Dry Through at Least Saturday AM and More on Structural Currents

Bill’s Blog

Posted: Aug 18, 2020 / 05:42 AM EDT Updated: Aug 18, 2020 / 11:01 PM EDT

generic lake michigan generic waves generic rip currents warning b_1522031329507.JPG.jpg

We had a Beach Hazard Statement and Small Craft Advisories for Lake Michigan from Ottawa County south into NW Indiana and NE Illinois (inc. the Chicago Area) yesterday (Tue.). Winds were north at around 15 mph and waves kicked up to 2-4 feet.

Structural Current in West Michigan with a north or northwest wind

A north wind means that dangerous structural currents may form on the north sides of the piers and breakwaters. This includes the pier at Holland State Park and the north pier at South Haven. We already had a couple of rescues at Holland State Park this week in a similar situation. So…do not swim near or jump off the pier at Holland State Park…it’s that simple…and you might go so far as to caution anyone doing that to stop.

The graphic above from the G.R. NWS shows the water temperature at Grand Haven State Park since July 25th…starting fairly warm (75° on 7/29) then crashing to 40° during the first week of August, when north-northeast winds blew the warmer surface water out into the middle of the lake, allowing very cold water to rise to the surface. The water temperature cam back up to the low 70s as the wind turned more to the west-southwest and blew the warmer water back toward shore.

UPDATE: Monday, Grand Haven State Park reported a water temp. of 51° – that’s down 12° since Sunday. You can see that the upwelling has brought up colder water. Other water temps. this Tue. AM: 66° Ludington, 69° Mears, 69° Hoffmaster S.P. and 64° at Holland. The South Haven buoy was still at 72.5°. Inland Reeds Lake was still at a relatively warm 78°.

Sunset at Grand Haven, Michigan on Monday August 17, 2020

This was sunset at Grand Haven Monday evening, as seen from our Noto’s at the BilMar camera. The forecast calls for dry weather through at least Saturday morning, with the next decent shot at a thundershower coming sometime between Saturday PM and Sunday PM.

It’s been a dry couple of weeks, with Grand Rapids officially getting just 0.43″ of rain since August 2. It’s interesting that despite this dry stretch, the Grand Rapids is still above average flow this Tuesday AM: 1,790 cubic feet per second, compared to an average flow of 1,430 cfs.

South Haven sunset 8 17 20

Here’s sunset at South Haven Monday evening. Grand Rapids is very close to average temperature for the month of August so far (-0.5 degrees). After starting the month with 6 days of high temperatures in the 70s, we’ve had 11 consecutive days with high temperatures in the 80s in Grand Rapids. We continue to have one of the sunniest summers ever in Michigan. Grand Rapids had a record 82% sunshine in June, then an average 73% in July and now 73% so far in August.

Power Outages in Iowa at 5:40 am Tuesday August 18

This map from poweroutages.us shows the power outages across Iowa at 5:40 am Tuesday, August 18. We’re 8 days after the derecho thunderstorms blasted across Central Iowa and we still have over 48,000 customers without power. That includes 31,965 customers (28.5% of the county) in Linn County, where Cedar Rapids is located. Cedar Rapids is the second biggest city in Iowa. The wind was measured at 112 mph in Linn County and blew for 20-30 minutes.

Damage in Cedar Rapids is worse than the 2008 Great Flood on the Cedar River. Hardly a building in the county didn’t sustain damage and thousands of trees and wires were toppled. One official said that the storm touched every square mile of the city of 133,000 people, destroyed thousands of trees, damaged homes and businesses and prompted a record number of calls for emergency assistance. He said hospitals were also overwhelmed with emergency room visits by those injured (over 500 during and after the storm – there were at least 3 storm-related fatalities in Iowa) or in need of other medical treatment. The worst damage was along and just north of Interstate 80.