La Niña is coming for a winter visit

Ice Cave Sunset by Heather Higham

Ice Cave Sunset by Heather Higham

mLive reports that a La Niña weather system has officially developed & is likely to continue through winter:

La Niña is when the equatorial Pacific waters turn cooler than normal. If the cooler than normal water continues into the northern hemisphere winter, there can be some alteration to normal jetstream patterns.

…an average jetstream position south of Michigan with the center of an upper-level through over the Great Lakes brings an area of wetter than normal conditions to the Ohio Valley and southern Great Lakes. This area of wetter weather includes the southern part of Michigan.

So in looking at the general effects of La Niña on Michigan’s winter, we have in the past leaned toward colder than normal with some increase in snow amounts.

…Lower Michigan as averaging four to 12 inches above normal on snowfall during La Niña winters. The western half of the U.P. also shows a slightly above normal snowfall pattern during La Niña. The lake-effect snowbelts of northwest and southwest Lower don’t show an increase in snow, but do show normal amounts. Normal amounts of snow in the snowbelts is plenty of snow for snow-lovers.

More at mLive.

Heather took this shot of an ice formation on Lake Michigan at Elk Rapids back in January of 2015. See more in her ice formations gallery & definitely follow Heather on Facebook & @SnapHappyMichigan on Instagram!

More ice caves on Michigan in Pictures! <–trust me – some more awesome pics there!

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Sunset on Summer 2020

Summer Glow - Manistee by Stacy Niedzwiecki

Summer Glow – Manistee by Stacy Niedzwiecki

Here’s hoping that you get a chance to enjoy some of Michigan’s gorgeous scenery this Labor Day Weekend & also that it’s the LAST lost summer for a state that relies so heavily on tourism & travel & fun in sun!

Stacy took this back in 2008 on Labor Day Weekend. See more in her Michigan BLUE Summer album on Flickr & visit her website for more great work!

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Splish Splash at Frankfort

Splish Splash at Frankfort by SueFi Photography

Splish Splash at Frankfort by SueFi Photography

Gorgeous shot from the pier in Frankfort. See more on Sue’s Flickr & follow her on Facebook

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Lake Michigan Lighthouse Circle Tour

White Shoal Lighthouse MI by Mark

White Shoal Lighthouse, MI by Mark

The West Michigan Tourist Association is offering this year’s Lake Michigan Lighthouse Map & Circle Tour poster that details all of the lighthouses located on the shores of Lake Michigan and a Circle Tour driving route. You can get the 2020 Lighthouse Map online or request a free copy in the mail.

The White Shoal Light is located 20 miles due west of the Mackinac Bridge and is the only candy-striped station on the Great Lakes. While they won’t be open this summer, the White Shoal Light Historical Preservation Society is working to open it for tours in 2021.

Mark took this photo back in June of 2012. See lots more in his massive Mark’s Lights gallery on Flickr!

More Michigan lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures!

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An easy ride at Little Sable Point Lighthouse

Little Sable Point Lighthouse by Kevin Povenz

Little Sable Point Lighthouse by Kevin Povenz

Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light has a bunch of information about the history of Little Sable Point Light:

Congress appropriated $35,000 for the project, and 39 acres of land were selected on which to construct the new Light station. The construction of a light at Little Point Sable was destined to be a daunting task, since the location was distant from any area of supply, and there was a total absence of roads to the site. Work began in April 1873 with the construction of a dock at the beach and temporary housing for the construction crew.

A pile driver was towed to the point, and in accordance with Poe’s plan, 109 one-foot diameter pilings were driven into the sand to a level nine feet below the surface in order to form a solid base on which to build the tower. Twelve feet of cut stone was then carefully laid atop the pilings to provide a solid base for the tower’s brickwork. The brick walls had a thickness of five feet at the base, tapering to a thickness of two feet at its uppermost. With the advent of winter, the crews were removed from the point, and work had to wait for the next spring.

…Being built of a particularly hard and durable type of brick, the decision was made to leave both the tower and ancillary structures in a natural, unpainted condition, since it was expected they would withstand the rigors of the weather without deterioration. This was no doubt a decision which sat well with Keeper Davenport, as painting was an activity in which the authorities held considerable stock, and he found himself in the enviable position of not having that millstone around his neck every year!

…It did not take long before mariners began complaining that the natural brick coloration made the tower difficult to see during daylight hours. As a result, the tower was painted white on September 24, 1900, and thereafter, keepers assigned to the tower would be stuck with the drudgery of the annual painting ritual.

…With the station unmanned, the Coast Guard began to see the ancillary buildings as a liability, and in the first half of 1955 a crew arrived at the station and demolished everything but the tower.

The tower remained in its white painted condition until 1977, when once again seizing the opportunity to reduce the ongoing maintenance costs associated with constant painting, a crew arrived at the station, and sandblasted the tower. Once again, James Davenport’s easy ride was exposed to the light of day!

More from Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light.

Kevin took this back in July of 2016. See many more great shots in his Lighthouse gallery.

More Michigan lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures.

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May the 4th be with Michigan!

"Midnight Light" Frankfort, Michigan by John McCormick

“Midnight Light” Frankfort, Michigan by John McCormick

May 4th is known as Star Wars Day – May the Fourth be with you – an annual celebration of one of our shared modern stories. If you’re up before dawn tomorrow, you can step out to see if you can see Eta Aquariid  meteors in the east. Earthsky notes that the forecast calls for the greatest number of Eta Aquariid meteors to fall before dawn on (or near) May 5. However, this shower has a rather broad maximum, so just as many meteors may be flying on the mornings after.

John took this photo of the Frankfort Light back in September of 2017. See it and more in his Starry Night gallery and be sure to follow Michigan Nut Photography on Facebook!

Here’s a supercut trailer to get you in the mood!

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Mapping the Moon

Moon Beam & LIghthouse by RJE

Moon Beam & Lighthouse by RJE

Earthsky reports that for the first time, the entire lunar surface has been completely mapped and uniformly classified by scientists from the USGS Astrogeology Science Center, in collaboration with NASA and the Lunar and Planetary Institute. There’s a video below too. They write:

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced the new Unified Geologic Map of the Moon on April 20, 2020. They said it shows the moon’s surface geology, with rock layers and craters charted “in great detail.” The map is a synthesis of six Apollo-era regional geologic maps, updated with data from more recent moon missions.

USGS said it’s designed to serve as “the definitive blueprint” for lunar science and future human missions to the moon, and to be used by the international scientific community, educators and the public at large.

To create the new digital map, scientists used information from six Apollo-era regional maps along with updated information from recent satellite missions to the moon.

The existing historical maps were redrawn to align them with the modern data sets, thus preserving previous observations and interpretations. Along with merging new and old data, USGS researchers also developed a unified description of the stratigraphy, or rock layers, of the moon. This resolved issues from previous maps where rock names, descriptions and ages were sometimes inconsistent.

Head over to Earthsky for more, and if you like astronomy, I really recommend subscribing to their newsletter!

Check out more stunning shots from RJE on Flickr.

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Sunset at Round Island

Lighthouse by Windy

Lighthouse by Windy

The Round Island Lighthouse Preservation Society tells us:

Round Island Lighthouse was constructed in 1895 at a cost of $15,000 by Frank Rounds, a carpenter from Detroit. Rounds had previously worked on Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel, which was completed in 1887. The lighthouse was first lit on May 15th, 1896. It was commissioned under the U.S. Lighthouse Board, which became the United States Lighthouse Service in 1910. When it was first completed, the lighthouse was brick red. This would remain so until it was painted red and white in 1924. The fog signal at the lighthouse was installed in the fall of 1896. William Marshall was the first keeper of the lighthouse and served until 1906.

The beacon was automated in 1924 and became the responsibility of the United States Coast Guard in 1939, when the Coast Guard took over all of the nation’s lighthouses. To support World War II efforts, most of the original machinery on the first floor was removed for scrap. The structure was whitewashed in 1939.

When an automated light was constructed off the shore of Mackinac Island in 1947, the Coast Guard abandoned and decommissioned Round Island Lighthouse. A few years later, becoming tired of maintenance on the unused structure, the Coast Guard recommended that the lighthouse be demolished. Luckily the lighthouse was transferred to Hiawatha National Forest in 1958 and saved from its fate of destruction. For more information on the Hiawatha National Forest, visit the United States Forest Service website.

Since the lighthouse was abandoned, the lighthouse was a target for vandals. Also, without upkeep, the outside was feeling the effects of the Great Lakes and was starting to deteriorate away. On October 20th, 1972, a fierce storm knocked down part of the southwestern corner of the lighthouse. If it wasn’t for local preservationists, the lighthouse would have met its end.

You can read more of the history and preservation efforts right here.

Windy took this back in 2015. See more in her Other gallery on Flickr.

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Gale Force Assemble: Wild Weather on the Way for Michigan

Wild Day on Lake Michigan by Bob Gudas

Wild Day on Lake Michigan by Bob Gudas

mLive reports that the storm systems that have been tearing across the country are coming to Michigan today, bringing high wind warnings to the state & dumping up to 2 feet of snow on the UP:

Lower Michigan should have peak wind gusts between 45 mph and 55 mph. There could be an isolated wind gust just over 55 mph. The strongest gusts would likely be right along the Lake Michigan shoreline due to the wind accelerating over the Great Lakes water and on the eastern fringe of the Lower Peninsula.

The northeast shoreline of Lower Michigan, from Tawas City to Alpena to Rogers City, will likely have the highest widespread wind gusts. There will also be a pick-up of winds right at the Lake Michigan shoreline.

The Upper Peninsula will stay on the cold side of the storm. Wind gusts will still be strong, up to 45 mph. Snow will be the main issue. Some parts of the U.P. will have very heavy snowfall.

A large part of the western two-thirds of the U.P. will have over one foot of snow. Some areas in the higher elevations along the Lake Superior shoreline near Marquette could have up to two feet of snow. The heavy snow combined with strong winds will likely cause power outages.

In Lower Michigan, there will be two snowfall patterns. Northwest Lower Michigan will have the changeover to snow just as the main precipitation area of the storm is winding down. Northwest Lower could have a couple of hours of meaningful snowfall. As a result, look for one to three inches of snow on the grass Monday night in northwest Lower. This would include Traverse City, Cadillac, Charlevoix, Petoskey, Gaylord and Mackinaw City.

Stay warm & stay safe everyone!

Bob took this shot of gale force winds hitting the pier at Grand Haven back in Ovtober of 2015. See it and more in his Explore album on Flickr.

More wind on Michigan in Pictures!

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#TBT: Beating the Winter Blues

Winter Blues by simply, Diann.

If you’ve followed Michigan in Pictures for a long time, you’ll recognize this photo of the Ludington North Breakwater Light from 10 years ago. I love the photo so much that I thought I’d bring it back for an encore.

If you click the link above, you can read about the lighthouse, and if you head over to The Atlantic, you can learn about how Scandinavian countries are combatting seasonal affective disorder (SAD):

First described in the 1980s, the syndrome is characterized by recurrent depressions that occur annually at the same time each year. Most psychiatrists regard SAD as being a subclass of generalized depression or, in a smaller proportion of cases, bipolar disorder.

Seasonality is reported by approximately 10 to 20 percent of people with depression and 15 to 22 percent of those with bipolar disorder. “People often don’t realize that there is a continuum between the winter blues—which is a milder form of feeling down, [sleepier and less energetic]—and when this is combined with a major depression,” says Anna Wirz-Justice, an emeritus professor of psychiatric neurobiology at the Center for Chronobiology in Basel, Switzerland. Even healthy people who have no seasonal problems seem to experience this low-amplitude change over the year, with worse mood and energy during autumn and winter and an improvement in spring and summer, she says.

Why should darker months trigger this tiredness and low mood in so many people? There are several theories, none of them definitive, but most relate to the circadian clock—the roughly 24-hour oscillation in our behavior and biology that influences when we feel hungry, sleepy or active. This is no surprise given that the symptoms of the winter blues seem to be associated with shortening days and longer nights, and that bright light seems to have an anti-depressive effect. One idea is that some people’s eyes are less sensitive to light, so once light levels fall below a certain threshold, they struggle to synchronize their circadian clock with the outside world. Another is that some people produce more of a hormone called melatonin during winter than in summer—just like certain other mammals that show strong seasonal patterns in their behavior.

Read on for some of their solutions – maybe you’ll find some ideas if you suffer from SAD. I will say that I’ve found regular hikes and walks during the daylight hours in wintertime are key!!

Diann writes What I’m really wondering is whether or not its a good idea to edit out the blue shadows that often show up in winter shots when the sun is behind the camera. She offers this shot for comparison and discussion. She also has a bunch more photos of Ludington’s lighthouse.