Cold Air Waterspouts

Cold Air Funnel Cloud III

Cold Air Waterspouts, photos by Debbie Maglothin

If you live along the Great Lakes, chances are you’ve seen a waterspout from time to time. While waterspouts are typically formed when cold air moves over warm water in late summer or early fall, occasionally the reverse can happen.

Debbie Maglothin took several photos of cold air waterspouts over Lake Michigan off the Ludington State Park beach. WZZM 13 meteorologist Alana Nehring explains how they form:

A drastic temperature difference between the air an water is required. In the most recent event, water temperatures were near 32 degrees while air temperatures were closer to 10 degrees.

A steady breeze needs to be present to jump-start the process of evaporation.

In most cases, this is also how lake-effect snow is produced but in some unique situations, a slight twisting motion will occur in the steam above the water. If it is maintained long enough, eventually weak funnels will develop.

Click the pics to view them bigger and follow Debbie on Facebook at Cha Bella Photography.

Cold Air Funnel Cloud II Cold Air Funnel Cloud

More Michigan weather 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.

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!

Knockout storm packs 100 MPH winds & huge hail

Road Closed in Glen Arbor

Road Closed in Glen Arbor, photo via the Glen Arbor Sun

One more day of storm reporting from my neck of the woods…

In Glen Arbor Hit By Knockout Storm, Jacob Wheeler of the Glen Arbor Sun lays out a diary of the destruction of the storm and wrote:

In the storm’s wake yesterday, Glen Arbor residents immediately recognized that the destruction they witnessed was unprecedented for our town. This was worse than the 1987 storm, people said. In fact, it was far worse. The storm was more powerful and more destructive than any other Glen Arbor storm ever recorded. And now we have stats to prove it.

I spoke late this afternoon to Jeff Lutz, meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Gaylord. While Lutz clarified that yesterday’s storm was not a tornado (you can blame some of the hyperbole on this newspaper) he did confirm that the straight-line winds which accompanied the sudden thunderstorm reached speeds of 100 miles per hour. That’s strong enough to be called a tornado. More significantly, it blows away the previous wind velocity record for Leelanau County. According to the NWS, on Sept. 13, 2005, a barrage of wind traveling at 63 miles per hour hit Leland and Empire, but not Glen Arbor. But 63 is not 100. Not even close. Nope, yesterday’s storm was the strongest to ever hit Leelanau County, since records were kept starting in 1950.

You can click through to the Sun for more pics and storm coverage and get even more on their Facebook. Jacob also shared the National Weather Service’s Aug. 2 severe weather recap:

  • Multiple rounds of severe weather impacted northern Michigan on August 2nd, 2015. The first severe thunderstorm warning was issued 10:34 am with an additional 27 warnings being issued before the last warning of the day expired at 8:00 pm.
  • The largest hail reported was 4.25″, or the size of a softball, seven miles north of West Branch at 4:55 pm. The large hail was reported by trained spotters and members of the public. There were several reports of damage to vehicles and other property. At the time of the event, a Severe Thunderstorm Warning was in effect for all of Ogemaw County, issued at 4:33 pm. Additional reports of 1.00″ to 2.00″ hail were received from law enforcement, emergency managers, trained spotters and the public across multiple locations in northern Michigan.
  • The 4.25″ hail observed seven miles north of West Branch was the largest documented hail stone ever to impact northern Michigan since records began in 1950 and the largest since 1998 when a 3.50″ hail stone was recorded in Arenac County.
  • Hundreds of downed trees and power lines were reported on Sunday as 60-80 mph (locally 90-100 mph) straight-line winds accompanied the severe thunderstorms.

Lots more at that link including some pics of that hail.

Stay Cool, Michigan

Stay Cool in Detroit and Michigan

Untitled, photo by Steve Swartz

mLive reports that today and this weekend are poised to bring very hot temperatures to Michigan:

The temperatures are building out west, and winds will turn to blow out of the south starting Friday to bring the heat our way.

Wednesday and Thursday will be comfortable, with temperatures in the 70s, but Friday will be much different, as the south wind should help boost temperatures to near 90 in the afternoon. Leftover clouds from morning storms will likely prevent breaking that mark, but the humidity should make it feel like 90 degrees.

Saturday should make it into the low 90s in all of the southern half of Lower Michigan. It might even make it to 90 degrees in parts of northern Lower Michigan. The humidity will also be higher, making it feel like mid-90s in southern Michigan.

Sunday will also be a hot, sticky day. Some spots will hit 90 degrees, while many spots will be humid and warm to 88 or 89 degrees. How hot we get Sunday will depend on how much sunshine we have and if storms hold off until Sunday evening.

If we have two 90-degree days in a row, it will be the first time in any Michigan city since July 19, 2013.

View Steve’s photo background bigtacular and see more in his Summer 2012 slideshow.

More summer wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Stormy Monday

Tornado Warning

Tornado Warning, photo by Jeffrey Smith

WZZM says that severe weather is becoming more likely Monday afternoon as a cold front sweeps through the state:

Monday will begin with sun but storms will develop to the west and advance quickly into West Michigan by late afternoon/early evening time frame. Models are suggesting the atmosphere will be unstable with abundant moisture by Monday afternoon, meaning storms will have a favorable environment to grow.

The NOAA Storm Prediction Center has most of Lower Michigan in the ‘enhanced risk’ area (orange) on Monday meaning several thunderstorms could reach severe levels. To read more about the convective outlook Monday, click here.

Threats from this round of thunderstorms include damaging wind, hail, lightning, isolated tornadoes, and brief heavy downpours. Thunderstorms reach severe criteria when winds are at least 58 mph, hail is one inch in diameter, or a tornado is produced.

Read the detailed forecast for severe weather and you’d like to get more alarmed, check in with Fox 17 West Michigan’s Kevin Craig.

View Jeffrey’s photo bigger and click for more of his clouds photos.

Stormy Monday, T Bone Walker…. and for good measure, B.B. King.

Above the Fog at the Mackinac Bridge

Mighty Mac in Fog

Mighty Mac in the Fog, photo by Lake Superior Photo

Shawn writes that she crossed a very mysterious looking Mackinac Bridge on Sunday – no shortage of fog lately!

View the photo bigger on Facebook and see more & purchase prints in Lake Superior Photo’s Mackinac Bridge Gallery.

More fog & mist on Michigan in Pictures.

Rainbow Season

Another Amazing Sky

Another Amazing Sky, photo by Ben Thompson

Gotta love Spring!

View Ben’s photo bigger and see more in his Weather/Clouds slideshow.

More Michigan weather fun and more Ann Arbor on Michigan in Pictures.

Frozen February: 2015 3rd coldest February for Michigan

Standing against the biggest lake

Standing against the Greatest Lake, photo by Jay

The Grand Rapids Press reports that February 2015 was the coldest recorded for the city:

If you were alive in 1978, perhaps the similarity was striking.

Grand Rapids’ average temperature last month was 13.3 degrees, making it the coldest February in the city’s recorded weather history — a record dating back 37 years, according to the National Weather Service. The previous record was a balmy 14.3 degrees.

Overnight low temperatures dipped below zero eight times throughout the month, with highs not able to warm too much beyond the teens. In fact, the thermometer touched the 30-degree mark only four times when the seasonal average is just around freezing.

The Great Lakes region can thank the frequent blasts of arctic air for these records. Visitors to area beaches, too, should give the colder than normal conditions credit for some spectacular scenes of ice formations and caves along the shore.

Much of the state saw a near record cold as well, which has also pushed Great Lakes ice coverage near 90%.

View Jay’s photo big as the biggest lake and jump into his slideshow for some absolutely stunning shots from the Pictured Rocks shoreline in mid-February.

More winter wallpaper and also more about the Pictured Rocks.

Since 1880, 2014 was warmer

1880_Michigan_Wolverines_football_team

1880 Michigan Wolverines Football Team, photo courtesy Wikipedia

EarthSky’s Matt Daniel writes that NASA, NOAA, and Japan Meteorological Agency all report 2014 as Earth’s warmest year since modern-day record-keeping began in 1880.

Put in more tangible terms, since at least the days when University of Michigan footballers wore uniforms like this, there has not been a warmer year.

What’s more May, August, September, October and December of 2014 were ALL the warmest for that month since 1880! I’d like to suggest that global warming/climate change be shifted from a political issue to a survival issue. You are of course free to draw your own conclusions.

NASA has a snappy video that boils it down to a minute and a half.

Wikipedia says that these stylish gents played just one game, defeating the team from the University of Toronto, 13 to 6, at the Toronto Lacrosse Club. Michigan scored two touchdowns and one goal; Toronto scored three safety touchdowns.

Click the link for more and click the photo above to view it big as the big House.