Shelby got an absolutely stunning shot of the aurora borealis on Saturday night on Lake Superior’s Keweenaw Peninsula. Head over to ShelbyDiamondstar Photography on Facebook for more!
We’re getting to the portion of the winter where the ice begins to build out on the Great Lakes. As a person who grew up on Lake Michigan, I’ve enjoyed the ice safely for decades & will undoubtedly continue to do so and also to share photos of the incredible beauty of the frozen lakes. I want to make sure however that folks understand venturing on the ice in winter can be deadly, particularly if you don’t take precautions. Though EMT workers know this and train to help people in peril, if you fall into one of the Great Lakes, you will very probably die. You can read more of my thoughts on this post on Michigan in Pictures.
Bill took this last weekend in South Haven & writes:
It’s 16 degrees at the beach – this is what the cool kids are wearing on South Beach, South Haven. These three are with the South Haven Area Fire-Rescue-EMS and were out to practice a little cold-water rescue, ‘cuz, unfortunately, someone is gonna need it sooner or later.
The Traverse City Ticker reports that with less than 2% ice coverage so far, the Great Lakes are experiencing record low ice cover this winter:
According to Dr. Jia Wang, a research ice climatologist and physical oceanographer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, the Great Lakes region is experiencing “warmer-than-usual weather” this season due to a combination of weather patterns including strong La Niña conditions. As a result, the maximum ice cover on the Great Lakes is only projected to reach 30 percent this year, Wang says – “way below” the average of 53 percent. Lake Michigan is expected to reach a maximum ice cover of just 23 percent, compared to an average 40 percent.
The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay has records for nearly two centuries on the freeze rate of West Grand Traverse Bay, including when it reaches the freeze point each year (if at all) and how many days it stays frozen over. While the Great Lakes often follow cyclical patterns, data shows that trends appear to be intensifying in recent years – a result many scientists attribute to climate change and include categories like water levels and ice cover. That trend can also be seen in Grand Traverse Bay freeze records, according to Watershed Center Executive Director Christine Crissman.
“If you look at the last 170 years overall, the bay definitely freezes over a majority of the time,” she says. “But if you start looking more closely at recent years, we are seeing a trend of less ice cover. From 1980 to present, the bay has only frozen over 38 percent of the time. Before 1980, it was 84 percent of the time. And even when it does freeze now, it doesn’t tend to freeze as long as it used to. It might be 20 to 40 days, where it used to be 70 days, 116 days.”
Charles took this photo back in 2015 off Gills Pier on the Leelanau Peninsula. Head over to his Flickr for more!
The NOAA/NWS Space Weather Prediction Center reports that geomagnetic Storm Watches are in effect from December 10th & 11th, 2020 due to anticipated Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) effects giving us a good chance of seeing the northern lights! The CME occurred on December 7th and analysis suggests CME arrival possible late on 9 December, initially resulting in G1 (Minor) storm levels. As CME effects continue, activity is likely to increase, especially if the magnetic field carried with the CME connects well with Earth’s magnetosphere. The potential for strong storm levels exists and a G3 (Strong) Watch is in effect for December 10th. CME-related disturbances are forecast to continue into 11 December, likely resulting in G2 (Moderate) storm levels
As a quick rule of thumb, we can occasionally see Northern Lights at the G1 level, often at G2 and almost definitely at G3. Here’s hoping for clear skies!!
Aaron took this photo at Otter Creek in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore back in March of 2015 & shared: A very memorable night. After seeing all 4 indicators in red on [a now defunct aurora tracker website] (and I had never seen that before), I bolted for the lake with what was an already late start. Soon after arriving I punched through the ice while jumping from flow to flow in the shallows. This was the first time I have ever shot these and despite having one leg wet to the knee I managed to stay out for five hours on sheer excitement.
See more in his Aurora Borealis gallery on Flickr & here’s hoping for some clear skies tonight!
Here’s a post I shared way back in November of 2010. Apologies to all of you with photographic memories! ;)
Not a lot of beach that year (and the water was high), so there was not a lot of room to land! Then you had to hope folks would Get Out Of The Way! (And usually they did, as they were mostly hang gliding families or followers.) Taken at the Elberta beach on Lake Michigan in the late 1970s.
Jim is no longer updating his Flickr, but definitely check out his Hang Gliding / Hang Glider gallery on Flickr for some awesome pics!
PS: Here’s shot of sailplanes in the 1930s on Frankfort Beach which is just across Betsie Bay from Elberta!
“Take time in a place you love, restore your spirit on the beach.”
An excellent piece of advice, particularly in these dark times. Fortunately, all of Michigan’s Great Lakes beaches are open to the public for walking by law, and you are never more 85 miles from one of the Great Lakes!
PS: If you want to “virtually restore” check out many more Michigan beaches on Michigan in Pictures.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources says that Saugatuck Dunes State Park offers:
…2.5 miles of secluded Lake Michigan shoreline and 1,000 acres of steep slopes, rolling hills and fresh water coastal dunes more than 200 feet tall. The beach is a two-thirds mile hike from the picnic parking area.
The park’s major attraction are the long sandy beach and the 300-acre natural area, which contains a coastal dune system containing three endangered plant species. Nature enthusiasts, birdwatchers and hikers are the predominant day users.
The park, located in Allegan County, is relatively undeveloped. The land was acquired in 1971 from the Augustinian Order, who used the buildings as a seminary. When the state took ownership, the structures were used as a prison and state police offices.
Terry says that this is one of her favorite places to hike and hang out. See lots more pics in her Saugatuck Dunes album on Flickr.
The strangest (and hottest) Fourth of July weekend in recent memory is on tap with highs in the 90s forecast to blanket the state. Here’s hoping you can get into one of Michigan’s lovely lakes or rivers and stay cool (and safe) this weekend!
Charles took this on Tuesday at Higgins Lake. See much more on his Flickr!
West Michigan Fox-17 reports that the longest heatwave in West Michigan history possible in the coming weeks:
High temperatures will begin to rise to around or above 90° and will not fall below that point for at least a week. This long stretch of 90s could stretch into the second week of July, which would put us in the territory of longest heatwave since records began back in 1892.
A heatwave is 3 or more days in a row of 90°+ and we have had several of the shorter versions. The difference with this one in particular is it will last a week or even two as no system will swing through to cool us off.
A very strong ridge of high pressure across the country will set us up for the extensive heat. This will also keep rain chance minimal, as this ridge keeps air from rising and also dries the air out.
One good piece of news is that the majority of the heatwave will have manageable humidity. It will be a dry heat, just like the desert southwest.
Charles took this 10 years ago at Ottawa Beach in Holland. See more on his Flickr & stay cool everyone!