Beating the Winter Blahs at Elizabeth Park

Winter's Beauty

Untitled, photo by mballen89

Several of my friends shared this very appropriate article today about how Norwegians in the far north of the country deal with the dark and cold of winter:

First, Norwegians celebrate the things one can only do in winter. “People couldn’t wait for the ski season to start,” says Leibowitz. Getting outside is a known mood booster, and so Norwegians keep going outside, whatever is happening out there. Notes Leibowitz: “There’s a saying that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.”

Norwegians also have a word, koselig, that means a sense of coziness. It’s like the best parts of Christmas, without all the stress. People light candles, light fires, drink warm beverages, and sit under fuzzy blankets. There’s a community aspect to it too; it’s not just an excuse to sit on the couch watching Netflix. Leibowitz reports that Tromsø had plenty of festivals and community activities creating the sense that everyone was in it together.

And finally, people are enamored with the sheer beauty of the season. Leibowitz grew up near the Jersey shore, and “I just took it as a fact that everyone likes summer the best.” But deep in the winter in Norway, when the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon, multiple hours a day can still look like sunrise and sunset, and against the snow, “the colors are incredibly beautiful,” she says. “The light is very soft and indirect.”

Most likely you can’t cross-country ski straight out of your house, and while Norwegian sweaters may be catching on, restaurants and coffee shops in more temperate climates don’t all feature the fireplaces and candles common to the far north. Still, there are little things non-Norwegians can do. “One of the things we do a lot of in the States is we bond by complaining about the winter,” says Leibowitz. “It’s hard to have a positive wintertime mindset when we make small talk by being negative about the winter.”

Read on for more good advice on battling the winter blahs – I hope it’s helpful to you!

The photo was taken in Elizabeth Park in Trenton which I just learned is Michigan’s first county park!

This 162-acre family estate was bequeathed to the Wayne County Park Trustees in October of 1919 by the children of Elizabeth Slocum.

The acceptance of this special gift marks the beginning of the Wayne County Park System. Elizabeth Park sits like an emerald jewel along the banks of the Detroit River, and features over 1,300 feet of riverwalk for fishing and river watching. In addition Elizabeth Park also offers activities such as softball, cycling, in-line skating, hiking, cross-country skiing and ice skating.

View the photo background bigtacular and see more in mballen89’s slideshow.

More winter wallpaper and more straight-up winter on Michigan in Pictures!

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!

Definitions of Danger

Surfing the Storm

California Dreamin’, photo by Snap Happy Gal Photography

Heather of Snap Happy Gal Photography was one of many photographers who made the trek to Grand Haven for a weekend storm that was supposed to produce massive waves. While Heather says she didn’t see anything quite as big as the the 20-footers forecast, the lake was still putting on a rocking show!

Often when I post a photo like this, I get some blowback from a reader or two who thinks that pictures like this aren’t OK because someone might somehow get hurt. Heather’s thoughts mirror my own on this:

So this guy – with his superior swimming ability, experience and thick wetsuit (with gloves, booties, and full hood + helmet) is crazy. Who would ever put their life in such danger?

Oh – all of us. All the time. Like when I drove in a metal box at 75mph on my way to take photos of this guy.

View this bigger and definitely follow Snap Happy Gal on Facebook for more!

More Michigan surfing shots on Michigan in Pictures!

#TBT Big Waves on Lake Michigan Edition

And they call this a lake

And they call this a Lake, photo by RJE

The Detroit Free Press reports that massive waves of up to 20 feet in height are forecast for Lake Michigan:

An intense low pressure system is still projected to slam into the western Great Lakes on Wednesday night.

The main hazard with this storm will be incredibly strong winds in excess to 45 m.p.h. at times. This will cause numerous issues, including downed trees and the potential for power outages.

In addition to impacts on land, Lake Michigan will also suffer the wrath of this strong fall storm, where waves could reach as high as 20 feet offshore. A gale watch has been issued by the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids for the Lakeshore and will be in effect from Wednesday evening through Friday afternoon.

NOAA’s Great Lakes Coastal Forecasting System has a ton of resources for visualizing live data and forecasts for all of the Great Lakes. Be sure to check out the animation of forecasted wave heights on Lake Michigan – pretty cool to watch. In case you’re wondering, the tallest (recorded) wave on Lake Michigan is 23′ from September of 2011. Of course the bouys shut down for the winter in December, and they only started measuring in 1988.

Also check out the Grand Haven Surfcam for a live look! 

RJE caught this massive wave breaking against the Ludington lighthouse back in November of 2011. View the photo of  big as Lake Michigan and see more of his great photos of Ludington on Flickr!

More Michigan lighthouses, more waves and more about the Ludington North Breakwater Light can all be found 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!

(U.P.) Weather Gone Viral

Lake Superior Weather Channel Thunderstorm

Thunderhead over Superior, photo by Lake Superior Photo

Regular Michigan in Pictures contributor Shawn Malone of Lake Superior Photo created the official music video for David Helpling’s “As The World Falls Away.” It features her latest cinematic time-lapse work filmed entirely in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan merged with sequences from NASA’s ISS to form a stunning visual & auditory journey.

It will appear on the The Weather Channel in their “Weather Gone Viral” episode that airs tonight on The Weather Channel. She says they’ve told her 10 PM EST, but check your local listings.

View Shawn’s photo bigger on Facebook and see more of her work at Lake Superior Photo!

Here’s the full video: