Talking ’bout a heatwave

Sunset at the Beach by charles hildebrandt

Sunset at the Beach by charles hildebrandt

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!

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The Wonderful Wizard of … West Michigan?

2019 Holland Michigan by Erik

2019 Holland Michigan by Erik

“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was written solely to pleasure the children of to-day. It aspires to being a modernized fairy tale, in which the wonderment and joy are retained and heart-aches and nightmares are left out.”
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
L. Frank Baum, 1900

L. Frank Baum was born 144 years ago today, and this Sunday marks the 110th anniversary of the publication of his classic fairy tale, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The Holland Sentinel’s excellent article L. Frank Baum and the Macatawa Goose Man: Celebrating the origins of “The Wizard of Oz” explores the author’s connection to West Michigan, saying in part:

He was named after his uncle, Lyman Spalding Baum, but never liked Lyman and always was known as Frank to family and friends. As an actor and playwright, he was Louis F. Baum. As a newspaper editor, L.F. Baum, and as the children’s book author most famously known for “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” he was known as L. Frank Baum. But to the folks in Macatawa, he was simply known as “The Goose Man.”

…In 1899, Baum published “Father Goose: His Book.” The collection of children’s poems exploded in popularity and provided Baum with wealth and prestige for the first time in his life, his great-grandson, Bob Baum, recalled.

The author used the profits from his book to rent a large, multi-story Victorian summer home nestled on the southern end of the Macatawa peninsula on Lake Michigan. The home, which he eventually purchased, came to be known as the Sign of the Goose, an ever-present reminder of the fame that came along with “Father Goose.”

“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” supposedly was written in Chicago, but some of the forest scenes look just like the pathways that run through the dunes, the younger Baum said.

He assumes Macatawa was where part of the book had been worked on or written, as Baum might have found inspiration from the castle in Castle Park for the yellow brick road, some say, or even based some of the characters in the book on personalities he encountered in the small lakeshore community.

“Especially in the Oz stories, a lot of characters and situations that we may not recognize … he drew lots of inspiration from Macatawa for the book.”

According to an undated newspaper article detailing one reporter’s visit to the Sign of the Goose, Baum not only was popular and well-known among the adults in the area, but children were quite fond of him as he allowed them into his home to read fairy tales, which occupied one of the shelves of his large bookcase.

The Holland Oz Project launched last summer with the installation of this floral living mosaic book, a yellow brick road, and colorful landscaping in Centennial Park with bronze sculptures on the grounds of the Herrick Library across the street. A funding campaign to support the project uses personalized engraved yellow bricks for placement along the yellow brick road.

To learn more about the Oz Project, visit their website or call the Holland Area Visitors Bureau at 616.394.0000.

You can see more in Erik’s Holland 2019 gallery on Flickr.

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Home Before the Squall

Home Before the Squall, photo by Julie Mansour

Thinking there’s been a lot of rain lately? You’re not wrong! Michigan has experienced a lot of rain over the last few weeks, and mLive meteorologist Mark Torregrossa shares that there are three weather conditions all combining over the Great Lakes that keep the rain machine running:

Over the next 10 days there should be three weather systems moving through the Great Lakes region. Each of these storms should have one to two inches of rain in the heaviest swath of precipitation.

The cause of the wet weather starts with numerous storm systems being born over the northern Pacific Ocean. These storms are hitting the Pacific Northwest coast every three to five days. The storm systems then cross the hotter than average Rockies and drop south into the base of a “U”-shaped bend in the jetstream. This U-shaped area is where storms spin faster and intensify. It’s the area along the jetstream where large-scale weather systems are at their strongest.

The final part to this wet weather scenario is what we call a “wide-open Gulf of Mexico.” Southern winds from the Gulf of Mexico into the Midwest and Ohio Valley bring high amounts of water vapor northward. The strong storm systems use that water vapor to produce heavy rain.

…The total rainfall forecast over the next week, through July 4, 2017 shows NOAA forecasters expect a swath of five to six inch total rain. We will just have to watch where this heaviest rain sets up. Right now it is expected to fall south of the flooded areas in Michigan. It could easily shift north or south a few hundred miles.

Julie caught the Neptune beating the rain in Holland last weekend. View her photo background bigtacular and see more in her slideshow.

Pure Michigan’s Lake Effect Gallery

Holland, Mi  Sailboat City by Cyndie M

Holland, MI – Sailboat City, photo by Cyndie M

Over the weekend, Pure Michigan rolled out a new hashtag on Instagram, Twitter and Vine. You can click those links to check out #PureMichiganLakeEffect on each of the services or head over to the Pure Michigan Lake Effect Gallery to see how to share yours and what kind of summer fun people are up to in the Great Lakes State!

View Cyndie’s photo background big and see more in her slideshow.

Not In Kansas Anymore: L Frank Baum, the Wizard of Oz & Michigan

Not in Kansas Anymore

We’re Not In Kansas Anymore!, photo by Tina :O)

The Wizard of Oz rolled off the presses May 17, 1900. It’s one of my all-time favorite books. What you may not know is that L. Frank Baum, author of the beloved series, purchased a large, multi-story Victorian summer home on the southern end of the Macatawa peninsula on Lake Michigan.

Several years ago the Holland Sentinel published a cool piece about Baum and his Macatawa summer home that says (in part):

“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” supposedly was written in Chicago, but some of the forest scenes look just like the pathways that run through the dunes, the younger Baum said.

He assumes Macatawa was where part of the book had been worked on or written, as Baum might have found inspiration from the castle in Castle Park for the yellow brick road, some say, or even based some of the characters in the book on personalities he encountered in the small lakeshore community.

“Especially in the Oz stories, a lot of characters and situations that we may not recognize … he drew lots of inspiration from Macatawa for the book.”

Check out L. Frank Baum, The Goose Man of Macatawa on Absolute Michigan for more about the author’s Michigan ties and information about the Wizard of Oz festival slated for June in Ionia.

About the photo, Tina shares:

This freakie cloud formation started at the end of our wedding photo shoot. There were clouds swirling all over us but luckily no tornados formed. I added some sepia for a little Wizard Of Oz effect.

View her photo background bigtacular and see more in her Pure Michigan slideshow.

Time for Tulip Time

Yellow Tulips

Yellow Tulips, photo by E. Benson

Holland’s annual Tulip Time festival returns May 7-14, 2016. They have 4.5 MILLION tulips in Holland and are reporting about 30% of tulip bloom right now – just about perfect. Stay tuned through their Tulip Tracker.

Here’s a cool video showing how they plant Windmill Island with 55,000 tulips in a matter of hours.

E took this at Tulip Time in 2009. View her photo background bigilicious and see more in her Tulip Time Festival 5/2009 slideshow.

More tulips and more spring wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Happy Birthday Holland: Looking back on the Holland Channel

Looking Back on the Holland Channel

Looking Back at the Holland Channel, photo by Sandy Hansen Photography

February 9th is the 169th anniversary of the founding of Holland, Michigan. The History of Holland has some background about one of the prime factors for the city’s success, the Holland Channel:

From its very beginnings, Holland provided a refuge for those seeking freedom of expression and a more vibrant economy. Persuaded by religious oppression and economic depression, a group of 60 men, women, and children, led by Albertus C. VanRaalte, prepared for their 47-day trip from Rotterdam to New York. VanRaalte intended to purchase land in Wisconsin, but travel delays and an early winter caused the group to layover in Detroit. After hearing about available lands in west Michigan, VanRaalte decided to scout the territory. They reached their destination on February 9, 1847 on the banks of Black Lake—today’s Lake Macatawa.

The hundreds of Dutch immigrants that followed expected to find their promised land, but instead found a swamp and insect-infested forest. Although food was scarce, and the log sheds they built were unable to hold everyone, the settlers persevered. VanRaalte realized the practical and economic potential of the dense forest: trees could be felled to build homes and businesses, while the excess lumber could be sold to purchase farming supplies.

In the early years of Holland history, the settlers set out to conquer several projects. They knew that if Lake Michigan was to provide growth and development, it had to be made accessible by an adequate channel. After trying in vain to receive government aid, the determined Hollanders took up picks and shovels and went about digging the channel themselves. The immigrants also cleared a one-block square of land in the center of the colony—today’s Centennial Park—to serve as a market square.

Read on for more and click for a live webcam of the Holland Channel.

View Sandy’s photo bigger, see more in her Aerial slideshow, and follow her on Facebook too!

More aerial photos and more from Holland on Michigan in Pictures.

June 29th in Holland

Holland - MI

Holland – MI, photo by betopps

View this photo from June 29, 2013 background bigtacular and see more in betopps slideshow.

Tulips, Tulips, Tulips

Tulips, Tulips, Tulips

Tulips, Tulips, Tulips, photo by Dawn Williams

Holland’s annual Tulip Time starts this Saturday (May 2) and continues through May 9th. The annual celebration features parades, music, displays of Dutch Heritage and of course tulips, 4.5 million of them!

Dawn took this photo last year. See it background bigtacular on Flickr and check out more of her Tulip Time photos.

More tulips & Tulip Time and more spring wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.

Big Red, White Snow & Blue Ice

Big Red & Blue Ice

Reflections of a cold sunset, photo by Tony Reidsma

Here’s an incredible shot of Big Red aka the Holland Harbor Lighthouse. In his extensive article on the history of the Holland Harbor Light, Terry Pepper explains how the nickname came to be:

A Coast Guard crew arrived in Holland in 1956, and gave the combined fog signal building and lighthouse a fresh coat of bright red paint in order to conform to its “Red Right Return” standard, which called for all aids to navigation located on the right side of a harbor entrance to be red in coloration. Local residents thus began referring to the fifty year old structure as “Big Red,” a name which has stuck through the years. The Fourth Order lens was subsequently removed from the fog signal lantern in the late 1960’s, and replaced with a 250 mm Tidelands Signal acrylic optic.

With the fading of the Great Lakes passenger fleet, Holland Harbor had ceased to serve any real commercial traffic. With the station now serving only as a beacon to guide pleasure boats in and out of Lake Macatawa, the Coast Guard announced plans to abandon the old fog signal building to eliminate ongoing maintenance costs in 1972. Over the years, “Big Red” had become as much of an iconic symbol of tourist-centered Holland as tulips and windmills, and fearing the loss of their beloved landmark, the citizenry of Holland gathered together and circulated petitions in an attempt to save the historic structure. To this end, the Holland Harbor Lighthouse Commission was formed in 1974 to coordinate preservation and restoration efforts, and continues to manage the structure to this day.

View Tony’s photo big as Big Red on Facebook and see and purchase some of his work at imagesforyourwalls.com.  If you’re in an icy mood, consider attending the opening of his Frozen In Time exhibition at the Holland Arts Council from March 5 – April 18, 2015. The opening reception is March 5th, starting at 6pm.

More winter wallpaper and more lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures!