weather

Weather
6:39 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Southern Michigan prepares for floods

Past flooding in Ionia
Michigan State Police

Local goverments in southern Michigan are bracing for possible flooding.

William Byl is Kent County's Drain Commissioner.  He said how serious it becomes depends on the temperature swing and on the amount of rain.

"These kind of conditions are really the perfect storm because what you have is snowmelt combined with rain on top of the snowmelt, all falling on frozen ground. And you have no place for the water to go," Byl explained.

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Environment & Science
1:56 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Could the extreme cold weather be tied to a warming climate?

Purple signifies the extreme cold in the U.S.
Credit NWS

The temperatures certainly are extreme. Last night, it was colder in Michigan than it was at the South Pole.

Parts of the state saw temperatures reach 16 below zero with wind chills exceeding 40 below zero.

The "polar vortex" has brought air to the Midwest that normally stays way up in the arctic.

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Opinion
10:50 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Fun inside the polar vortex, throwing boiling water in the air

Lester Graham with a cup of boiling water.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

If you haven't been online in the last 24 hours, or you didn't watch it being done on Anderson Cooper's show over and over last night, then you're in for a treat.

It used to be a something kids in Alaska or in Canada's Northern Territories did for fun.

But with the combination of cold weather and social media, those of us in the Lower 48 can play too (and some of us are burning ourselves).

Life in the polar vortex allows you to do this:

So why does the boiling water suddenly turn into what appears to be a cloud of steam?

Well, it's not steam. They're just tiny ice crystals. LiveScience had Mark Seeley, a climatologist at the University of Minnesota, explains:

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Transportation
9:05 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Extreme cold and snow make trouble for Michigan motorists

Credit Virginia Gordan

Michigan faces dangerously cold wind chill conditions this week, according to the National Weather Service.

Nancy Cain is a spokesperson for AAA Michigan. She says they've responded to 25,000 calls since the snow and cold began on New Year's Day.

Cain says motorists have called for help with spinouts, fender benders, crashes, "out of gas," and "can't starts."

She expects even more road problems in the next few days because people who had previously stayed home will be returning to work.

Cain says even when the snow has stopped, the combination of extreme cold and wind makes driving dangerous.

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Weather
4:28 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

A check of the weather with MLive's Mark Torregrossa

Snow from the January 4-5, 2014 storm.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

This time the forecasters did not cry wolf. We got slammed by snow.

Now that the snow has fallen, we’re looking at winds and dangerous cold.

What's ahead and when will we see something resembling a more "typical" Michigan winter?

For the answers we turned to MLive meteorologist Mark Torregrossa, who also runs farmerweather.com.

I just got back yesterday from nearly two weeks in Ireland, and we were checking on Torregrossa’s reports as we got ready to fly back yesterday -- wondering if we were going to beat the snow and be able to land. The answer was "yes." He was spot-on in calling what was going to happen and when.

*Listen to the audio above.

Weather
12:24 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Flint area gets 'Top 10' record-breaking snowfall, Detroit... not so much

Digging out of the record-breaking snow in Flint.
Taryn Nitz Instagram

People are digging out from the snowstorm in much of Michigan today. 

So did this snowstorm break records in Michigan?

In Detroit, 10.6 inches fell during the storm, not enough to crack the top-10 list for snowstorms in this area.

Here are the biggest snowfalls recorded in the Detroit area according to the National Weather Service. Most of these storms occurred prior to 1930.

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Weather
2:38 pm
Sun December 22, 2013

Update: Ice storms knock out power to 294,000 in Michigan

Credit weather.gov

JACKSON, Mich. (AP) - Winter has arrived in Michigan with an icy blast, sending freezing rain across a wide section of the Lower Peninsula and knocking out electrical service to 294,000 homes and businesses.

The state's largest utilities say it will be days before most of those blacked out get their power back because of the difficulty of working around ice-broken lines.

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Environment & Science
9:57 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Cold temps and snow expected into next week

Cold temperatures moving in.
NWS

Cold temperatures and snow were expected in Michigan into next week. The lowest readings Friday morning were in the Upper Peninsula, including zero degrees in Ironwood and 1 degree in Iron Mountain.

Forecasters said lake-effect snow was possible in the U.P. and parts of western Michigan. Snow and freezing rain could make travel difficult.

Gale warnings were in effect Friday for Lake Superior, with waves expected to be 18 feet to as high as 27 feet.

Environment & Science
10:10 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Michigan braces for blast of cold temperatures

The cold air creeps into the lower 48.
NWS

IRONWOOD, Mich. (AP) — Cold temperatures are expected across Michigan after an arctic blast swept across the Northern Plains and made its way east.

In Michigan's western Upper Peninsula, temperatures in the teens were reported Thursday morning in Ironwood. In much of the rest of the state, temperatures were in the 30s to 50s, but they were expected to be in the 30s or below by Thursday evening.

A mix of snow and freezing rain is expected in places, making travel difficult. Cold weather is to continue through the weekend.

Gale warnings are in effect Thursday for Lake Superior and parts of northern Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, with high waves expected. In Lake Superior, the National Weather Service says waves of 18 feet are likely with maximum heights of up to 26 feet.

Politics & Culture
5:20 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Stateside for Monday, November 11th, 2013

Driverless cars might just be a futurist's dream-no longer. The University of Michigan has announced its plans to bring a fleet of networked, driverless cars to Ann Arbor by the year 2021. We have the details on today's show.

And the temperatures are falling and parts of Michigan have snow on the ground. We asked if winter has already arrived.

Also, the Farm Bill passed last January took an important subsidy away from organic farmers. What does the loss of this subsidy mean to organic farmers in Michigan? And does a farm have to go through the trouble and expense of getting certified to be organic?

First on the show, it's been less than a week since voters in three very different Michigan cities all approved ballot initiatives allowing small amounts of marijuana for personal use on private property.

And that has pro-marijuana advocates hoping those votes will boost pressure on state lawmakers to legalize or decriminalize pot.

Michigan Public Radio Network's Lansing correspondent Jake Neher joined us today to give an overview of what efforts are underway.

Stateside
4:56 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Predictions of an early winter in Michigan come true

Mark Torregrossa
Twitter

Time for a little "Told ya so!" from MLive Meteorologist Mark Torregrossa. Back on Halloween, he predicted a very early dose of lake-effect snow and  temps that feel more like Christmas than mid-November.

And, looking at the weather around the state for this November 11th, it does seem that he called it.

Meteorologist Mark Torregrossa joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
3:56 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Brace yourself — it may be an early winter for Michigan

The South Haven lighthouse, covered in snow.
user Cseeman Flickr

An interview with meteorologist Mark Torregrossa.

As I grabbed my gloves and heavy coat this morning, I noted that the thermometer was 33. Just ten days ago, it was 79 degrees. That’s Michigan's weather for you — always keeping us on our toes.

With talk of snowflakes in Flint and friends in Northern Michigan grumbling on Facebook about predictions of snow on October 22, we wondered: Is Michigan facing an early winter?

Meteorologist Mark Torregrossa joins us to discuss what’s ahead for Michigan weather.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
6:27 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Flipping poles: what the Sun's changing polarity means for us Earthlings

Get ready -- the Sun's poles are flipping.
User: Caneles Flickr

It sounds like the plot of an apocalyptic Hollywood blockbuster:  the poles on the Sun are flipping.

But why is this polar flip happening? And, what does changing polarity mean for us Earthlings? We talk to MLive Meteorologist Mark Torregrossa about the sun's latest flip-flop. 

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Stateside
5:07 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

How has this summer treated Michigan farmers?

This was taken at the Allendale Farmers Market summer 2008.
user tami.vroma Flickr

The end of summer is at hand and we wanted to find out how the year treated Michigan farmers so far.

They were slammed in 2012 by a cold, wet spring and a hot, dry summer.

Earlier this summer we spoke with Macomb Township farmer Ken DeCock to see how things were going for him and got mixed reviews. So we wanted to check in with him to get an end-of-summer view.

He joined us today from Boyka's Farm Market in Macomb Township. Tree fruit specialist William Shane with the Southwest Michigan Research and Extension Center also joined us.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
7:00 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Stateside for Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

It's getting close to back-to-school time. So today, we took a look at teachers -- in particular, teacher turnover, and what it can do a student's academic achievement. Teachers leaving their profession costs the nation billions of dollars each year. We ask what can be done to keep teachers teaching.

And, there have been some complaints about the cooler, rainier summer we've been having, but it turns out it's been good for our Great Lakes. Meteorologist Mark Torregrossa joined us today to tell us why.

Also, the historic Packard Plant in Detroit may be converted into a commercial, housing and entertainment complex, but is this feasible?

First on the show, it's Thursday, which means it's time for our weekly check-in with Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes.

And today he's got his eye fixed on the storm clouds that are gathering for the Detroit Institute of Arts. This particular growing cloud comes from Oakland County. 

Daniel Howes joined us today to talk about the troubles the DIA faces.

Stateside
5:57 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Great Lakes water levels are improving thanks to cool, wet summer weather

NOAA

An interview with MLive meteorologist Mark Torregrossa.

There has been a healthy degree of grousing this year by lovers of hot weather.

We had a cool and rainy spring, and certainly this summer has not been a replay of last year's hot, dry season.

But here's something to think about: the cooler, wetter weather is "good medicine" for our Great Lakes and those all-important water levels.

MLive meteorologist Mark Torregrossa joined us today to talk about why.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:13 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

What happened in the 2003 blackout and could it happen again?

Maggie Koerth-Baker
Twitter

An interview with Maggie Koerth-Baker, a science columnist for the New York Times Magazine, the science editor at BoingBoing.net, and the author of "Before the Lights Go Out."

Where were you ten years ago when the power died?

That's what many of us in the Midwest are asking each other today.

It was ten years ago this day when the largest blackout in North America left 55 million people in 8 states and Canada in the dark.

The cost of the Blackout of 2003? Anywhere from $4-10 billion.

What changes have been made to the grid in that decade? Could a blackout like that happen again?

Maggie Koerth-Baker is a science columnist for the New York Times Magazine, the science editor at BoingBoing.net, and the author of "Before the Lights Go Out."

She joined us today from Minneapolis. 

Listen to the full interview above.

Environment & Science
11:34 am
Wed August 14, 2013

Ten years after the great northeast blackout of 2003

The region affected by the blackout in 2003.
Wikipedia

Today is the ten-year anniversary of the Northeast blackout of 2003.

On August 14, 2003 at 4:10 pm, eight U.S. states and parts of Ontario lost power. 

In Cleveland, Ohio, an overgrown tree branch touched a sagging, overloaded power line. The line short-circuited and, well, you know how it ended. 

It was one of the biggest power outages that the U.S. ever saw. At first, people were worried it was an act of terrorism, but when the blackout was confirmed as merely a power outage, the mood shifted.

Much of southeastern Michigan was affected (about 2.3 million households were without power). The cities of Ann Arbor, Lansing, and Detroit were victims of the blackout. Some areas, such as Brighton and Holly, were in geographical pockets where residents had power.

Water supplies in Detroit were disrupted because the city used electronic pumps. All water in the Metro Detroit area was required to be boiled until August 18 to ensure potability. 

Here at Michigan Radio, our back-up battery only lasted so long, so we scrambled to find a generator to keep us on-air (see a few photos above).

We asked our Facebook fans to chime in with their experiences. Here's a snippet:

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Politics & Culture
5:13 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Stateside for Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

There are calls in Lansing to overhaul Michigan’s parole system. Advocates say the state keeps people in prison far longer than necessary.

And, we went back in time to explore how a Michigan company fed the nation's craze for sending postcards.

Also, we spoke with meteorologist Mark Torregrossa about improvements in weather forecasting technology.

First on the show, Detroit voters have spoken. Well, at least the 15% or so who voted in Tuesday's primary.

And, it will be Mike Duggan versus Benny Napoleon in the race for Mayor. We'll talk with our political commentator Jack Lessenberry to get his take on the primary results. But first, let's talk with the candidates.

We were joined today by the top vote-getter in yesterday's mayoral primary, a candidate whose name wasn't even on the ballot, Mike Duggan.

Stateside
5:11 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Michigan weather forecasts could double in accuracy

Meteorologist Mark Torregrossa
Twitter

An interview with meteorologist Mark Torregrossa.

Have you heard the rueful little wisecrack about Michigan's weather forecasters?

Something like, "they're wrong just enough that you don't take them seriously and they're right just enough that you need to take them seriously."

Well, the weather forecasters in Michigan will soon be able to give us forecasts that are twice as accurate.

Mark Torregrossa got his degree in meteorology from Northern Illinois University and he's been forecasting Michigan's weather for more than two decades. His weather website, farmerweather.com specializes in weather information for farmers and agriculture.

Torregrossa joined us today to discuss forecasting technology.

Listen to the full interview above.

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