South Haven Area Fire-Rescue-EMS by William Dolak
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.
See the photo bigger in our Michigan in Pictures Group on Facebook & for sure follow him on Flickr!
Milky Way + Mars viewed from Garden Peninsula MI by Daniel Sandin
NASA’s Perseverance Rover will land on the surface of Mars today, Feb. 18, 2021 in a search for ancient life that will test the next generation of exploration tools:
Perseverance is the most sophisticated rover NASA has ever sent to the Red Planet, with a name that embodies NASA’s passion, and our nation’s capability, to take on and overcome challenges. It will collect carefully selected and documented rock and sediment samples for future return to Earth, search for signs of ancient microbial life, characterize the planet’s geology and climate, and pave the way for human exploration beyond the Moon.
Perseverance is also ferrying several cutting-edge technologies to the surface of Mars – including a helicopter named Ingenuity, the first aircraft to attempt powered, controlled flight on another planet.
The landing takes place just before 4 PM EST & you can watch online at NASA.
Daniel took this photo back of Mars in July of 2018 on the UP’s Garden Peninsula. See more great night photography on his Flickr & for sure check out his website – he looks like a very interesting guy!
Here’s NASA’s YouTube stream which goes live around 2 PM today.
Push Ice, Lake Michigan by Charles Bonham
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!
Michigan Lights Up the New Year by CIMSS UW-Madison
This satellite photo from the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) at the University of Wisconsin shows:
…two of the first 2021 images from the Suomi-NPP and NOAA-20 satellites when they flew over the U.S. overnight to acquire stunning VIIRS nighttime imagery with light from recently full moon (98% illumination). City lights shimmer in the wintry landscape while a large storm swirls in the Mississippi Valley. Including a zoom into the Great Lakes Region because there’s no place like home!
Indeed!! Head over to their Facebook page for more & congratulations for being a part of the most welcoming state from space on the planet!! ;)
Magnetic North by Aaron Springer
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!
Blue Skies, White Sails, and Big Red by Bill Johnson
Reaching back to September of 2013 for this tasty shot of a sailboat gliding past the Big Red Lighthouse in Holland. See more in his awesome Lighthouses album on Flickr!
Surfs Up by Julie
While it seems crazy, winter, particularly November & December, are Michigan’s best surfing season. If you take a look through our photos of Michigan surfing, you’ll see that the biggest waves are the ones that come with snow & cold.
Julie took this on Sunday in Charlevoix when the temperature was a balmy 37 degrees. Head over to her Flickr for a shot of all five surfers who were out and see lots more in her Lighthouses gallery on Flickr.
A Cold Drink by Mark Smith
Mark captured this shot of Lake Michigan in the village of Leland looking mighty chill! See his latest at downstreamer on Flickr.
Elberta Beach During the Hang Gliding Heydays
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!
Last night at a lake near you by Gary Syrba
If you live in Michigan, you probably enjoyed a pretty nice weekend! WOOD-TV Grand Rapids reports that record highs fell in Kalamazoo (75°), Grand Rapids (74°), Lansing (75°) and Muskegon (74°). The other locations on the map don’t have record data. Click on Detroit adds that Detroit toppled the previous November 7th record of 70 from 2016 with a high of 71. Daily records were also set at Traverse City (76°), Pellston (73°) and Gaylord (71°).
Gary took this photo at Grand Haven. No word as to whether or not their high of 76 was a record, but guessing it was close! Head over to Gary’s Flickr for more!