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Wow! Talk about driving the pile forward! Michigan and MSU won (though MSU’s win wasn’t impressive). Central had a big win over N. Illinois, scoring 23 of their 29 points in the 3rd quarter. Ferris St. beat Findlay (Ohio) in a high-scoring thriller 42-39. GVSU charged through Hillsdale 46-14. Big win for 5-0 Northwestern and Tommy Doles…my Badgers lost 10-6 – four turnovers by the quarterback, including a fumble at Iowa’s one-yard line. Clemson beat Notre Dame in the rain. WMU is idle this week. The Tigers wrap up a disappointing season in Chicago (White Sox) with games Sat. and Sun. Sunday Night Football on WOOD TV8 is the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints. Finally, the Lions head to the unfriendly home of the Seattle Seahawks for the Monday night game at 8:30 pm on ESPN.
Wisconsin is 71-8 at home the last 10 years but 1-3 vs. Iowa.
We’ll be talking about rain/possible storms and weather to start the weekend, so let’s turn to sports for a minute. The Whitecaps have two “World Series” games at Fifth Third Park tonight and tomorrow night. The games start at 6:35 pm and should be done in time to get the kids ready for school and in bed. Tonight, they feature half-off box or reserved seat tickets for fans age 50 or better, $2 lawn seats for kids 12 and under and half off craft beer. In their playoff win over the Lugnuts Monday night, they scored 14 runs and knocked out 22 hits. It’s exciting baseball and the weather will be warm. Hope they get a big turnout and a couple of wins.
On the other side of the coin, the Tigers are in last place in their division. They host the Royals this weekend in what many thought would be a fantastic end of season showdown. The Royals are leading the division and headed to the playoffs. The Tigers will likely see a managerial change and hopefully a better season next year. On the other side of the coin, the Cubs are having a successful year. The 3 games with the Cardinals ought to be interesting.
While you’re depressed about the Tigers, I’ll just segue into the Lions. I was quite surprised to get back from my Sunday meeting and discover that the Lions had blown the rather sizable lead they had (21-3) in the 2nd quarter and lost the game. They have some all-star players and (at least on paper) they should make the playoffs. The Lions are at Minnesota Sunday (1 PM on Fox). The Sunday night game on WOOD-TV (NBC) is Seattle at Green Bay.
Michigan State takes on Air Force Sat. at Noon (WOTV4) in East Lansing. This is not a gimmee – Air Force won ten games last year, including a win against Boise St. Michigan hosts UNLV on the Big Ten Network. Both of these games could see showers and a wet field with a period of gusty north winds. CMU is at Syracuse (one of the ESPN3 games) and Murray St. comes to Waldo Stadium to take on the W. Michigan Broncos at 7 pm (also ESPN3). One of the biggest games of the day is #14 Georgia Tech at #8 Notre Dame. That game is on WOOD TV8 (NBC) at 3:30 pm. There’s still a chance of a lingering shower early in that game. Grand Valley hosts Ferris St. in a 7 pm game. The rain should be over by the time the GVSU and Western games start at 7 pm. We wish Tommy Doles the best as his Wildcat team travels to Duke on Saturday. My Badgers host Troy (should be an easy win for Bucky). My wife’s alma mater (Illinois) is at N. Carolina and daughter 3′s law school alma mater, SMU will probably get clobbered at #3 TCU (sorry Michelle).
Weatherwise, Sunday will be the better half of the weekend, cool in the AM, but mostly sunny and 65 to 70 in the PM. Saturday AM could be unpleasant with rain and a stiff north wind developing. The rain should end from west to east during the PM. Sunday thru Tuesday of next week looks mostly sunny and pleasant, with slowly moderating temperatures.
Football Frenzy – high school football kicks off tonight. It’s all cameras on deck for the Frenzy. We’re planning on covering 20 games this evening and 19 games tomorrow evening. Highlight games tonight: W. Ottawa/Mona Shores, Lowell/Walled Lake Western and Portage/Battle Creek Lakeview. Watch the highlights at 10 pm on WXSP and at 11 pm on WOOD TV8. We’ll also have cut-ins throughout the evening on WOOD. Pic. is what the moon looked like last night. We’ll have a nearly full moon the next couple nights. The full moon is technically Saturday at 2:35 pm and the full moon of August is most often called the Sturgeon Moon. Here’s the names and times of the full moons of 2015. Next month we have the Harvest Moon, plus a lunar eclipse! Here’s this week’s Sky at a Glance, where you can check the location of planets and other cool things to see in our nighttime sky. Here’s the list of Space Station Flyovers for West Michigan. You can also get the latest on West Michigan astronomical events from the Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Assn. Check out www.spaceweather.com for details on auroras, the number of sunspots, asteroid approaches and more. Here’s a link to a map that shows where the space station is right now (takes a little while to open the page). Here’s another tracking map with the position of the sun. Nearly full moon hangin’ over the Windy City. Grand Rapids is now 1 degree cooler than average for the month of August. Michigan was the coolest of the Lower 48 states on Weds. Last 4 days G.R. has had 19% of possible sunshine. Three of the last 7 days have had highs in the 60s. Last 7 days have been 5.4 deg. cooler than average.
The overnight models are more bullish on rain for Saturday. the NAM model gives G.R. a 27% chance of rain Fri. night and a 70% chance of rain on Sat. The GFS has a 29% chance of rain late Fri., a 59% chc. of rain Fri. night and an 80% chance of rain on Saturday.
It’s been a cool start to the day – here’s current Michigan temps, Michigan webcams and the latest Lake Michigan water temps. (Reeds Lake in East G.R. last check had a water temp. of 70). Here’s yesterday’s U.S. high temps. – including a hot 102 at Laredo TX, Chadron NE and Imperial NE. On the cool side – the high was only 62 in Cleveland, 68 in Columbus OH, Elkins WV and Pittsburgh PA. Buffalo managed only 69. The past two days, Grand Marais (beach) in the U.P. has had high temps. of 54 and 53. Once again the warmest temp. in the U.S. was at Death Valley CA (115), while Togo MN dipped to a frosty 32.
View of Tropical Storm Erika from the Hurricane Hunters Aircraft near sunset Weds. Here’s the latest projected path of Erika, which should come close to Florida. 4.76″ of rain near Homestead, Florida. Hurricane Ignacio heading toward Hawaii. Aurora last night in Wisconsin – nearly full moon makes it harder to see. the kp-index is at a 5 as I write this. 1.31″ of rain in 1 hr at Mount Rushmore, SD. Look at the cool, wet weather coming for Washington State – great news for fire fighters.
ON WISCONSIN!! music! Whew…started 14-6 MSU…ended with a 20-point loss…Badgers win! My alma mater…they are celebrating in Madtown tonight! Wisconsin lost to Duke by 10 during the regular season back on Dec. 3. It’s been 74 years since Wisconsin was in the final game. Happy Easter and Passover! Here’s more on the “blood moon tonight. This is the shortest total lunar eclipse of this century. Michigan will see a partial eclipse. This is the first full moon of Spring and the moon will be close to the bright star Spica.
Today (Sat.) skies will be partly to mostly sunny. Temperatures will reach the low 50s inland, but hold in the low 40s at the Lake Michigan shore. It’ll be windy today, esp. in the PM when we may see gusts to 30 mph. Sat. night there will likely be some light snow north of US 10. Sunday there could be a 20-degree temperature difference across the area, with low-mid 40s in Mt. Pleasant and low-mid 60s south of I-94. It looks breezy and cool with periods of rain from Mon. – Thurs.
Wow! Check out lightning hitting this tree. At least 42 water rescues in and near Louisville KY after 1.5″ in an hour on wet ground. Look what the rain did to Highway 22. Big t-storms hitting S. Korea. Frankfort, KY, broke its April 3 rain record with 5.26″. Dust devil Wanneroo, Australia. Investigation leaning toward lightning” as cause of the GE Appliance Park Plant Fire in Louisville.
Like Linus waiting for the Great Pumpkin, those of us who grew up on the north side of Chicago waited for the Chicago Cubs to win a World Series. The Cubs last won a World Series in 1908, four years before Arizona and New Mexico became states! Every summer we went to that pumpkin patch called the “Friendly Confines”. My father first took me there in the late 50s. I saw the ivy-covered outfield walls, the big scoreboard in center field and I saw the players I watched on TV. Back then we watched Jack (“Hey! Hey! Ernie!) Brickhouse (who lived about a mile and a half from me in Wilmette – I used to ride my bicycle out past his house hoping to see him) and Vince Lloyd on our black-and-white TVs (and raced to Walgreens to test the tubes in the TV when the TV stopped working) and we listened to Jack Quinlan and Lou Boudreau on our new transistor radios. Anyone remember this song?
Boys have heroes. My father was (and will always be) my first hero. Ernie Banks, Number 14, was number two. It wasn’t so much because of baseball, though I was fixed on the TV screen when Ernie came to bat, knowing that this was the best chance we had to see a long fly ball sail through the humid, summer air over the left field wall and out onto Waveland Avenue. It was because Ernie was (and will always be remembered as) “Mr. Sunshine”. Ernie loved his job…I mean LOVED his job. He loved baseball and he loved the Cubs.
Ernie was an amazing athlete. He earned high school letters in baseball, football and track and was also a good swimmer. He was one of twelve kids, growing up in Dallas, Texas. His father bribed him with nickels to play catch. He was signed by the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League after high school, but was drafted during the Korean War and served in Germany. He also served at Fort Bliss and played some games with the Harlem Globetrotters. He came back and played for the Monarchs briefly, but they sold him to the Cubs (Banks was hitting .347 at the time). Ernie played his first game with the Cubs in Sept. 1953.
That was back in the days where you were likely to play for the same team during your entire career. Ernie played baseball with the Cubs for 19 seasons before moving to the front office. He played in 2,528 games, had 9,421 at bats and 1009 extra base hits, including 512 home runs (in the pre-steroid era). He played shortstop, then a brief stint in left field (committing only one error there) then first base. He was the N.L. most valuable player in 1958 and 1959 and played in 11 All-Star games. He learned early on a good sports physics lesson – not to swing a bat that is too heavy. He tried many different bats and decided he hit better with a lighter bat that he could swing faster (Force = mass x velocity squared).
Despite having one of the best players in baseball (and many other good players), the Cubs not only didn’t get to the World Series, they had quite a run of losing seasons. From 1947-1966 (20 seasons), the Cubs had only one winning season (and that was 82-80). In contrast to the higher ticket prices and filled stadiums today…back in 1966, the Cubs drew only 635,891 fans to the ballpark all season. Compare that to the West Michigan Whitecaps (who stop playing around Labor Day) that drew 391,653 last year. As late as 1981, the Cubs drew only 10,672 to their home opener. The Cubs lost money in many of those years. Ernie was paid $50,000 in 1959. However, Ernie saved his money and invested wisely and by the time he was 55, he was worth over 4 million dollars.
What drew me to Ernie was his relentless positive optimism. More than once when the TV announcers interviewed him he talked about the sunshine, the fresh air, his teammates and the signature “Let’s play two (games today)!” I remember as a kid thinking…when I grow up…I want to be as happy as Ernie Banks. I want to be that happy to get up in the morning…that happy to go to my job.
I occasionally drive past a baseball diamond in a park. There’s hardly ever anyone there playing baseball. Back when I was a kid, you had Little League and Boys Scouts and that was about it. Now we have computers, cell-phones and video games. When I was a kid and had a nickel, I’d head to the drug store to buy a pack of baseball cards – a nickel – and you got a piece of bubble gum, too! I remember I was so excited when I got one of the Cubs! When I started caddying (13 years old). I’d try and be the first one there at the caddyshack at 6 am – get the first “loop”, so I could leave by 11 am or noon. I’d get my pay (you were paid cash, that very day), bicycle 2 miles to the “L” stop in Wilmette and take the train to Addison St. I remember getting a bleacher seat for a buck – buying a frosty malt in the 7th inning from a guy with one tooth. We started throwing home runs from opposing teams back on the field (there were quite a few of those back in those days) and late in the game we spelled out players’ names in the fence behind the bleachers with empty beer cups.
Mr Cub passed away yesterday, a week shy of his 84th birthday. In the midst of this cloudy, dreary middle of winter, the world has lost a little bit of sunshine. Several years ago, my daughter got me a real autographed picture of Ernie Banks. A put it in the side crack of the mirror in my bedroom. It’s one of the first things I see when I wake up in the morning, a reminder to try to appreciate the wonderful life I have and to spread some sunshine in day that lies ahead. Ernie Banks, R.I.P.
Game Called. Across the field of play
the dusk has come, the hour is late.
The fight is done and lost or won,
the player files out through the gate.
The tumult dies, the cheer is hushed,
the stands are bare, the park is still.
But through the night there shines the light,
home beyond the silent hill.
Game Called. Where in the golden light
the bugle rolled the reveille.
The shadows creep where night falls deep,
and taps has called the end of play.
The game is done, the score is in,
the final cheer and jeer have passed.
But in the night, beyond the fight,
the player finds his rest at last.
Game Called. Upon the field of life
the darkness gathers far and wide,
the dream is done, the score is spun
that stands forever in the guide.
Nor victory, nor yet defeat
is chalked against the players name.
But down the roll, the final scroll,
shows only how he played the game.
Click on the image to enlarge. This is a screen grab from a skycam (from WBAY) in Green Bay showing Lambeau Field at the start of the Green Bay/Dallas playoff game. It was 24 deg. in Green Bay and mostly cloudy. The wind was only 6 mph and the wind chill is 18. Green Bay wins! Daughter 2 is happy - Cowboys 9-0 on the road this season. Check out V.P. candidate Paul Ryan at the Packer game with his kids. It was in the low-mid 40s with a chance of a light rain or snow shower during the game late this PM. At 1 pm Sunday, it was up to 27 in Grand Rapids, warmer than we’ve been in over a week. It was an even-freezin’ 32 at S. Haven, Holland and Muskegon. Here’s the latest satellite loop (daytime). Here’s a summary of the Thursday snowstorm from G.R. NWS. More local weather in the threads below this one.
Sunday AM snow cover: 36″ Grand Marais, 26″ Munising, 22″ Marquette (airport), 18″ S. Ste. Marie, 17″ Hart, 16″ Ironwood, 15″ Muskegon, Fremont and Traverse City, 13″ Scottville, 12″ west of Hastings, Walker, 11″ Holland and Grandville, 10″ Grand Rapids, East G.R., Kalamazoo and Gaylord, 9″ Big Rapids, Reed City, Middleville, W. Cloud, Manistique, 7″ Houghton Lake, E side of Belmont and Paw Paw, 6″ east of Hastings, Plainwell and Saranac, 5″ Lansing, Grand Ledge and Ann Arbor, 4″ Flint, Saginaw and Alpena. 45.2% of the Continental U.S. has a snow cover this morning, compared to 40.3% last year on this date.
Model update: Snowfall forecasts for tonight from the NAM (car): 0.5″ Grand Rapids, 2.0″ Kalamazoo, 1.4″ Lansing…from the GFS (car.): 0.5″ Grand Rapids, 1.2″ Kalamazoo, 0.8″ Lansing. Low temps. Tues. and Weds. AM: NAM (car) – for Grand Rapids -11.3, -10.0…from the GFS (car) -6.3, -15.1. Two pretty cold mornings this week. No big storms this week. There could be flurries and it’s not impossible there could be a touch of freezing mist late Weds. night/Thurs. AM. Schools should be open all week at this point. EPO index and NAO index are negative at the end of the month, hinting at a trough in the Eastern U.S. and a relatively cool pattern for the Great Lakes.
We’ve had the last regular season games today. Green Bay wins 30-20. Green Bay wins the division for the 4th year in a row. Detroit has a tough road game at Dallas to start the playoffs. Rodgers had a Q.B. rating of 139.6 today. I’m doing the weather on the 10 pm news (WXSP and after the NBC game around 11:30 pm news. Sunday Night Football on WOOD/NBC is Cincinnati (10-4-1) at Pittsburgh (10-5). That should be an offensive dual and the winner of that game gets a home game in the Playoffs. No touchdowns for the Bears today. Wonder what happens to Trestman and Cutler (who is promised over 15 million dollars next year). He’s had 18 interceptions and 24 turnovers this season. Harbaugh comes to Michigan – probably “announced” at the b-ball game Tue.
Weatherwise, At 7 PM, it’s partly cloudy and 29° in G.R., 26° and 32° at Muskegon. It’s snowing lightly at S. Ste. Marie, Newberry, Pellston, Harbor Springs and Alpena. It’s going to get colder. The NAM (car). has a mid-pm temperature for G.R. of 30° Monday and just 23° on Tues. The GFS-plot has a mid-pm temp. of 33° Sunday, 27° Monday, 22° Tues., 21° Weds., 27° Thurs. 31° Fri. and mid 30s with rain/snow next Saturday. The coldest air on the GFS-plot is the 7th/8th. The models are overall dry, but cold air will generate some lake-effect snow showers and (mostly) light accumulations this week. The overnight MOS high temps. for G.R. are remarkably similar (36°/30°/23° for the GFS and 36°/30°/22° for the NAM) for Sun. Mon. Tue. I’d be tempted to add a couple degrees to that because of no snow on the ground and an open Lake Michigan. GFS snowfall for the next 120-hours: Not much for G.R. (though maybe a bit underdone for midweek)…up to 8″ for the U.P. (also probably a tad underdone). The European has some pretty cold air over us Jan. 4-7. Las Vegas NV may end up with more snow in Dec. than G.R.
Also: “Massive” snowstorm traps 15,000 in the Alps…Tropical Depression moving through the Philippines will produce heavy rain, but little wind damage. AirAsia: Flight “was requesting deviation due to enroute weather before communication with the aircraft was lost”. Closed – Both directions US 24 @ Minturn in Colorado b/c of land slide; No est. time of reopening. Highest in U.S. Sat. was 83° in Sanford, FL – coldest was -19 in Laramie WY, most rain was 2.56″ in Montecello AR. Fairbanks AK reached -20 for the first time this winter. Barrow AK reached -28° and Deadhorse AK dropped to -32°. Sunset at the Pacific Ocean in Cambria CA. It was a White Christmas for the high mountains of Hawaii. 3.5″ of snow Saturday in Oklahoma City. The beautiful Colorado Rockies after a 6-12″ snowfall. Heavy snow in the Pyrenees Mts. between France and Spain. Heavy snow in Meribel, France. Parts of Alabama have had 10″ of rain this month.
The 0.67 of an inch of precipitation measured yesterday at the National Weather Service in Negaunee Township broke a record for December 27th. The 7.8 inches of snowfall was just short of the record for the day of 8.1 inches which was set in 1971. The 2014 precipitation total thus far of 44.83 inches places fifth on the list of all-time wettest years on record here at NWS Marquette. 1-4″ of snow for NW Lower Michigan.
I’m a little late with the sports thread. The Lions beat the Bears. We turned off the TV for dinner when it was 14-3 Bears and after dinner the Lions were ahead for good. The Bears sure have some problems…I know it’s Detroit, but only 13 yards rushing? And the defense has certainly come down a couple notches since the Urlacher/Lovie Smith days. Looks like the Lions are on the road to the playoffs, probably not a Super Bowl team yet, but for all the years we’ve watched them, 8-4 is pretty good. They may end up 11-5 for the season. I can’t get Western Michigan (vs. N. Illinois) on my Comcast at home (ESPNU), so I’m watching Iowa and Nebraska on WOTV4. There are 16 college games on today. WOTV4′s second game at 3:30 pm is Stanford at UCLA (where it’ll be sunny and 80°). Saturday, WOTV4 is the place to watch football, with Michigan at Ohio St. at noon and Michigan St. at Penn St. at 3:30 pm – both on WOTV4. Notre Dame is at USC at 3:30 pm Sat. and the evening game on WOTV4 is #2 Oregon at Oregon St. where they are getting a steady rain today and could catch or rain or snow shower Sat. evening. Ferris St. is in the playoffs and they play in Big Rapids against Ohio Dominican at Noon tomorrow (Sat.). Of course, we have Michigan high school playoffs going on today and tomorrow. Muskegon Catholic, Mona Shores and G.R. South Christian all play today. The high school playoffs are televised on Fox Sports, which for me is Channel 48 on Comcast. We’ll have the highlights on 24-Hour News 8.
On Nov. 25, 1950 Michigan and Ohio State met for what has been called the “Blizzard Bowl” or the “Snow Bowl“. Check out the film of the storm here and here. Michigan won the game 9-3 despite gaining only 27 yards of offense in 46 plays. They had no first downs, didn’t complete a pass and punted 24 times. In fact, there were 45 punts in the game. Both teams mostly tried two runs then punted on 3rd down, so in case the punter slipped, they could try again on fourth down. Only 2 of the 45 punts were returned (for a total of 8 yards). That was mostly because the return man couldn’t find the ball. Most just hit the snow and stopped without bouncing. There were only 10 fumbles in the game. The temperature at the start of the game was +10° and the wind was howling out of the north-northeast. One Ohio St. player remarked that he was supposed to go down and block a linebacker, but when he ran downfield he could find him! All the points were scored after blocked kicks in the first half. Several hundred Boy Scouts were on the sidelines helping to sweep snow off the field so the officials and players could find the yard markers. Most of the state of Ohio got 10″ or more of snow, with reports up to 33″ and drifts up to 25 feet! The temperature in Grand Rapids that morning reached -10°F, the coldest temperature ever recorded here in the month of November. (photo – OSU library)
Football starts at noon on WOTV4 with Ohio State at Minnesota. Minnesota’s not bad – hope they keep it close. Iowa at Illinois is on the Big Ten Network at Noon. Miami (of Ohio) is at Central Michigan at 1 pm. Eastern visits a significantly improved WMU Bronco Team. That game is at 2 pm – plenty of time to head there after the parade. Nebraska at Wisconsin should be a good game – that’s at 3:30 pm on ESPN3. Northwestern is at Notre Dame (they’ve had to remove snow from the field there, too – the South Bend Airport had a record (lake-effect) snow of 12.2″). That game is on WOOD-TV at 3:30 pm. Michigan State plays at Maryland at 8 pm on the Big Ten Network. Michigan has a bye week – 2 games left with Maryland and Ohio State. Ferris State’s next victim is Walsh – that game is at Noon and GVSU heads to Saginaw Valley for a 1 pm game. The Lions are at Arizona for what could and should be the game of the day. That game is at 4:25 pm. Minnesota and the Bears tangle in snowy Soldier Field Sunday at 1 pm. Chicago will only get an inch or two of snow Saturday night, but they’ll have to clear things off Sun. am. We’ve got high school playoff games today as well…join us for the Frenzy on 24-Hour News 8 today.