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:
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.
Fahrenheit, photo by Eric
WILX-Lansing says that temperatures are expected to climb to the upper 60s to near 70 degrees today in Lansing and Jackson where the record high temperature today for both is 69 degrees. According to the forecast from the Weather Underground, Detroit will also flirt with today’s record high of 70 set on November 18, 1953. If you’re curious, you can head over to Wunderground’s history page and enter your city or town.
And of course we are headed for yet another global record high temperature in 2016.
View Eric’s photo bigger and see more in his Belle Isle slideshow.
More Michigan weather on Michigan in Pictures.
When the winds of November come early, photo by Curt Saunier
Never will I ever not share this incredible Edmund Fitzgerald video by Joseph Fulton on November 10th. Simply wonderful:
View Curt’s photo bigger and see more in his The Skies slideshow.
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.
I’ve featured the worst storm in Great Lakes history before, but ThumbWind has a cool feature on The Great Storm of 1913 that includes some interesting information and photos. It says in part:
…the most savage storm in the history of the Great Lakes swept the inland waters November 7-12, 1913 resulting in much greater loss of life. Combined of the forces of two storm fronts colliding with hurricane force bringing monstrous waves and driving snow and ice that doomed anyone caught out on the big lake. The greatest losses in lives and ships occurred on Lake Huron where 24 vessels were lost or severely damaged. 10 ships went to the bottom of the lake.
…On Lake Huron big freighters were tossed about by winds blowing from seventy-five to eighty miles an hour. One of these steamers was the Charles S. Price which received more space on the front pages of newspapers than any other ship. On Saturday morning, the Price, laden with soft coal, left Ashtabula, Ohio. When the freighter passed the town of St. Clair before dawn on Sunday morning, November 9, Second Mate Howard Mackley gave a short blast of the whistle as a signal to his young bride that he was passing and in reply she turned on an upstairs light in their home. By dawn the Price was making its way up Lake Huron. About noon Sunday the Price was seen north of Harbor Beach by Capt. A. C. May of the Steamer H. B. Hawgood.
On Monday afternoon a big steel freighter was seen floating upside down in the lake about eight miles north and east of the mouth of Lake Huron. Many people were anxious to learn the name of the steamer, although it was generally believed to be the Regina. On Wednesday morning an attempt was made to find out the identity of the vessel, however, owing to the high sea the diver did not make his descent. Lake Huron kept its awful secret for almost a week. It was not until Saturday morning, November 15, that William H. Baker, a diver from Detroit, solved the mystery. When he went down he read the name of the steamer twice and the letters spelled out Charles S. Price. The forward part of the bottom of the ship was buoyed up by air that was held in her when she turned turtle, but two streams of bubbles were coming out of the bow which meant that she would settle gradually. On Monday morning, November 17, the Price disappeared from view.
Read on for much more and follow Thumbwind on Facebook too!
More Michigan shipwrecks on Michigan in Pictures.
Pier Energy, photo by Aaron Springer
The Frankfort North Breakwater Lighthouse entry at Terry Pepper’s excellent Seeing the Light says the tip of the light is 72 feet off the water, making that spray over 80′ tall!! Click above for a ton more, but here’s something about the light tower:
1912 saw significant a significant change in the lighting of the Frankfort harbor entrance. A new square steel pyramidal tower was erected on the North Pier. Fully sheathed in steel plates, the white painted structure stood 44 feet from its base to the top of the ventilator ball. Outfitted with a fixed red Fourth Order Fresnel lens, the tower’s location on the north pier provided the new light with a focal plane of 46 feet, and a visible range of 12 miles in clear weather. The air siren from the South Pierhead light was relocated into this new structure, and set up to emit a characteristic isophase characteristic of alternating periods of 3 second blasts and 3 seconds of silence. An elevated walkway, similar to that installed on the south Pier, was erected from the new light to the shore.
…By 1924, the total car ferry tonnage through Frankfort Harbor was twenty five times greater than that prior to the establishment of the ferries. To better serve this vital commerce, the Army Corps of Engineers began construction of a pair of reinforced concrete arrowhead-type breakwaters at the harbor entrance in order to create a large stilling basin to protect the opening into the harbor. With the completion of these breakwaters in the early 1930’s, the twin piers at the entry into Lake Betsie no longer served any purpose. With plans in place to shorten them into short stub piers, the North Pierhead Light was lifted from the pier onto the deck of a barge and carried out to the end of the North Breakwater. A square steel base 25 feet in height had been erected on the end of the breakwater to receive it, and the tower was lifted onto the new base. After being bolted into position, the new tower stood 67 feet in height from the upper level of the pier to the top of the lantern ventilator ball. By virtue of its location on the concrete pier, the light stood at a focal plane of 72 feet, and the 17,000 candlepower incandescent electric light within the Fourth Order Fresnel was visible for a distance of 16 miles in clear weather.
Read on for lots more about the lighthouse including some great old photos.
View Aaron’s photo bigger and see more in his slideshow,.
Tons more lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures.