Michigan’s Lake Effect Snow and the Ice Beast of the Frozen Tundra

ice-beast-of-the-frozen-tundra

Ice Beast of the Frozen Tundra, photo by Mark Miller

As Michigan deals with the first winter storm of the season, it’s a good time to brush up on how Michigan’s lake effect snow machine works with a nice video (below) from mLive chief meteorologist Mark Torregrossa who writes:

The areas hit by lake effect are called snowbelts. Some parts of the snowbelts typically get much more snow than other parts. This is because some locations get lake effect from multiple wind directions. Good examples are in the heart of the northwest Lower Peninsula snowbelt. Mancelona and Gaylord get heavy lake effect with northwest, west and slightly southwest winds. Also, the Keweenaw Peninsula, sticking out into Lake Superior, can get lake effect snow from west winds to north winds to northeast winds. That’s why they often shovel over 200 inches of snow in Houghton, MI.

The opposite is true for Grand Rapids and to some extent, Traverse City. Grand Rapids needs a west to southwest wind for heavy lake effect. West winds are common in winter, but don’t tend to last for more than 12 hours. That’s why Grand Rapids often gets only 12 hours of heavy lake effect and a few inches of snow. The wind then veers to the northwest and areas around Holland and Allegan get buried. Downtown Traverse City has a hard time getting heavy lake effect also. Traverse City needs a north-northwest wind to straight north wind for the heaviest lake effect to move into downtown. That wind flow does happen, but it only lasts 24-48 hours a few times each winter.

Thanks to another Mark, Mark Miller, for today’s photo of the Ice Beast of the Frozen Tundra aka Major. View the photo bigger and see more in his “Major” slideshow.

Here’s Mark Torregrossa’s video:

Gloom over West Grand Traverse Bay

gloom-over-grand-traverse-bay

Gloom over Grand Traverse Bay, photo by Amie Lucas

View Amie’s photo background bigilicious, see more in her Central Michigan slideshow, and be sure to follow Amie Lucas Photography on Facebook.

PS: You can get Amie’s 2017 Calendar on her website.

Kiteboarding in Frankfort

kiteboarding-in-frankfort-michigan

Kiteboarding in Frankfort Michigan, photo by Tony Demin

View Tony’s photo of a kiteboarder taking advantage of big, late fall winds coupled with WAY warmer than usual temps background big, see more in his A Big Blow in Frankfort slideshow, and follow Tony Demin Photography on Facebook!

 

Still Standing … on the Superior Shore

still-standing-along-lake-superior

Still Standing, photo by Bobby Palosaari

Back in June, Bobby wrote, “Weathered and worn, these trees are enjoying a gorgeous summer evening along the shores of Lake Superior.

I’m assuming they’re still there, but I’m guessing it’s a bit less idyllic. View Bobby’s photo taken on the Keweenaw background bigtacular and see more in his slideshow.

Not ready to let summer go? There’s lots more summer wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Sunset on Michigan’s “November Summer”

port-austin-sunset

Port Austin Sunset, photo by Sarang Patki

While the implications of it are not good for the long term, there’s no denying that we’ve had a truly incredible run of warmth this November. The Detroit News reports that a new November 18th record high of 71 degrees was recorded yesterday at Detroit Metro Airport. Today however, temps there are barely expected to get above 40 with strong wind and rain. Elsewhere in Michigan:

Waves in the Lake Superior are forecast to reach 22 to 33 feet in Lake Superior between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. Saturday.

Northern Michigan is set to receive strong winds and snowfall in places such as Gaylord could accumulate, according to NWS. “The combination of gusty winds and snow will create near white-out conditions at times Saturday afternoon and evening, especially in lake-effect areas off Lake Michigan and Lake Superior,” the NWS says in a statement on its website.

The Thumb area of Michigan is also in for severe weather. Port Hope, off the coast of Lake Huron, will see ongoing rain and snowfall. Waves will be up to 12 feet on Saturday night and could possibly hit 16 feet on Sunday. A gale warning is in effect from 1 a.m. Saturday to 4 a.m. Monday.

It was fun while it lasted I guess and I hope you stored up plenty of Vitamin D and sunny feelings!

Sarang says that it was totally worth stopping at this roadside park near Port Austin for a sunset pic over Lake Huron – I quite agree! View the photo bigger and catch another shot from this beach and more in their slideshow.

More beaches and more Lake Huron on Michigan in Pictures.

God Rays on Saginaw Bay

god-rays-over-saginaw-bay-by-tom-clark

God’s Rays over Saginaw Bay, photo by Tom Clark

Awesome shot from one month ago on Saginaw Bay! View Tom’s photo bigger and see more in his Skyscapes slideshow.

More from Saginaw on Michigan in Pictures.

Happy Halloween … and the Indian Drum

pumpkin-on-the-shore-happy-halloween

Happy Halloween, photo by Julie

Happy Halloween everyone! I shared this story a few years ago, but since we’re back up on northern Lake Michigan at a time when the witch of November is rousing, why not share it again? In 1915, William MacHarg & Edwin Balmer wrote a book called The Indian Drum. The whole book is available online along with 53,000+ more books at Project Gutenberg. Chapter I begins:

Near the northern end of Lake Michigan, where the bluff-bowed ore-carriers and the big, low-lying, wheat-laden steel freighters from Lake Superior push out from the Straits of Mackinac and dispute the right of way, in the island divided channel, with the white-and-gold, electric lighted, wireless equipped passenger steamers bound for Detroit and Buffalo, there is a copse of pine and hemlock back from the shingly beach. From this copse—dark, blue, primeval, silent at most times as when the Great Manitou ruled his inland waters—there comes at time of storm a sound like the booming of an old Indian drum. This drum beat, so the tradition says, whenever the lake took a life; and, as a sign perhaps that it is still the Manitou who rules the waters in spite of all the commerce of the cities, the drum still beats its roll for every ship lost on the lake, one beat for every life.

So—men say—they heard and counted the beatings of the drum to thirty-five upon the hour when, as afterward they learned, the great steel steamer Wenota sank with twenty-four of its crew and eleven passengers; so—men say—they heard the requiem of the five who went down with the schooner Grant; and of the seventeen lost with the Susan Hart; and so of a score of ships more. Once only, it is told, has the drum counted wrong.

At the height of the great storm of December, 1895, the drum beat the roll of a sinking ship. One, two, three—the hearers counted the drum beats, time and again, in their intermitted booming, to twenty-four. They waited, therefore, for report of a ship lost with twenty-four lives; no such news came. The new steel freighter Miwaka, on her maiden trip during the storm with twenty-five—not twenty-four—aboard never made her port; no news was ever heard from her; no wreckage ever was found. On this account, throughout the families whose fathers, brothers, and sons were the officers and crew of the Miwaka, there stirred for a time a desperate belief that one of the men on the Miwaka was saved; that somewhere, somehow, he was alive and might return. The day of the destruction of the Miwaka was fixed as December fifth by the time at which she passed the government lookout at the Straits; the hour was fixed as five o’clock in the morning only by the sounding of the drum.

The region, filled with Indian legend and with memories of wrecks, encourages such beliefs as this. To northward and to westward a half dozen warning lights—Ile-aux-Galets (“Skilligalee” the lake men call it), Waugaushance, Beaver, and Fox Islands—gleam spectrally where the bone-white shingle outcrops above the water, or blur ghostlike in the haze; on the dark knolls topping the glistening sand bluffs to northward, Chippewas and Ottawas, a century and a half ago, quarreled over the prisoners after the massacre at Fort Mackinac; to southward, where other hills frown down upon Little Traverse Bay, the black-robed priests in their chapel chant the same masses their predecessors chanted to the Indians of that time. So, whatever may be the origin of that drum, its meaning is not questioned by the forlorn descendants of those Indians, who now make beadwork and sweet-grass baskets for their summer trade, or by the more credulous of the white fishermen and farmers; men whose word on any other subject would receive unquestioning credence will tell you they have heard the drum.

Read on at Project Gutenberg.

View Julie’s photo bigger and see more in her Holidays slideshow.

See 700 more Halloween photos in the Absolute Michigan photo group  and more haunted, Halloween fun on Michigan in Pictures.