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Thunderstorm over Lake Michigan.
Pete / Flickr - http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

While tropical storms are threatening the southern United States and extreme heat seriously impacted the Pacific Northwest, Michigan is getting its own wave of wild weather.

High winds and thunderstorms left hundreds of thousands of residents without power in southeast Michigan this week, just days after storms flooded Metro Detroit, and more storms are already in the forecast.

JEFFREY PAUL

Storm chasers and meteorologists observed a record number of waterspouts over the Great Lakes this month, according to the Toronto-based International Centre for Waterspout Research. 

The group confirmed 240 of the spectacular weather events over the Great Lakes between September 28 and October 4. 

 

A waterspout can form on a cloudy day, when cold air passes over warmer waters. The resulting vortex sucks down condensation from the cloud cover, creating a phenomenon that looks like a tornado.

 

National Weather Service

Tornadoes and hail up to one inch in diameter are possible Wednesday as severe thunderstorms move across the state.

The National Weather Service expects the main threat to be wind gusts around 70 mph.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

Thousands of people still don’t have power in West Michigan after severe thunderstorms – and possible tornadoes – passed through the area Wednesday night.

Consumers Energy reported more than 20,000 customers were without power in the wake of the storm.

Photo shows the inside of a culvert. It's square with concrete walls and a very shallow stream of water is running through it.
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

Climate change is likely to bring more extreme rainfall and flooding to Michigan. So, flood risk in the next 100 years will probably look very different than in the last. But, much of our infrastructure, like culverts, bridges, and storm drains, is still being designed and built based on the floods of the past.


Rainy, humid summer spells havoc for fruit crops

Jul 9, 2019
A tart cherry orchard in Michigan.
Peter Payette / Interlochen Public Radio

Fruit growers in northern Michigan are battling diseases this summer caused by heavy rain and humidity.

Nikki Rothwell coordinates research at the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Station in Leelanau County. She says she hasn’t seen outbreaks like these in the 15 years she has worked at the station.

Mayflies
Adobe Stock

May they fly away one day soon, but today mayflies are among us. Some are calling it an "invasion," but it's the time of year where cities and states near the Great Lakes region experience a repulsive visitation.

When an excessive amount is swarmed together, mayflies look like a thick large patch of dirt, and can be spotted on weather radars.

Updated at 5:53 p.m. ET

People in Guadalajara, Mexico, woke up on Sunday to a thick blanket of ice over areas of their city, after a freak hailstorm that damaged houses and left cars partially buried.

This is particularly striking because it's the middle of summer. In the past month, temperatures most days have hit 90 degrees Fahrenheit or over.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Detroit area usually gets more than three inches of rain in July. This year, that number was closer to one inch.

This has been a dry summer all over the state. Most of the Lower Peninsula is experiencing drier-than-normal weather and some parts of the state are even in the midst of a drought. According to the United States Drought Monitor, this is Michigan's third unusually dry year in a row, making this look like a new normal.

Cynthia Canty / Michigan Radio

It's been spring for 22 days now, but the ice hasn't melted and snow is still falling.

Mark Torregrossa, chief meteorologist with MLive and farmerweather.com, joined Stateside Tuesday to discuss just how normal these weather patterns are, and how long we should expect them to last.

Christian Collins / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says colder-than-normal temperatures will continue in Michigan through mid-January, at least. That's as far as their models can reliably predict. Long-range models suggest temperatures might return to normal toward the end of the month, but those predictions are not very accurate. That's according to Richard Otto, a meteorologist with NOAA's weather prediction center in College Park, Maryland.

Marquette Police Department

The "gales of November" came early to the Upper Peninsula and Lake Superior. To make things extra interesting, snow hit the ground today too, and more is on the way.

On Tuesday, this stormy weather produced a 28.8-foot wave at the Granite Island buoy located north of Marquette, says MLive chief meteorologist Mark Torregrossa.

Courtesy of NOAA

This week, experts are getting together in Ann Arbor to make a warning system for meteotsunamis in the Great Lakes. We have on average 106 meteotsunamis in the lakes each year.

A storm
Flickr/mdprovost

Any time there’s a heat wave, or a drought or a big flood, scientists like Noah Diffenbaugh get a lot of calls.

“We are as scientists being asked whether or not global warming has played a role in individual extreme weather events,” he says.

USA National Phenology Network, www.usanpn.org

Scientists have known that spring is arriving earlier across the U.S. because of climate change. Now, you can take a look at new maps from the U.S. Geological Survey to see how early spring is arriving where you live.

Jake Weltzin is an ecologist with the USGS, and the executive director of the National Phenology Network.

"The folks down in the southeastern United States, across much of that region, are seeing spring coming as many as three weeks early this year," he says.

A vintage snowmobile exhibit is on display on Saturday, Feb. 18 at Snowfest in Cedarville, Mich. in the Upper Peninsula. As you can see, the snow was already starting to melt.
Josh Hakala / Michigan Radio

Some folks in Michigan were walking around outside with t-shirts this past weekend, and just in case you haven't checked the calendar, it's February! It's just the latest chapter in the often unpredictable and strange weather here in the Great Lakes State.

Waves on Lake Michigan.
user ellenm1 / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Tsunamis in the oceans are often triggered by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. But scientists say there’s a kind of tsunami that’s also a common occurrence on the Great Lakes.

These waves aren’t nearly as big as the ones on the oceans, but they can be deadly.

One reported to be 10 feet tall hit a Chicago pier in 1954 and seven people drowned.

Here's a meteorological model of that event:

Adam Bechle is a researcher at the University of Wisconsin. He says tsunamis on the Great Lakes are not so different from the ones in the ocean.

jim harbaugh at podium
Courtesy MGoBlog / Creative Commons -- http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Michigan has seen particularly warm weather the past few days, and one person taking notice is the University of Michigan's head football coach Jim Harbaugh. 

On his weekly radio show, Harbaugh talked about recruiting prospective candidates and why he loves living in Michigan. He also joked that global warming could help the football team's recruitment efforts, according to MLive's Nick Baumgardner:

Flickr user NASA Goddard Space Flight Center/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

In this all-too-fast-paced era we live in, it's comforting to see something that's managed to stick around for 225 years – the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

What Massachusetts schoolteacher and bookseller Robert B. Thomas started in 1792 is still with us. The 2017 edition is now out.

Flickr user/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

If it looks like your parched lawn is crying out for a drink, you've got company.

Parts of the state are in the grips of a dry spell, and it's turning lawns crispy and brown. 

Thanks to continuing cold temperatures and snowfall, Michigan is not yet done with skiing for the season.

Three mountains will be open this weekend: Mount Bohemia, Boyne Mountain, and Ski Brule. Bohemia is reopening after closing this past week, while Boyne and Brule have yet to close.

Parts of the Upper Peninsula have seen unusually high snowfall this month. Marquette, MI is already having the fifth-snowiest April on record, with over 32 inches of snow already, according to the local division of the National Weather Service. 

What it takes to make snow when nature's not cooperating

Dec 24, 2015
Paula Friedrich / Michigan Radio

Artificial snowmaking is a complicated process, but it's one that's important to ski resorts this year as Michigan's weather stays balmy.

While it's possible to go really granular in explaining how snow guns work (everything from humidity to water pressure can change when snow can be made), it boils down to four basic "ingredients."

Click through the slideshow at the top for your snowmaking basics.

A few photos of this week's rolling waves

Nov 13, 2015
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Heavy wind made for surprisingly Instagramable "bad weather" this week. Here are some photos from Instagram for those of you who couldn't see the waves in person:

We might get 20 foot waves in Lake Michigan this week

Nov 11, 2015

Those gales of November are coming in full force tonight.

The National Weather Service issued a notice that predicts waves up to 20 feet high in Lake Michigan over the next few days.

Split Rock Lighthouse - The Annual Lighting to Commemorate the Loss of the Edmund Fitzgerald
Pete Markham/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Did you know the Edmund Fitzgerald sank in a fierce storm on November 10, 1975?

As Gordon Lightfoot wrote in his song about the Fitzgerald, which sank in the waters of Lake Superior:

That good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
When the gales of November came early.

What's with these powerful winds and storms as we move from October to November?

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center says a strong El Nino in the Pacific is increasing chances for warmer-than-average temperatures this December through February.
NOAA

Yes, we're expecting freezing temperatures in much of Michigan and even snow in the Upper Peninsula this weekend, but call your bookmaker (or, rather, your weather futures trader) and plop down your bet on what might happen this winter.

Hillary Pasternak, student
Paula Friedrich / Michigan Radio

Sirens tore through Michigan Monday night, warning of strong thunderstorms and a few tornadoes. As you woke up, groggy at 1:30 a.m., what did you make sure you had before seeking shelter?

We asked a few people what their top three items to save would be.

Wikimedia Commons / Wikimedia Commons

This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most devastating weather events in Michigan history: the Palm Sunday tornado outbreak.

It happened with virtually no warning on April 11, 1965. Killer tornadoes smashed through the Midwest over a 12-hour span, killing 271. Michigan was one of the hardest-hit states with 53 deaths.

An early morning single-car accident severed natural gas service to the village of L'anse, Michgan, affecting around 1,2000 customers
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

GRAND HAVEN, Mich.  - Another round of winter weather is expected to make travel difficult in parts of Michigan as bitterly cold temperatures moderate somewhat.

Temperatures on Tuesday morning ranged from just above zero to the low 20s. It was 6 in Detroit, 7 in Grand Rapids and 17 in Traverse City.

Snowflake.
user RachelEllen / Flickr

DETROIT - Bitterly cold weather is expected to persist across Michigan into the weekend.

Temperatures moderated from Sunday and Monday's deep freeze, with readings Tuesday morning ranging from 8 below zero in Monroe to 18 above in Ludington. Highs were expected in the low 20s.

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