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.

A wink from the Harvest Moon

With A Wink The Full Moon Sets Over Grand Haven, photo by David W Behrens

I watched the full harvest moon set this morning over the Leland Harbor among some clouds, and then saw this photo that David of David W. Behrens Photography shared from Grand Haven, Michigan. Click through to see more pics from David!

The full harvest moon rises tonight at 7:21 PM, so I figured that I would share a bit about the Harvest Moon from a past post on Michigan in Pictures:

EarthSky.org has a nice article about the Harvest Moon that explains that for all its mystique, the Harvest Moon is just an ordinary full moon:

Still, you might think the Harvest Moon looks bigger or brighter or more orange. That’s because the Harvest Moon has such a powerful mystique. Many people look for it shortly after sunset around the time of full moon. After sunset around any full moon, the moon will always be near the horizon. It’ll just have risen. It’s the location of the moon near the horizon that causes the Harvest Moon – or any full moon – to look big and orange in color.

The orange color of a moon near the horizon is a true physical effect. It stems from the fact that – when you look toward the horizon – you are looking through a greater thickness of Earth’s atmosphere than when you gaze up and overhead. The atmosphere scatters blue light – that’s why the sky looks blue. The greater thickness of atmosphere in the direction of a horizon scatters blue light most effectively, but it lets red light pass through to your eyes. So a moon near the horizon takes on a yellow or orange or reddish hue.

…The shorter-than-usual time between moonrises around the full Harvest Moon means no long period of darkness between sunset and moonrise for days in succession. In the days before tractor lights, the lamp of the Harvest Moon helped farmers to gather their crops, despite the diminishing daylight hours. As the sun’s light faded in the west, the moon would soon rise in the east to illuminate the fields throughout the night.

You can read on for more.

Calm Before the Storm

Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, photo by Peter Tinetti

What a September. Even without the daily political chaos, we’ve got the West in flames, our fourth largest city devastated by flooding from the current most costly storm in US history, and what could very well be the new most costly storm barreling towards Florida.

Hopefully, we’ll get a breather soon.

View the photo of the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse background big and see more in Peter’s slideshow. He’s originally from the UP but lives in California, so many of the pics are from there … and gorgeous!

More about the Eagle Harbor Light on Michigan in Pictures.

Golden Light at Mackinac Point

Mackinac Point Lighthouse, photo by T P Mann

Great shot from a year about at the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, which is located right next to the Mackinac Bridge.

View the photo background bigilicious and see more in TP’s 200+ Faves slideshow.

Starry Night at Little Sable Point

Little Sable Point Starry Night, photo by malderink

“Be clearly aware of the stars and infinity on high. Then life seems almost enchanted after all.”
― Vincent van Gogh

Big Sable Point yesterday, Little Sable Point today – is there a Medium Sable Point for tomorrow? ;)

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

Michigan Lighthouse Festival celebrating 150 Years at Big Sable Point

Summer Evening at Big Sable Point Lighthouse, photo by Craig Sterken Photography

This weekend is the 2nd Annual Michigan Lighthouse Festival featuring Big Sable Point Lighthouse’s 150th Anniversary! The festival features lighthouse tours throughout the weekend, a vendor show on Saturday and Sunday, Friday Night dinner with special guest speakers, topped off with Ric Mixter performing “The Storm” on Saturday night.

Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light has some great information about the history of Big Sable Point Lighthouse including an explanation of the light’s unique appearance:

Construction began in early 1867 with the arrival of Lighthouse Board and Army Corps of Engineers workers, who immediately began the construction of a dock at which to unload the necessary supplies for the project. Next, a temporary cofferdam was constructed to keep waster from entering the foundation, which consisted of tightly fitted cut stone blocks beginning a depth of six feet below grade and extending three feet above.

On this sturdy foundation, the skilled masons began to raise the tower. Constructed of cream city brick, the walls were laid five feet thick at the foundation, tapering to a thickness of two feet thick immediately below the gallery. Within the tower, a circular inner wall, eight feet in diameter supported the cast iron spiral staircase. On its’ vertical climb, the stairway passed through three landing areas.

…In 1898, the District Inspector reported that the cream city brick used in constructing the tower was found to be flaking as a result of exposure to the elements, and voiced concern that if left as-is, the integrity of the tower would likely be compromised. This flaking grew so severe, that in 1899 a contract was awarded to the J. G. Wagner Company of Milwaukee to construct the necessary steel plates to encase the tower. The plates were satisfactorily test assembled at the Milwaukee Lighthouse Depot, loaded onto lighthouse tenders and then shipped to Big Sable. With the arrival of the plates, the process of riveting the plates together around the tower, and filling the void between the brick and the plates with cement began. The construction was completed in June 1900 at a total labor and materials cost of $4,925. In order to increase the visibility of the tower during daylight hours, the new cladding was painted white with a contrasting black band around its’ middle third.

View the photo bigger, see more in Craig’s Big Sable Lighthouse slideshow, and view & purchase photos at craigsterken.com.

More Michigan lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures!

Even Mr. Brightside has a dark side

Mr. Brightside, photo by Aaron Springer

The Frankfort North Pier Head Light marks the entrance to Betsie Lake. It’s a popular fishing spot, but on Friday afternoon as UpNorthLive reports, a fisherman learned to pay a little more attention to his surroundings:

The Coast Guard says the man was fishing when the weather picked up. He then became stuck on the pier due to crashing waves over the break wall. The Coast Guard was notified by the Benzie County Central Dispatch around 9:25 p.m.

Coast Guard Station Frankfort then launched a 25-foot response boat, a small crew and a Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City MH-60 jayhawk helicopter crew. The response boat arrived on scene first and confirmed the man was on the wall. The boat could not help with the rescue due to the shallow water.

The Coast Guard says the MH-60 helicopter crew hovered over the lighthouse on the pier and lowered a rescue swimmer who then basket-hoisted the man to safety with no injuries before flying to Frankfort Dow Memorial Airport where local EMS were standing by.

Click through for more including a video of the man and the pier taken from the Coast Guard helicopter.

View the photo bigger and see more in Aaron’s slideshow.

More from the Frankfort Light on Michigan in Pictures.

Michigan Lighthouses: Gravelly Shoal Light

Gravelly Shoals offshore Light in Saginaw Bay, photo by George Thomas

The entry on Gravelly Shoal Light at Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light begins:

Point Lookout juts from the shore on the western shore of Lake Huron, approximately half-way between the mouth of the Saginaw River and Tawas Point. With only five to eighteen feet above it, Gravelly Shoal extends some 3 miles southeasterly from Point Lookout towards Big Charity Island. To help guide down-bound vessels headed for Saginaw Bay through the deeper water lying between the southeast end of Gravelly Shoal and Big Charity Island, Congress appropriated $5,000 to construct a lighthouse on the northwestern shore of Big Charity on August 18, 1856. Work began at the site that year, but as a result of being started so late in the season, the station was not completed and lighted until the following year.

Perhaps as a result of its exposed location, or as a result of its keeper’s dwelling being one of the few of wooden frame construction on any of the Great Lakes, the station was a constant source of maintenance problems, and was not surprisingly one of the first to be automated through the installation of an acetylene illumination system in 1900. At this time an occulting white Pintsch gas buoy was also placed at the southeastern end of Gravelly Shoal to better mark the western edge of the passage between the shoal and Big Charity Island.

As a result of the combination of increasing vessel size, improvements in offshore light construction and the growing adoption of radio direction finding equipment, it became plain in the late 1930’s that the old Charity light and the gas buoy on Gravelly Shoal had outlived their usefulness, and consideration turned to the construction of a state-of-the-art offshore aid to navigation at the eastern end of Gravelly Shoal to better mark the deeper water of the passage.

View the photo background big and see more in George’s Lighthouses slideshow.

More Michigan lighthouses on Michigan in Pictures.

Today is not the Earth’s Longest Day

Untitled, photo by Jim Schoensee

The summer solstice arrives at 12:24 AM tomorrow when sun’s zenith is at its furthest point from the equator, making today the longest day of  2017. Vox’s article on the summer solstice has some interesting info about the solstice including a look at whether or not today is the longest day in Earth’s history:

Ever since the Earth has had liquid oceans and a moon, its rotation has been gradually slowing over time due to tidal friction. That means — over very, very long periods of time — the days have been getting steadily longer. About 4.5 billion years ago, it took the Earth just six hours to complete one rotation. About 350 million years ago, it took 23 hours. Today, of course, it takes about 24 hours. And the days will gradually get longer still.

Given that, you’d think 2017 would be the longest day in all of history. But while it’s certainly up there, it doesn’t quite take top honors.

That’s because tidal friction isn’t the only thing affecting Earth’s rotation — there are a few countervailing factors. The melting of glacial ice, which has been occurring since the end of the last ice age 12,000 years ago (and is now ramping up because of global warming), is actually speeding up Earth’s rotation very slightly, shortening the days by a few fractions of a millisecond. Likewise, geologic activity in the planet’s core, earthquakes, ocean currents, and seasonal wind changes can also speed up or slow down Earth’s rotation.

When you put all these factors together, scientists have estimated that the longest day in Earth’s history (so far) likely occurred back in 1912. That year’s summer solstice was the longest period of daylight the Northern Hemisphere has ever seen (and, conversely, the 1912 winter solstice was the longest night we’ve ever seen).

Eventually, the effects of tidal friction should overcome all those other factors, and Earth’s days will get longer and longer as its rotation keeps slowing (forcing timekeepers to add leap seconds to the calendar periodically). Which means that in the future, there will be plenty of summer solstices that set new records as the “longest day in Earth’s history.”

View Jim’s photo of the Charlevoix Lighthouse on the summer solstice in 2010 bigger and see more in his Charlevoix Lighthouse slideshow.