The Vortex, photo by Nick Nerbonne
My corner of Northern Michigan was all abuzz last weekend due to a relatively rare meteorological phenomenon known as a “roll cloud.” Wikipedia’s entry on Arcus clouds explains:
An arcus cloud is a low, horizontal cloud formation. Roll clouds and shelf clouds are the two types of arcus clouds. A shelf cloud is usually associated with the leading edge of thunderstorm outflow; roll clouds are usually formed by outflows of cold air from sea breezes or cold fronts in the absence of thunderstorms.
…A roll cloud is a low, horizontal, tube-shaped, and relatively rare type of arcus cloud. They differ from shelf clouds by being completely detached from other cloud features. Roll clouds usually appear to be “rolling” about a horizontal axis. They are a solitary wave called a soliton, which is a wave that has a single crest and moves without changing speed or shape.
“The noise sounded like two freight trains going over a trestle right over your head; it was an ugly roar. My wife said the noise when the house went was like a giant pencil sharpener working.”
-Tornado Survivor Robert Blue
The National Weather Service relates that the Flint-Beecher tornado was Michigan’s worst natural disaster in terms of deaths and injuries:
This was the last tornado to kill over 100 people in a single tornado event anywhere in the United States. On June 8th, 1953, 116 people lost their lives in the Flint-Beecher community, and 844 people suffered injuries. The Flint-Beecher Tornado was just one of eight tornadoes that occurred that horrible evening across the eastern portion of the Lower Peninsula. Those other seven tornadoes resulted in an additional 9 deaths, 52 injures, and damage stretching from Alpena to Erie.
The Flint-Beecher tornado was rated as an F5, the highest rating on the Fujita scale of damage. Winds were likely in excess of 200 mph as the 800 yard wide tornado moved on its 27 mile path through Genesee and Lapeer counties. Approximately 340 homes were destroyed, 107 homes had “major damage”, and 153 homes had “minor damage”. In addition farms, businesses and other buildings were destroyed and had damage. These totaled another 50 buildings destroyed and 16 with damage. The damage was estimated around $19 million (about $125 million adjusted for inflation).
So great a number were killed by the monstrous tornado that the National Guard Armory building, along with other shelters, was turned into a temporary morgue. The scene of bodies pouring into the Armory (as an intermittent light rain poured outside) was incredibly bleak and horrifying, especially for the families and friends of the victims. At least 100 people waited outside into the rainy night before they could move inside to try and identify the bodies.
Read on for more at Absolute Michigan.
See more in the Flint Public Library’s Beecher Tornado gallery and watch this video account from tornado survivors below.
I simply love Atmospheric Optics for nearly everything about lights in the sky. Regarding secondary rainbows or “double rainbows” they say that the secondary is nearly always fainter than the primary, with colors reversed and more widely separated:
Light can be reflected more than once inside a raindrop. Rays escaping after two reflections make a secondary bow.
The secondary has a radius of 51º and lies some 9º outside the primary bow. It is broader, 1.8X the width of the primary, and its colours are reversed so that the reds of the two bows always face one another. The secondary has 43% of the total brightness of the primary but its surface brightness is lower than that because its light is spread over its greater angular extent. The primary and secondary are are concentric, sharing the antisolar point for a center.
About this particular rainbow from April 2, 2016, Gerry writes: “Double rainbow from the other night after the storms. The weather in Michigan can change quickly, from rainbows to snow. Yep, that’s Michigan.”
More rainbows on Michigan in Pictures.
mLive reports that big waves are expected for parts of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan this weekend:
High winds and an arctic air mass are set to hit Michigan this weekend, and gales are in the forecast for the Great Lakes as a result.
A gale warning for much of Lake Huron’s offshore waters, issued by the National Weather Service, is scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday, April 2 to 5 a.m. Sunday, April 3.
Winds are expected to reach up to 41 mph from the northwest with gusts up to 53 mph. According to the warning, waves will build up to 13 feet tall with the potential for an occasional 19-footer. The largest waves in an area 5 nautical miles off shore and out are expected around 1 a.m. Sunday on Lake Huron.
On my Absolute Michigan website, I have a favorite feature called Five Things you need to know about Michigan.
Please go out and vote in the Michigan primaries today. I am going to vote for Bernie Sanders because I feel that in Michigan and elsewhere working folks, retirees, students, and many more who have ended up on the short end of a globalizing, transforming world are hurting. It seems to me that many of those we have elected to represent us have forgotten that government can be a powerful force for the betterment of society and that when profits come at the expense of others, we all suffer. Please vote for whoever you want to, and I’d love it if you took some time today to remember that you are a part of your government.
Wow. I had the chance to drive across Michigan yesterday, windows down, basking in near 60 degree temperatures and knowing that spring is on the way. Here’s hoping that the mercury stays moderate and our farmers, orchardists & vintners have a great growing season.
Liz Glass took today’s photo. You can visit her at the Lake Street Market in Boyne City. She shared today’s photo back in 2012 in the Absolute Michigan pool (where I get most of the photos for Michigan in Pictures). Liz wrote:
I’ve been saving some ice shots to sprinkle in during the warmer months. This is from March 15, when the ice on Lake Charlevoix had melted into a pack of splinters that could then be pushed into piles by the moving water. The color here is real. The low sun is bouncing the golden brown of the sandy lake bottom up through the ice mound, and the looser shards on top are picking up the shimmering silvers and blues of the water and sky.
If you have a problem with me being myself, please consider not telling me to “stick to the photos” and instead follow another blog/person/path that doesn’t bother you. I love Michigan, I love Michigan in Pictures, but I am an actual person who believes as I believe and does what I do. I will continue to do this, and telling me not to will just upset us both.
Congratulations! By making it to here, you can send me an idea for something about Michigan to feature. I can’t promise that I will be able to, but I can promise you that I will try and reply in any case. Just email me or post a comment below.
Fun fact of the day: I have a mild fear of heights! While it’s not crippling enough to stop me from being able to drive over the Mighty Mac, I can definitely see where some people aren’t able to do that. For all of you, here’s a story (with a good video) about a little known service: The Mackinac Bridge Authority will drive you across!
The Mackinac Bridge Authority has a “Driver’s Assistance Program” that provides drivers for those uncomfortable with driving across the Mackinac Bridge. If you are traveling northbound, there is a phone at the south end of the bridge. Instructions for using the phone are posted in the phone box. If you are southbound, just ask a fare collector for assistance. There is no additional fee for this service.
The phone is located on the shoulder of I-75 just north of the Jamet Street exit to Mackinaw City (near Audies Restaurant). You do not need to exit the freeway. Just past the exit, you can pull over to the right and park on the shoulder. The phone box is located on the right-of-way fencing. The box is green and easily spotted. If this is still unclear, please call us at 906-643-7600.
Lots more about the Mighty Mac on Michigan in Pictures.