#TBT: Frozen Straits

August 28, 2014

Mackinac Bridge

Mackinac Bridge, photo by Mark Miller

OK, we’re not throwing back too far for this Thursday, but I wanted to share a really cool view that Mark took this February of the Mackinac Bridge and the Straits of Mackinac locked in the grip of the Polar Vortex.

View his photo bigger and see more great views of Michigan from above in his Aerials slideshow. You can also see one of his aerial photos of the Straits from last August on Michigan in Pictures.

There’s more aerials and more Mackinac Bridge on Michigan in Pictures!

The Moon and the Vortex

July 12, 2014

Moon and the Ice Blob

The Moon and the Ice Blob, photo by Cherie

One of the cool things about having a Michigan photo group with nearly 200,000 photos to draw from is that I can find a photo for pretty much any post. Thanks all of you who share in the Absolute Michigan photo group!

Bruce McClure and Deborah Byrd have a nice feature on one of my favorite blogs EarthSky titled What is a Supermoon? It begins:

We in astronomy used to call them perigean new moons or perigean full moons, that is, new or full moons closely coinciding with perigee – the moon’s closest point to Earth in its orbit. But, in accordance with the rapidly evolving skylore of the modern world, we now enjoy calling them supermoons. The name supermoon was coined by an astrologer, Richard Nolle, over 30 years ago. It was popularized and came to be the accepted term for most people only in the past few years.

Are supermoons hype? In our opinion … gosh, no, just modern folklore. And they can cause real physical effects, such as larger-than-usual tides. The year 2014 has a total of five supermoons. They are the two new moons of January, and the full moons of July, August and September. Next supermoon: July 12.

Read on for more about tonight’s supermoon and supermoons in general.

Of course, the supermoon isn’t the only natural phenomenon enjoying hype this weekend, because our old friend the Polar Vortex is returning for an encore. Or not, according to Dr Jeff Masters of Weather Underground in the Freep:

It is not, however, the second coming of a polar vortex, something the National Weather Service says it regrets tweeting earlier this week.

Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters says the weather pattern is similar to those dreaded words, but the key difference is that the chilly air mass isn’t coming directly from the arctic.

Masters says that Typhoon Neoguri in Japan altered the path of the jet stream and allowed polar air to spill out of Canada. That means next week’s temperatures will be as much as 15 degrees cooler than normal in the Midwest and could reach 90 in the normally temperate Pacific Northwest.

More at the Freep and also check out mLive meteorologist Mark Torregrossa’s take on the battle between El Nino and the Polar Vortex. He talks about El Nino’s chances to push the jet stream northward. If it’s not strong enough, winter 2015 could be ruled by the polar vortex again. Go El Nino, Go El Nino!

Cherie took this photo in February of 2009 on Belle Isle. See it bigger on Flickr and see more in her Belle Isle Slideshow.

More supermoons and more polar vortex on Michigan in Pictures!

Lake Michigan ... ice cave sunset

Lake Michigan … ice cave sunset, photo by Ken Scott

Last winter some incredible ice formations piled up off the coast of the Leelanau Peninsula, and the photographer on the scene was my friend & Michigan in Pictures regular Ken Scott. Ken has published a book, Ice Caves of Leelanau, that features some of his best shots and essays by noted Michigan author Jerry Dennis. Right now his books are mostly sold out (reprint coming in July) but you might be able to sweet talk one out of Ken – email him here.

If you’re in northwest Lower Michigan you can catch Ken’s talk on the ice caves tomorrow from 4-6 PM at the Leland Township Library.

View the photo bigger on Flickr and see more in his Lake Michigan Ice & Caves slideshow. You can also see some videos of the Ice Caves on Ken’s site!

Wintry Sunrise from Pictured Rocks by Lake Superior Photo

Wintry Sunrise from Pictured Rocks, photo by Lake Superior Photo

Normally ice would be gone or nearly gone from Superior and the other Great Lakes, but as the Freep reported:

Heading into May, the Great Lakes combined remain 26% ice-covered, with Lake Superior still more than half-blanketed in ice. By comparison, at this time last spring the lakes were less than 2% covered with ice.

The remaining levels of ice cover are amazing, said Jia Wang, an ice climatologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor.

“This prolonged winter will affect summer temperatures. This summer will be cold, and then a cooler fall,” he said.

In addition to wreaking havoc on the Great Lakes shipping industry and impacting fish and other aquatic species, the miles of ice cover serve as a vast, white reflector.

“All that sunlight that would normally heat up the water is just bouncing back up into space,” said Jay Austin, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota-Duluth’s Large Lakes Observatory, who agrees with Wang about the ice cover’s impacts on this summer, but disagrees about its potential impacts on weather beyond that.

Read on for more. About the photo, Shawn of Lake Superior photo writes:

A wonderful wintry sunrise from Pictured Rocks this morning…. ok I’m going to go cry now

The lake was still (of course, with ice that’s feet thick as far as the eye can see..) but a new sound, you could hear the waterfalls, prob Miners Falls in the distance.. so cool

View Shawn’s photo big as our biggest lake on Facebook, see another shot of the wintry expanse from Miner’s Castle and definitely follow her photos as “spring” unfolds in the North Country at the Lake Superior Photo Facebook along with 30,000+ others and purchase photos at lakesuperiorphoto.com!

Snowshoeing the U.P.

Snowshoeing the U.P., photo by Ashley Williams

Ashley took this shot in February in the Upper Peninsula, and by “February” I mean “this Monday”. It’s a beautiful scene for sure, but I think I speak for most of us when I say, “You’re drunk, Winter. Go home.”

View her photo bigger and see more in her Nature slideshow.

Cason J Calloway in Lake Superior Ice

Stuck in the ice, eastern Lake Superior, photo courtesy US Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw

As of yesterday, no ships had passed through the Soo Locks due to the overwhelming mass of ice on the world’s biggest lake. That doesn’t stop them from trying and (in this case) failing. The Cason J. Callaway ended up locked in ice and had to be rescued by the US Coast Guard’s flagship icebreaker Mackinaw.

Soo Today reported yesterday:

Two freighters bound from Duluth, Minn. are battling their way through what a United States Coast Guard spokesperson called “brutal” and “extreme” ice conditions on Lake Superior to reach the Soo Locks.

The vessels, John P. Munson and Cason J. Callaway, are following the USCG Cutter Mackinaw but are making very slow progress.

Randy Elliott, vessel traffic manager with the USCG stationed in Soo Michigan, said Tuesday that the convoy left Duluth around the time the Soo locks opened for traffic on March 25. As of late yesterday, the southbound convoy was located about 40 kilometres south of Michipicoten Island, and were confronting ice three to three and a half feet thick with windrows six feet high in some places.

The three vessels opted not to use their normal route across the lake, and instead are following the north shore of Lake Superior, Elliott said.

No commercial ships, either north or southbound, have locked through since the official opening a week ago.

That also is not normal.

“Usually at this time of the year we would see 12 to 15 vessels north and southbound a day using the locks,” Elliott said.

Read on for more and definitely check out pasty.com’s photos by Callaway wheelsman, Keith Baker.

Thanks Shawn Malone of Lake Superior photo for the find and for the title! Get more on icebreaking on the the Great Lakes on Michigan in Pictures.

Rick-Snyder-announces-Pure-Snow

APRIL 1, 2014 – LANSING, MI Governor Rick Snyder traveled to Ishpeming in the Upper Peninsula to announce to a crowd of media, dignitaries and frozen-in-place Michiganders that effective immediately, the “Pure Michigan” tourism campaign will be re-branded as “Pure Snow”.

“Who are we kidding?” Gov. Snyder asked. “Winter 2014 was like something out of the latest Thor movie (which coincidentally cost less to make than this year’s snow plowing bill). Pure Michigan has served the state well for years, but even though it looks like we’re in the clear now – in another six months, it’s back to winter again!”

The state’s $8.4 million dollar re-branding effort will seek to market travel by snowmobilers, skiers and “people without a brain in their head.” The State rock will now be “ice”, the State capital will now be Pellston, the “Ice Box of the North”, the State motto will be “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, what the heck are you doing here?” and the State animal will now be “frozen in a snowdrift”.

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,050 other followers

%d bloggers like this: