms…check out this video of shoveling hail in Girona, Spain. Look at the river of rain and hail.
Here’s severe reports from Friday – one short-lived EF1 tornado at Hills Corners NY, 92 severe wind reports (up to 80 mph at Levelland TX) and 33 severe hail reports (up to 3″ in diameter in north TX and OK.
The above pic. is from the S. Haven GLERL camera (from NOAA Coastwatch) showing an approaching shower. Lake Superior is up 4″ in the last month (that’s a lot for Lake Superior) and up 3″ in the last year. Superior is now 11″ higher than the average June level and only 2″ below the all-time highest June level set back in 1986. The level of Lake Michigan/Huron is also up 4″ in the last monthy and up 3″ year-to-year. The level is now 15″ above the average June level. Lake Erie is unchanged in the last month, up 9″ in the last year and 19″ higher than the average level for June. Lake Ontario is (thankfully) down 4″ in the last month, but up 30″ in the last year. The level is 28″ above the average June level and is at the highest June level ever. Lake St. Clair is up 2″ in the last month, up 5″ in the last year. The lake is 19″ above the average June level.
Here’s sunset yesterday from the Muskegon Channel (from NOAA Coastwatch). Also: High voltage cable to be placed under Lake Erie to the tune of one BILLION dollars. With the record high water levels on Lake Ontario…Toronto waterfront to undergo $1.185-billion flood-protection makeover. Great features of the Great Lakes – Quebec.