The National Weather Service noted that the high temperature yesterday at the Otsego County Airport in Gaylord only reached 35 degrees – a new record for the coldest high temperature for the date that crushed the previous record of 44 degrees from 2003. It was also the coldest high temperature ever recorded in the month of May for Gaylord. They notched a record snowfall of 2 inches as well, beating the old record of 1 inch from 1971.
Temperatures dipped into the 20s across the state last night. Although the word isn’t in yet about the effect those temps have had, an mLive article about the apple crop on Fruit Ridge explains:
As fruit trees begin to develop and blossom each spring, their ability to withstand cold temperatures is greatly reduced. As bloom nears, temperatures in the upper 20-degree can cause considerable damage to early blooming crop varieties.
Currently on the area’s Fruit Ridge — a band of ideal growing land northwest of Grand Rapids — several different varieties of apples are in bloom, said Armock. Also, sweet cherries are nearly past bloom in some areas, he said. Tart cherries are in the flowering stage of bloom, as well as some varieties of strawberries and blueberries.
In fact, across the state, growers have been making preparations for “potentially the largest crop of apples and cherries that we’ve ever seen,” said Armock, who estimated the 2013 crop could yield between 30 and 34 million bushels of apples this year, from Traverse City down to the state line.
Read on for more, and here’s hoping their efforts at bringing in helicopters last night paid off. After the near total destruction of the apple, tart cherry and other crops last year, it would be a hard blow to stand.
April 9, 2013
April 8, 2013
As the air heats up we will get these warm and wave-tossing winds in the Great Lakes. The Chicago Tribune explains why spring brings us stronger lake breezes, the coastal wind that blows from the lake to land:
It’s powered by differences in density between warm (less dense) air over land and cool (more dense) air over Lake Michigan. Because temperature greatly affects air density, a lake breeze is most likely to form (and it will blow most strongly) when large temperature differences exist between the “land air” and “lake air.” Those temperature differences are greatest in April and May when the lake air is chilly because Lake Michigan waters still retain much of winter’s cold and the land air is warming strongly in response to the strengthening spring sun.
March 29, 2013
BLAM!! Who’s ready for some spring storms? FYI, this is actually not a lighthouse off Belle Isle, it’s the Detroit Waterworks Intake Crib. You can have a look at on Google Maps.
More wicked weather on Michigan in Pictures!
December 20, 2012
Meteorologist Paul Gross of WDIV has a nice forecast for Michigan & Metro Detroit (although the weather maps were a little confusing to me). In Winter Storm Draco ends record snowless streaks across Midwest, Dr. Jeff Masters of the Weather Underground adds that:
Winter Storm Draco is powering up over the Upper Midwest, and is poised to bring a resounding end to the record-length snowless streaks a number of U.S. cities have notched this year. Blizzard warnings are posted over portions of Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin, and snowfall amounts of up to a foot are expected in some of the affected regions. While the heavy snow will create dangerous travel conditions, the .5″ – 1.5″ of melted water equivalent from the the storm will provide welcome moisture for drought-parched areas of the Midwest.
…Average water levels on Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are near their lowest December levels ever recorded, preliminary data from NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory indicate. The U.S. has had its warmest and 12th driest year on record, according to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. It should be no surprise, then, that a number of major cities have set records for their longest period without snow. Most of these streaks have come to and end (or will do so in the next day or two) because of Winter Storm Draco.
Draco? You might be wondering when & why we started naming winter storms. The answer is actually due to social media:
A new naming system put in place by The Weather Channel has its roots in social media to make it easier for people to communicate and share information about winter storms. The network is the first to name them, similar to how tropical storms and hurricanes have been referenced for years.
“In addition to providing information about significant winter storms by referring to them by name, the name itself will make communication and information sharing in the constantly expanding world of social media much easier,” The Weather Channel meterologist Tom Niziol wrote on the site. “As an example, hash tagging a storm based on its name will provide a one-stop shop to exchange all of the latest information on the impending high-impact weather system.”
Mind your dragons folks and enjoy the last day of the 13th b’ak’tun cause the next time doesn’t roll around for 394.25 years!
More Michigan blizzards on Michigan in Pictures.
November 19, 2012
Some of the first snows of the 2012-2013 winter have visited Michigan, so it’s probably a good time to have a look at what Old Man Winter might have up his sleeve this winter. The Winter 2013 forecast from “Caleb Weatherbee”* of the Farmer’s Almanac is calling for a split in the nation’s weather with warmer and drier conditions in the West and cold & snow in the East & Midwest. The Freep takes a closer look at the winter forecast saying:
In a forecast sure to delight Michigan’s snow sport industries, the almanac is predicting plenty of snow, with temperatures 2 to 4 degrees colder than average. It estimates the first snow will come Nov. 7 in some parts of the Great Lakes — and a major storm of up to 8 inches will blast the Great Lakes on Jan. 20-23.
So far, so good I guess. While I’m not a meteorologist, it seems like warm, dry air in the west and colder, wetter air in the east could make for some exciting weather for Michigan. Someone who is a meteorologist is Dr. Jeff Masters of the Weather Underground. In his interesting and informative Forecast for Winter 2012-2013, Jeff notes that NOAA’s predictions suggest the same warmer & drier conditions for the west (with a wider area covered). He walks through the many factors that can affect winter weather, ultimately concluding:
I’m often asked by friends and neighbors what my forecast for the coming winter is, but I tell them to flip a coin, or catch some woolley bear caterpillars for me so I can count their stripes and make a woolley bear winter forecast (this year’s Woolley Worm Festival in Banner Elk, North Carolina is this weekend, so we’ll know then what the official Woolley Worm winter forecast is.) Making an accurate winter forecast is very difficult, as the interplay between El Niño, the AO/NAO, the AMO, Arctic sea ice loss, and the 11-year sunspot cycle is complex and poorly understood. I’ve learned to expect the unexpected and unprecedented from our weather over the past few winters; perhaps the most unexpected thing would be a very average winter during 2012 – 2013.
*FYI, Caleb Weatherbee is the official forecaster for the Farmers’ Almanac. His name is actually a pseudonym that has been passed down & shared by generations of Almanac prognosticators.
November 10, 2012
Chipping Ice on the City of Flint, photo by Captain John Meissner
Wikipedia explains that the Armistice Day Blizzard struck November 11 (Armistice Day) and November 12, 1940. The intense early-season “Panhandle hook” winter storm cut a 1,000-mile-wide path through the middle of the country from Kansas to Michigan. Carferries.com has a great article on The Armistice Day Storm of 1940 that begins:
The “storm” of November 11, 1940 was one of the worst storms in the recorded history of Lake Michigan. In all, the storm claimed 5 vessels, and 66 lives. The storm occurred on Armistice Day, which celebrated the end of World War I in 1918.
The storm hit late Monday afternoon, November 11th, with winds of hurricane proportions. The winds struck suddenly from the southwest at about 2:30 P.M. and were accompanied by drenching rain, which later changed to snow. The winds reached peak velocities of 75 miles per hour, the highest in local maritime history. Telephone and power lines were down by the hundreds around Mason County. Several local firms had “gaping” holes where roofs once were. Trees were uprooted, small buildings were overturned, and brick walls were toppled, causing at least 1 serious injury. Very few places escaped without damage. Ludington, on the morning of November 12th, appeared to be a deserted city.
The Pere Marquette carferry City of Flint 32, attempted to make the harbor but wound up on the beach about 300 yards from the shore. She was ordered by her relief captain, Jens Vevang, to be scuttled to avoid being pounded by the incoming seas. On November 12th, a breeches buoy was strung and 27 year old crewman Ernest Delotowski of 406 First Street, Ludington, was brought ashore. Delatowski made a good portion of the trip in the icy waters of Lake Michigan. As a precautionary measure, he was taken to Paulina Stearns Hospital and was released later that day. He said he carried a message with him, but it got lost in the water. Later the buoy was used to carry a message to the ship, and then crewman Luther Ryder of S. Washington Avenue (Ludington) was brought ashore.
You can read more including first-hand recollections of the storm and also see more photos taken by Captain John Meissner and also photos of the grounding and other wrecks as a result of the storm at carferries.com.
More shipwrecks on Michigan in Pictures.
November 8, 2012
Glen Willis of the Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse Society has an excellent article on The Great Storm of 1913 that explains that most historians agree that the most significant and most dreadful storm on Lake Huron took place over the weekend of November 8-10, 1913. Known by all mariners simply as “The Storm”, it was first detected on the western end of Lake Superior on Thursday, November 6th then progressed rapidly south and east, dropping temperatures and spawning marine warnings.
At Pointe aux Barques as the temperature dropped, it began to rain. As the wind picked up the rain turned to sleet. The sleet began to ice up everything it touched. The waves offshore quickly reached 10 to 12 feet, and then more. Then the snow came, thick and wind driven. Shipmasters out on the lake were finding sailing conditions that were unlike any they had seen before. The sleet that had coated their vessels turned the pilothouse windows opaque. It sealed and froze the doorways. To step outside a cabin meant that the skin would be painfully pelted by frozen bits of sleet & snow…
By midday Sunday at Pointe aux Barques, the snow was so thick and so heavily driven by the wind that vessels out on the lake could not see the rays of the light. At nearby Harbor Beach waves had already destroyed some lakefront buildings and had run the 552-foot D.O. Mills ashore. At mid-lake the wheelsman on the 500 foot Howard M. Hannah, Jr. found that the forward motion of the ship had ceased and that the bow had fallen off into the trough of the waves. Without enough power to drive it the ship was at the mercy of the elements. Waves were higher than the ship is tall and as they crashed down upon the ship the windows and the cabins were stove in. The ship was not under command and as it drifted into Saginaw Bay the master could see the flash of the Port Austin Reef Light. He then knew that his ship would not be saved.
Pointe aux Barques is the oldest continuously operating Light on the Great Lakes, and the Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse Society preserves the light and operates a museum. Visit them for more!
More shipwrecks on Michigan in Pictures.
November 1, 2012
Superstorm Sandy’s Michigan impact has been fairly minor, forcing a few power outages but mainly sending hundreds of Michigan power company employees east to help restore services. Lake Michigan did record the second highest wave height ever of 21.7 feet, and of course brought out surfers to test their skills against some big waves.
October 29, 2012
As the eastern seaboard braces for Hurricane Sandy, a storm of possibly unprecedented power, I thought I’d take a look back and see what the strongest October storm ever was. I didn’t have to look far, as it’s actually the Great Lakes storm of late October 2010:
On October 26, 2010, the USA recorded its lowest pressure ever in a continental, non-hurricane system, though its pressure was consistent with a category three hurricane. The powerful system was dubbed the “Chiclone” by the media as it hit the Chicago area particularly strongly, as well as Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. It was also meteorologically referred to as a bombogenesis due to the rapid drop of barometric pressure experienced.
…The storm also produced some of the highest officially recorded waves by weather buoys stationed in Lakes Superior and Michigan. Specifically, on Wednesday, October 27, 2010, buoy no. 45136, operated by Environment Canada, in northern Lake Superior recorded a significant wave height of 26.6 feet (this is average height of 1/3 of the highest waves over an hour), and buoy no. 45002, operated by the National Data Buoy Center (NDBC), recorded a significant wave height of 21.7 feet in northern Lake Michigan. The NDBC and many models indicate that multiplying significant wave height by a factor of approximately 1.3 will equal the approximate average height of the highest 1/10 of waves recorded -here that would translate into such average wave heights of approximately 34.5 feet and 28.2 feet on Lakes Superior and Michigan respectively [please verify]. This would appear consistent with the NOAA forecast for northern Lake Michigan calling for 21-26 foot waves that day. The persistence and strength of the storm’s westerly winds also piled the waters of Lake Michigan along the Michigan shoreline leading to declines in lake levels on the Illinois and Wisconsin side of the lake. Based on NOAA lake level sensors, an updated analysis of Wednesday, October 27, 2010 water levels on Lake Michigan revealed a two-day decrease of 42 inches at Green Bay, WI and 19 inches at Calumet Harbor, IL—while NOAA sensors at Ludington, MI and Mackinaw City, MI measured lake level rises of 7 and 19 inches respectively.
A 78 mph gust was recorded the afternoon of October 27, 2010 at the Harrison-Dever Crib, three miles offshore of Chicago in Lake Michigan.
You can read a detailed account of the damage in the October North American Storm Complex on Wikipedia and also read Dr. Jeff Masters’ analysis of the storm at Weather Underground.
More Michigan weather on Michigan in Pictures.