Snowvember in Michigan

Thanksgiving Snow - Pine Cone Edition

Thanksgiving Snow – Pine Cone Edition, photo by Tom Hughes

Much of Michigan, particularly the southern 2/3 of the Lower Peninsula, is bracing for significant snowfall – as much as 6″ by Sunday morning according to mLive’s Mark Torregrossa:

Snow, possibly mixed with rain, will start in the southwest corner of Lower Michigan after 2 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 21. This includes Muskegon, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo. By 8 a.m. Saturday, wet snow, mixed with rain, will have spread into southeastern Lower Michigan, including Lansing, Jackson, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Flint, Saginaw, Bay City and Midland. Snow should make it into northern Lower Michigan, including Traverse City, Houghton Lake and Alpena by early Saturday afternoon.

The morning will have temperatures between 32 degrees and 35 degrees. Snow will probably struggle to accumulate during the morning.

All of the model data is now consistent that the storm center will intensify during the afternoon. Precipitation will be heaviest during the afternoon and early evening Saturday.

That’s when the driving conditions will likely worsen dramatically and possibly quickly.

The colder air, with temperatures of about 31 degrees will move in to southern Lower between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. At the same time there could be a fairly heavy rate of snow.

Read on for more at mLive. If you’re feeling sad, remember that last November was the snowiest since 1897 in much of Michigan!!

View Tom’s photo bigger and see more in his Rochester MI slideshow.

Also tune in to November snow in the Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr for photos at they are added!

A Pair of Predictions for Winter 2016

The ice, with some people thrown in for scale

The ice, with some people thrown in for scale., photo by Bill Dolak

It was nice to read NOAA’s forecast for Winter 2016 predicting that El Niño will give us a warmer than normal winter in Michigan:

One of the stronger effects of El Niño is warmer than normal winter temperatures from the Pacific Northwest through the northern Plains into the Great Lakes. NOAA places most of Lower Michigan in an area with a greater than 50 percent chance of warmer than normal temperatures. That also means there is a 33 percent chance of normal temperatures and a 17 percent chance of below normal temperatures.

So, it’s not a sure bet that it will be a warmer-than-normal winter, but indications are strongly leaning in the warmer direction.

The farther north you are in Michigan, the higher the chance of warmer-than-normal temperatures. The Upper Peninsula has at least a 60 percent chance of warmer-than-normal winter temperatures.

If you read on at mLive, meteorologist Mark Torregrossa has some caveats that temper this a bit. You can also just throw big buckets of frozen water on the whole idea of a warmer winter if you believe in the Farmers’ Almanac 2016 Winter Forecast where they predict that:

…the winter of 2015–2016 is looking like a repeat of last winter, at least in terms of temperatures with unseasonably cold conditions over the Atlantic Seaboard, eastern portions of the Great Lakes, and the lower peninsula of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, most of the Tennessee and Mississippi Valley, as well as much of the Gulf Coast.

Gack. For the record, the Almanac has nailed the last two winters for Michigan…

Bill took this shot in March of 2015 on the heels of the most brutal winter that Michigan had seen since … well … 2014. View it background bigtacular and see more in his South Haven slideshow.

More winter and more weather on Michigan in Pictures.

Fall…ing: Michigan is Still Michigan Edition

Fall-ing Northern Marquette County

Fall…ing, photo by Thom Skelding

Yep. This photo pretty much sums up the weekend!! In Michigan gets bragging rights to first heavy snow east of Rockies, mLive meteorologist Mark Torregrossa writes:

Michigan now has bragging rights to the first heavy snow of the winter, east of the Rockies. Overnight Friday, October 16, 2015, and this morning, lake effect snow has been falling in part of the Upper Peninsula and a large area of northwest Lower Michigan.

The Kalkaska area, east of Traverse City, has officially reported 5.7 inches of new snow.

The northwest Lower Michigan snow belt has received areas of two to five inches of the winter wonder.

Click through for more, including some photos.

View Thom’s photo background bigtacular and see more in his slideshow.

More fall wallpaper and more winter wallpaper

Winter Is Coming … apparently tonight

North Country Girls

North Country Girls, photo by Michael

While El Niño is predicted to bring a milder winter for Michigan in 2016, it looks like things will kick off early with a chance of a dusting of snow tonight & tomorrow:

The coldest air of the season will pour into state on Friday and into the weekend. The cold air will bring widespread lake-effect rain showers to West Michigan. The rain may mix with some wet snow over parts of the state late Friday into Saturday afternoon.

A better chance of accumulating snow will be over the higher terrain of Norther Lower Michigan and parts of the Upper Peninsula.

I should add that although you may want to see it from your car with the heater cranked, color around the state is still really nice!

Michael took this last January when Detroit was locked in the grip of the White Walkers. View it background bigtacular and see more in his slideshow.

More Detroit and more winter on Michigan in Pictures!

Winter is Coming … and it might not be all that bad

Munising Ice Caves

munising ice caves/curtains, photo by Paul Wojtkowski

The Freep reports that El Niño in Pacific could mean mild Michigan winter:

Less ice on the Great Lakes would ease the freighter shipping industry’s logistical nightmares of recent winters. Less snow-melt runoff in the spring could forestall flooding that sends nutrients off farms and into Lake Erie, fueling its summer algae blooms. And deer populations that have dropped dramatically in the Upper Peninsula over recent harsh winters could begin to rebound.

…Over a century, comparing Michigan’s normal winter precipitation versus 10 El Niño events between 1915 and 1992, rain and snowfall was about 72% of normal in the Metro Detroit area during the El Niños; 78% of normal in the Thumb area, and in the 80% to 85% range of normal throughout the rest of lower Michigan and the eastern Upper Peninsula, according to NOAA.

You can read on for more. While that means that we might not have as much ice cave fun in Michigan this winter, I think I’m OK with an El Niño intermission!

Check Paul’s photo of this winter’s incredible ice caves on Grand Island out background bigalicious, see more in his slideshow and follow Paul Wojtkowski Photography on Facebook!

More ice caves on Michigan in Pictures!


#TBT: Soo Ice Jam of 1953

Soo Ice Jam of 1953

Soo Ice Jam of 1953, shared by John Rodawn

The Ludington Daily News from April 9, 1953 had an article titled Try to Clear Soo Lock Ice with Freighters’ Backwash that said:

SAULT STE. MARIE MICHIGAN – Three powerful lakes craft churned their propellers in a huge “Operations Backwash” today hopeful they could clear the Sault locks of an ice jam which has lied up nearly one-third of the Great Lakes fleet. The Coast Guard icebreaker Mackinaw was joined by the Pittsburgh Steamship Company freighter Arthur Anderson and the Canadian freighter Manladoc (not sure this is the right name) in the operation. Shipping men and lock engineers decided on the maneuver after an aerial survey showed the Whitefish Bay area, above the locks, was entirely free of the ice formation which has passed into the proper.

The three craft were tied up side by side at a dock and then went into action, with the propellers turning at full speed to churn up the water. Officials were hopeful the backwash would push the icy mess about 800 feet upstream, against the current, and get the ice in a position so it would be caught in a cross – current and washed over the Soo Rapids and out of the locks area. Coast Guard Commander T. A. Dahlburg of the Sault area expressed belief the ice would be cleared by this weekend, perhaps as early as Friday. Dahlburg reported 90 lake craft were tied up above the locks awaiting passage, while 64 were tied up below the locks upward bound. He called it the largest concentration of shipping ever assembled in the Sault area.

Under Dahlburg’s plan to keep some traffic operating, only the most powerful of the lake freighters and carriers were permitted to make their way downbound through the icy slush in the American locks. The only upbound traffic yesterday was through the Canadian lock, seven vessels passing through while 17 came down on the U.S. side.

View this postcard shared by John Rodwan bigger on Facebook and see a lot more in the Northern Michigan Postcards group.

More about the Soo Locks and more #TBT aka Throwback Thursdays on Michigan in Pictures.

#TBT – Ice Caves of 2015

Icicles on cave - Grand Island Ice Curtains on Lake Superior - Munising, Michigan

Icicles on cave – Grand Island Ice Curtains, photo by Craig

As the mercury climbs and some crazy people (such as yours truly) start grumbling about the high temps, it’s probably a good time to take a look back at last winter’s spectacular ice caves.

Aubrieta Hope shared the story of her trip with Craig and two other photographers (Neil Weaver & John McCormick) to check out the Grand Island ice curtains. All four are Michigan in Pictures regulars – click to check out In Search of Superior Crystal on the Pure Michigan Blog. It has a bunch of photos and begins:

In the heart of winter, when the drifts are as high as houses and snow-dusted pines line the roads, photographers travel to the Upper Peninsula in search of crystal. Not antique-store crystal, but Superior crystal, the kind that occurs when the north wind turns every drop of open water into something sparkling and new. During the coldest months, the great lake freezes, heaves and breaks, forming mountains of crystal rocks, so tall they seem like permanent landforms. Icebergs and volcanoes rise in the harbors and bays, reflecting all the colors of the sky. Waterfalls slow from a rush to a trickle, building columns that bubble and sing. And, on the sandstone cliffs, springs that flow unseen in the summer months create glittering ice curtains.

During winter’s last stand, at the very beginning of March, I headed north to find Superior crystal. My trip was inspired by winter photographs of the U.P. that I’d viewed online. I’d seen dramatic images of enormous frozen waterfalls, great Superior ice fields, and shining rivers wreathed in morning mist. I wanted to experience and photograph all those scenes, but more than anything, I wanted to see the legendary ice curtains of Grand Island in Munising Bay. These immense, aqua blue ice curtains form when cold temperatures freeze the springs that seep from the island’s rocky cliffs. It can be tricky to get to the ice curtains, though. The island is not accessible every winter because the currents are strong in the bay, preventing adequate ice buildup. During last year’s historically cold winter, the bay froze sufficiently to allow foot traffic. For awhile it looked like Grand Island would not be accessible this year, but February’s arctic blast arrived just in time.

View Craig’s photo bigger and see & purchase more in the Grand Island Ice Curtains – Munising gallery on Craig’s website.

PS: The Grand Island National Recreation Area is located just off the coast of the UP in Munising and is an amazing place, complete with mountain bike trails!

PPS: More ice caves on Michigan in Pictures too!

PPPS: I really am a fan of the PS. If you are too, please PS in the comments!