Muskegon South Pier leaning into the gale by Jerry Herrendeen
This past Sunday (Dec 11, 2021) was a very dark day in American meteorological history as tornados ravaged the middle south, killing at least 80 in Kentucky and visiting devastation on Arkansas, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee in what has become since 2020 a new seasonal threat.
While the Great Lakes State was spared the worst, mLive shares that Michigan was buffeted by winds topping 60 mph with gusts as high as 72 recorded at the Saugatuck Pier. While there’s no wind reading from the South Breakwater Light, the Muskegon North Breakwater Light clocked a reading of 68 MPH. Waveheads in the audience who want to know just how big the wave in this photo can do a little visual math with the knowledge that the North Breakwater Light is 52′ tall!
Jerry’s The Moods of Lake Michigan gallery makes it clear he has no problem getting out there to get the shot & has a couple more photos from Sunday including this shot of a wave nearly topping the 48′ south pier light.
Snowplowing Fontinalis road by Laurent Fady
Much of northern Michigan received its first winter storm yesterday. While it was only 4-8″, the heavy & wet snow coupled with winds picking up to 40+ should make it a busy day for our friends in the orange trucks!
Laurent took this back in February of 2018. See more in his Snow & Ice gallery on Flickr & also view & purchase prints on his website.
Please take care on the roads today everyone!
Poe Reef lies just eight feet beneath Lake Huron’s surface between Bois Blanc Island and the Lower Peninsula mainland. Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light shares the story of Poe Reef Lightship LV62, launched on this day in 1893:
In 1892 two contracts totaling $55,960 were awarded to the Craig Shipbuilding Company in Toledo for the construction of four lightships. Designated as Lightships LV59, LV60, LV61 and LV62, all four vessels were built to similar specifications. Framed and planked of white oak they measured 87′ 2″ inches in length, 21′ 6″ inches in the beam, with a draft of 8 feet. In a cost-cutting effort, the vessels were un-powered, outfitted with only a small riding sail carried on a short after mast. Equipped with a cluster of three oil-burning lens lanterns hoisted on their foremasts, each was also equipped with 6″ steam whistles and hand-operated bells for fog use. Work was completed on the four vessels the following year, and after sea trials, all four were commissioned by the Board and placed into service, LV59 being assigned to Bar Point, LV60 to Eleven Foot Shoal, LV61 to Corsica Shoal and LV62 to Poe Reef.
With the words POE REEF brightly painted in white on her fire engine red hull, LV62 was towed to Poe Reef by the lighthouse tender Marigold, and anchored on station to begin her vigil on September 29, 1893. For the next seventeen years LV62 spent every shipping season faithfully guarding the shoal. With the end of each shipping season, one of the lighthouse tenders would make the rounds of all lightship stations in the Straits area, and tow them into Cheboygan harbor for winter lay-up. While in Cheboygan, necessary repairs and improvements would be made in preparation for the following season. At some time in March or April, the ice would break up sufficiently to allow the vessels to be towed back to their stations to stand guard for yet another season.
Head over to Seeing the Light for more about Poe Reef Lighthouse & the stories of all Michigan’s lighthouses compiled by a champion for their preservation who has gone too soon.
September Storm by Watermark Photography
Jeff got an incredible shot of a roll cloud from a recent severe storm in Traverse City. Follow Watermark Photography on Facebook & view and purchase canvas and other prints on his website!
Baby Blue and Storms by Jamie MacDonald
One of the defining factors of Summer 2021 in Michigan is a four letter word: rain. In addition to being one of our warmest summers on record, it’s also been one of the wettest as the Detroit News reports:
Flint notched its third wettest summer with 15.84 inches of rain. Detroit took seventh with 15.28. Saginaw ranked eighth with 13.30.
Detroit’s total included the 2.73 inches recorded Aug. 12 amid severe storms that left more than 900,000 residents across the state without electricity, some for up to a week.
Although only one daily rainfall total was broken July 16, when 2.20 inches were recorded at Detroit Metro, at least four significant flood events doused the region this summer, the weather service said.
Among them was the June 25-26 episode that flooded thousands of homes, resulting in a federal disaster declaration.
The Traverse City Ticker adds that summer 2021 was the wettest ever for Traverse City & Gaylord with Gaylord, Alpena, and Sault Ste. Marie notching their hottest summers ever.
While the rain has been a major headache for many, as Jamie writes, the skies can get pretty amazing when storms come rolling through around sunset! See more stormy goodness in his Stormy Weather gallery. You can also check out his podcasts on photography & his photography workshops at Mirrorless Minutes.
Riders on the Storm by Mark Smith
Here’s a simply stunning shot by Mark Smith of a stormfront rolling over the Manitou Islands. Follow Mark on Instagram @downstreamer7 for more & view & purchase his work at Leelanau Landscapes Photography.
Lightning Storm by Kevin Povenz
Here’s a stunning photo from 7 Junes ago by Kevin. Check out more in his Storms gallery on Flickr.
Also, have a great weekend folks – I’m taking tomorrow off!
The UFO Show by Jamie Macdonald
In 1973, the nation (and my 8-year-old self) were captivated by a wave of Unidentified Flying Object sightings. Clipping the stories from the paper for a scrapbook left me with a lifelong fascination for UFOs which is apparently becoming mainstream. Last night 60 Minutes showed some declassified UFO footage previously leaked to The New York Times by Christopher Mellon and Luis Elizondo:
“It’s bizarre and unfortunate that someone like myself has to do something like that to get a national security issue like this on the agenda,” Mellon said. Everyone Whitaker spoke with underscored that unidentified means just that, not yet identified, there’s no evidence these phenomena are extraterrestrial, and they are a potential national security risk no matter who created them because the technology seems far beyond what the U.S. can currently produce.
Mellon said the UFOs are not secret U.S. government technology, and “I can say that with a very high degree of confidence in part because of the positions I held in the department, and I know the process.”
Former Navy pilot Lt. Ryan Graves told Whitaker that fellow pilots began seeing UAPs hovering over restricted airspace off Virginia Beach in 2014, after upgrades to their radar, and continued seeing UAP’s off the Atlantic Coast “every day for at least a couple years.”
Jamie took this photo back in June of 2016. See more in his Stormy Weather gallery on Flickr & for sure head over to his website at mirrorlessminutes.com for more!
Storm’s Coming, photo by Tom Hughes Photo
This week (April 16-22) is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Michigan. mLive reports:
The Michigan State Police are asking residents to take part in a voluntary statewide tornado drill as part of the state’s Severe Weather Awareness Week. The drill is scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 19. Gov. Rick Snyder had declared Michigan’s Severe Weather Awareness Week from April 16-22. If severe weather occurs on April 19, the statewide tornado drill will be rescheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday, April 20.
Nearly all state of Michigan facilities are expected to participate, and businesses, organizations and individual residents and their families are encouraged to join in as well.
“Tornadoes can develop rapidly, with little or no warning,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “Due to their unpredictable nature, we must be ready well in advance. We’re asking residents and businesses to take a few extra steps during the week to ensure they’re prepared.”
Tornadoes are especially prevalent in late spring and early summer, and the average lead time for tornadoes to develop is 10 to 15 minutes. In the event of a tornado, state officials recommend residents find the lowest place to take cover, take shelter under something sturdy, stay tuned to local weather broadcasts and watch for signs of a tornado, including dark skies, large hail, a large low-lying cloud and a loud roar.
Tom caught this spring storm rolling through last week at the Springfield Oaks Ellis Barn. View it bigger, see more in his Thunderstorms slideshow, and view & purchase work at Tom Hughes Photo.
More wild weather on Michigan in Pictures!
Storm Damage, Ferndale Michigan, photo courtesy DTE Energy
The Detroit Free Press reports that millions of people in Michigan lost power in yesterday’s crazy winds and many are still without power:
A barrage of high winds Wednesday cut power to a record 700,000 DTE Energy customers and 290,000 customers of Consumers Energy across southeast and south-central Michigan, utility officials said.
A number of customers had been restored by about 10 p.m., bringing DTE’s outage number down to about 650,000 and Consumers’ down to 210,000.
…The total number of customers equates to an even higher number of people because the utilities’ term “customer” refers to electric meters, not individuals. “During the height of the storm, we were seeing 1,000 customer outages a minute,” said Randi Berris, a communications manager for DTE Energy.
As utility crews from Michigan began 16-hour shifts, and crews from four other states were due to arrive around dawn Thursday, families in the dark faced forecasts of possible snow and sliding temperatures for southeast Michigan, with a low of 12 predicted in Detroit by early Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.
Across the region, as winds clocked as high as 68 m.p.h. at Metro Airport, the weather knocked down even more trees and power lines than usual because the ground, instead of being frozen at this time of year, was soft and super-saturated with this winter’s unusually heavy rains, DTE Energy said.
View DTE’s photo bigger on their Facebook and thanks to the crews from both companies and elsewhere for their hard work – stay warm everyone!