Weather

Climate Change and Farming
4:16 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Farming moving northward due to climate change

Farming is moving northward in Michigan due to climate change
Credit Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Michigan and other northern states planted a record amount of corn, wheat, and soybeans this year, and the primary reason is climate change.

"We are clearly seeing more growing degree days and a longer growing season in the state of Michigan," says Jim Byrum, President of the Michigan Agri-Business Association, "which means some of those crops can be produced further north."

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Stateside
5:04 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Since 1959, more than 100 people have been killed by lightning strikes

Credit Wikimedia Commons

MLive and farmerweather.com meteorologist Mark Torregrossa’s report on lightning shows that Michigan is one of the most dangerous areas in America during a storm, ranking 13th in lightning fatalities by state.

More than 100 people in Michigan have been killed by lightning since 1959.

Torregrossa says the reason for the high number is that storms often occur when Michiganders are outdoors.

“It’s boating. It’s fishing. It’s camping. And then it’s playing outdoor sports,” Torregrossa says.

The sports that have most lightning fatalities are soccer and golf.

Torregrossa says if you hear thunder or see lightning, you should be inside.

“Lightning can travel quite a distance from a storm,” Torregrossa says. “In fact, 90% of all lightning injuries and deaths happen outside of the thunderstorm.”

So the moments before and after storms are dangerous times as well.

Torregrossa adds that counting the time between lightning and thunder is very accurate.

“About every five seconds, the lightning is about a mile to maybe two miles away,” Torregrossa says.

And that, he says, is too close for you to be outside.

*Listen to full interview above.

Weather
9:06 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

What kind of summer weather can we expect?

Credit Piccolo Namek / Creative Commons

Summer will officially arrive Saturday.  

MLive and Farmerweather.com meteorologist Mark Torregrossa says the coming summer looks really nice, despite the thunder and rain we've been seeing.

Torregrossa says there is a hot dome of air creating a stationary front over Michigan, which is bringing in the storm system that spawned tornados in Nebraska, and he says the storms could continue over  the weekend.

He also says El Nino may have an effect on our summer.

El Nino is when a large part of the Pacific over South America and Australia begins to warm up more than normal – which could help the second half of our summer stay cooler and lead to a warmer and drier winter.

Torregrossa predicts overall precipitation this summer will likely be normal.

*Listen to full interview above. 

Weather
5:11 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

BWL launches program to head off problems from future storm-related power outages

It's a homeowner's responsibility to repair the mast, seen here connecting to the electricity meter, if it is damaged during a weather event.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing residents will get some additional help next time a massive ice storm knocks out their electricity.

Last December, about 40,000 Lansing Board of Water and Light customers lost their power during a pre-Christmas ice storm. Thousands spent the holiday in the dark as utility crews tried to restore power.   

The heavy ice yanked the wiring out of about 1,000 homes and businesses. Homeowners had to track down electricians during the holidays to reconnect homes to electric meters before power could be restored. Many had to wait 11 to 12 days.

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Weather
11:12 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Ice on Lake Superior is slowly melting

Credit User jen-the-librarian / Flickr

OK, maybe you’ve seen the picture: sunny, 80-degree weather and people lying out in the sand – maybe even getting sunburned on the shores of Lake Superior. And maybe, there in the background, huge pieces of ice still floating around in the lake.

John Lenters is a climatologist at Ann Arbor-based LimnoTech, an environmental consulting firm.

Lenters says says because of the size and depth of the lakes, it will take a while for them to warm up after the extremely cold winter.

The ice is melting, but Lake Superior warms up slowly before it hits 39 degrees Fahrenheit.

*Listen to the interview above. 

Weather
5:08 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Summer fun (mixed with ice) on Lake Superior

Credit youtube

The record-setting cold that gripped Michigan last winter continues to leave its mark. There are still ice floes showing up on the shore of Lake Superior.  

Maybe you’ve seen the pictures on social media and wondered if they were even real.

But it’s true.

Some of the warmest temperatures of the year are drawing people to the beach in the Upper Peninsula, where over the weekend they found abundant ice floating just offshore at Marquette.

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Weather
8:00 am
Fri May 23, 2014

VIDEO: Watch a huge fog bank roll off Lake Michigan

The fog bank on Lake Michigan edges closer.
imgr

Spring is here and warmer air has finally come to the region, but we're still surrounded by five refrigerators – the five Great Lakes.

Lake Michigan broke a record this past winter for total ice coverage, so you know there won't be many people swimming in the lake over Memorial Day weekend.

The lakes will, however, have plenty of fisherman on them. And with the cold water and warm air, they might experience fog.

But have you ever seen a fog bank like this?

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Stateside
5:15 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

How do Brighton schools deal with severe weather?

Credit user doodlepress / creative commons

Emergency sirens sounded across much of Southeast Michigan during thunderstorm and tornado warnings yesterday, just as many schools were letting students out for the day. This caused  some parents to wonder: What’s being done with my kid?

We talked with Greg Gray, the superintendent of Brighton Area Schools, about how the district dealt with Monday's severe weather.

Weather
7:32 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

BWL plans to hire a "czar" to guide planning for future emergencies

About 40,000 people lost power during the December 21st ice storm. Many had to wait 10 days or more to get their lights turned back on.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Lansing Board of Water and Light plans to hire someone to handle planning for future emergencies.

One of the biggest criticisms BWL received after last December’s major power outage was that the utility wasn't communicating well with those most affected.

About 40,000 people lost power during the Dec. 21 ice storm. Many had to wait 10 days or more to get their lights turned back on.

A recent report claims the utility also failed to keep in touch with local governments, which were also struggling to recover from a major pre-Christmas ice storm.

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Weather
11:01 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Report: Climate change is a challenge now for Michigan farmers

The new National Climate Assessment concludes that the harms of global warming will become more and more disruptive across the nation throughout this century and beyond.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Climate change is making Michigan farmers more vulnerable to dramatic weather shifts, according to a new report.

The U.S. Global Change Research Program released a report this morning claiming climate change is no longer a future threat but is a reality now.

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Stateside
4:45 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

A look ahead to spring and summer weather

Credit Wolke Benutzer

It feels like we've finally emerged from the record-setting cold winter, doesn't it? So, as we look ahead to spring and summer what's in store? Mark Torregrossa is MLive meteorologist and he joined us today.

*Listen to the full interview above.

Weather
12:38 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Power outages plague Southeastern Michigan

Downed power lines create outages across the state.
Credit Christoper Sessums / Flickr

Just when you thought the weather was finally getting better, Michigan proves you wrong. 

As of 11:00 a.m., high winds and downed power lines Monday morning have left more than 100,000 DTE consumers in the dark. 

DTE's Outage Map, below, shows the outages that have been reported across the state. 

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Weather
3:59 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

Warming temperatures may cause more water main breaks in Michigan

Warmer temperatures are expected to cause headaches for local water systems.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Temperatures across Michigan today are rising into the 50’s.

Warmer temperatures are expected to cause headaches for local water systems.

Water mains could break as surrounding ground thaws.

Flint is dealing with 30 to 40 water main breaks at any one time.

Howard Croft is Flint’s Public Works director.

He expects the number of water main breaks will increase this week…

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Weather
4:36 pm
Sat March 29, 2014

Warmer temperatures may help get the tap water running again in Jackson

The deep freeze that gripped the state in January froze the pipes linking city water mains to more than 150 homes and businesses in Jackson. The problem is many of the lines were not buried below the frost line.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Warmer temperatures may help break ice jams that have kept about a hundred homes and businesses in Jackson from having running water.

The deep freeze that gripped the state in January froze the pipes linking city water mains to more than 150 homes and businesses in Jackson. The problem is many of the lines were not buried below the frost line.   

Many of the pipes are buried about four feet down.   But this year, the record cold sent the frost line down five to seven feet. 

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Stateside
4:37 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

It's been spring for a week, but the weather says otherwise

It's officially spring but we're still getting snow.
LisaW123 Flickr

So here we are, a week in to spring.  And what did we get this week as a present from Mother Nature?

That's right: snow. And cold.

National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Maczko, who is based in Grand Rapids, joined us today to discuss when the weather will finally warm up.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
4:19 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

How will climate change affect Michigan tourism?

A "Pure Michigan" advertisement.
Pure Michigan YouTube

When you think "Michigan," you have to think tourism. It's big business for the Mitten.

The now-famous "Pure Michigan" commercials are airing on network TV for the first time.

Pure Michigan advertising attracted more than four million out-of-state visitors last year. But how will our warming climate impact what those visitors might be able to do and enjoy when they come to Michigan?

Sarah Nicholls is an associate professor of tourism at Michigan State University, and Jim MacInnes is President and CEO of Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville. They joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Weather
4:37 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

You're not going to like the answer: 'How long to get rid of all those potholes?'

Ain't this one a beaut?
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Virtually every city in Michigan has 'em, and lots of 'em. 

The extreme cold this winter created a bumper crop of potholes that are slowing traffic and causing accidents and flat tires.  

Some streets have degraded so much they're more pothole than driveable surface.  Commuting has turned into a real-life game of Frogger.

And here's the really bad news.  Some cities won't be back to a "normal" number of potholes until June.

Todd Nepper runs the city of Jackson's Public Works Department.

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Weather
6:00 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Snowmen beware, it's the first day of spring

Since 1971, Lake Superior State University has marked the first day of spring by setting fire to a paper snowman.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

UPDATE: Proving that Mother Nature loves a good joke, the burning of the snowman has been postponed until Friday because of snow and high winds. No, seriously.

Today is the first day of spring.

Since 1971, Lake Superior State University has marked the first day of spring by setting fire to a paper snowman.

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Weather
5:14 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Flood risk has West Michigan Red Cross focusing on disaster aid

Flooding last year in Grand Rapids.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Almost a year after Grand Rapids was slammed by major flooding, the Red Cross is rallying West Michigan aid groups in case this spring’s snowmelt leads to another big flood.  

Chip Kragt, of the Red Cross in Michigan, says the organization is getting updates from the National Weather Service.    

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Stateside
3:57 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Will this Michigan spring bring water, water everywhere?

Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

We've all kept rather busy this winter tracking the seemingly never-ending snowfall. And, with nobody's friend – the polar vortex – hanging around all winter, nothing has melted. So there's a sizeable snow pack just waiting for the spring melt.

What are forecasters predicting in terms of river and road flooding this spring?

Jim Maczko is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service based in Grand Rapids. He joined us today to give us an idea of what to look out for as temperatures warm up.

Listen to the full interview above.

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