weather

Stateside
5:35 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

What is causing the unseasonably cool weather?

bucklava flickr

An interview with meteorologist Mark Torregrossa.

The weather has been really nice lately –maybe a little cool at night- but this is July, people. What happened to the dog days of summer? One week of hot weather and then fall?

It’s time for an expert to weigh in, and that’s why we called MLive meteorologist Mark Torregrossa. He joined us today to talk about the unseasonably cool weather. Listen to the full interview above.

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Politics & Culture
4:51 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Stateside for Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Still not sure what the Affordable Care Act means or what it does or doesn’t do? You’re not alone. Politics aside, we took a closer look at Obamacare and what it all means for you.

And, the unseasonable cool weather in Michigan is probably good for you, but not so good for the crops. Meteorologist Mark Torregrossa joined us today to talk about what is causing it.

And, a Detroit native joined us today to tell us how he sees the city's bankruptcy as a new opportunity.

Also, the fourth annual Upper Peninsula book tour is about to begin. We spoke with a couple Michigan authors who will be participating.

First on the show, by now you’ve heard a bit about Detroit’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing. About half of Detroit’s nearly $20 billion in debt is due to shortfalls in the funds for retiree benefits. According to emergency manager Kevyn Orr’s estimates, the pension funds are behind by about $3.5 billion. Unfunded health care obligations are pegged at about $5.7 billion.

Detroit is not unique in its unfunded pension and retiree health care obligations. Other municipalities in the state are also behind.

Anthony Minghine is the chief operating officer of Michigan municipal league.  He joined us today.

Environment & Science
11:41 am
Thu July 18, 2013

The dog days of summer - heat wave to end soon

Tony Brown

Right on cue, the Ann Arbor Art Fairs opened during the hottest week we’ve had yet this summer.

According to the National Weather Service, an excessive heat warning is in effect this afternoon through Friday, with heat index values of 105 degrees in southeast Michigan today.

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Stateside
5:31 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

How does this week measure up in Michigan's weather history?

Flickr

An interview with MLive meteorologist Mark Torregrossa.

No matter where you go in Michigan this week, it seems the hot weather is a prime topic of conversation.

When you pop your head out of the door first thing in the morning and it's already 83 degrees and there's nowhere to go but up, that is some hot weather.

We wondered how this week fit into Michigan's "hot weather history," so we turned to MLive meteorologist Mark Torregrossa. He also has the website farmerweather.com which will give you everything you want to know about the weather.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:01 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

How Michigan farmers are dealing with the wet summer weather this year

Jane Doughnut Creative Commons

An interview with farmer Ken DeCock.

This has certainly been a wet and muggy summer.

Michigan farmers endured a hot and dry summer in 2012, so we wondered what the soggy summer of 2013 is doing to crops and to farmers. Is it better than the scorcher of 2012?

Ken DeCock is a third-generation farmer in Macomb Township where his family owns Boyka's Farm Market. He joined us today to give us the farmer's-eye view of our weather.

Listen to the full interview above.

Environment & Science
9:36 am
Fri June 28, 2013

And then it rained... Crews work to clean up after storms hit Michigan

Flooding in Ann Arbor after last night's rain.
Credit user gerbsumich / Twitter

Southeast Michigan was hit with torrential downpours last night and social media was abuzz with photos and videos.

In Ann Arbor, the city turned into a bit of a water park:

Other people water skiied behind cars.

Roads basically turned into rivers for a time:

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Environment & Science
4:47 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

This is what a derecho weather pattern looks like, one might hit Michigan

Credit Susie Martin Wx / Twitter

The Associated Press reports that a derecho could create several storms in the Midwest with wind gusts reaching close to 100 mph:

The National Weather Service says derechos occur once or twice a year in the central U.S. with winds of at least 75 mph. The storms maintain their intensity for hours as they sweep across vast distances, and can trigger tornadoes and large hail.

Meteorologists project possible derechos in Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland and Pittsburgh metro areas.

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Flooding
9:30 pm
Sun April 21, 2013

Rivers are rising, Michigan communities brace for flooding

The Grand River at nearly 22 feet on Sunday, April 21, 2013; a record in downtown Grand Rapids.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

This post was updated as we learned news related to the rising waters in West and mid-Michigan. To see how events unfolded from Friday through Sunday night, scroll down and read up.

To read about current news related to the flooding, see this new post.

Sunday, April 21st, 9:30 p.m.

At nearly 22 feet, Michigan’s longest river is very near where the National Weather Service is predicting it will crest in Grand Rapids. The Grand River’s flood stage there is 18 feet.

City officials were confident the waste water treatment plant (that serves around a dozen other neighboring communities) will make it through the night, thanks in part to a massive sandbag wall lining the perimeter.

Over the weekend the city moved around $3 million dollars in equipment that’s not needed for the emergency to drier locations, just in case.

The flooding means the plant is processing more than triple the usual amount of water. Over the last three days, the city says the plant has treated 150 million gallons of water a day, compared to an average of 42 million gallons a day.

People are still being asked to conserve water; take shorter showers, hold off on washing laundry and dishes.

“We expect to be safe through the night,” the city’s Environmental Services Manager Mike Lunn said in a written statement.

“The combined performance of our flood walls, our pumps, professional staff, and volunteers has been truly amazing. We must, however, continue to be diligent in monitoring the situation,” Lunn said.

The city is no longer calling on people to help fill and move sandbags, for now.

“I can’t possibly imagine what else we could do to react to this situation,” Mayor George Heartwell said, “We realize that things could change dramatically in the next few days with more rain or if issues associated with structures – such as buildings, walls, or bridges - arise.”

The crest will head to Grandville soon, where the city library is now taking on some water in the basement.

In Lowell, upstream from Grand Rapids, the water is already beginning to recede. There’s been very limited access into the city, with a number of bridges closed. But the barricades are predicted to move off Main Street before the Monday morning commute.

Sunday 4:30 p.m.

Electricity is being rerouted in Grand Rapids because of the flooded Grand River.

Officials from Consumers Energy said Sunday there are four high voltage distribution lines that run just under the Fulton Street bridge.

The water is high enough there's a concern that big trees or other debris floating down the river could snag the lines and cause safety concerns so they’ve de-energeized the lines. Electrical services have not been impacted because of the move.

Once the river recedes they’ll reopen the bridge. But officials couldn’t estimate how long that will be.

The Grand River is expected to crest Monday around 2 a.m. at 22.3 feet.

At a press conference Sunday afternoon Mayor George Heartwell thanked the hundreds of volunteers who’ve been filling and stockpiling 6,000 sandbags an hour over the weekend. He called for more volunteers this afternoon and evening.

“Even though we’re the most incredible volunteering city in the world, we need more,” Heartwell said, “Please help us protect our city.”

City-owned buildings have already been lined with the bags. So the 50,000 that remain are primarily for residents and business owners who need then, “or the possibility that the skies open up again this week, we get a ton of rain and we get a resurgence of these levels.”

Rain is in the forecast as early as Tuesday.

Michigan’s second largest city remains under a state of emergency because of significant property damage to a number of buildings in the downtown area.

It’s estimated that around a thousand residents in mid and west Michigan have been evacuated from their homes. Some have already been able to return.

Sunday 11:10 a.m.

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Politics & Government
8:14 am
Fri April 19, 2013

In this morning's news: auto insurance, detention, weather

Morning News Roundup, Friday, April 19, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Snyder wants to lower auto insurance rates

Governor Rick Snyder is asking lawmakers to make changes to Michigan's no-fault auto insurance system. The Governor says Michigan has the highest insurance rates in the Midwest and have the eighth highest rate in the county.

"Right now, people critically injured in an auto accident can receive unlimited lifetime medical benefits. Under a plan announced yesterday, that amount would be capped at $1 million dollars," Jake Neher reports.

Michigan House approves bill against indefinite detention

"The Michigan House has approved legislation that would prohibit state and local law enforcement officials from helping the federal government indefinitely detain American citizens without charges," the Associated Press reports.

Weather update

More flooding and a return to wintry weather in places are being seen as spring storms prompt evacuations in parts of Michigan. More rain is expected today. We might even get some snow this afternoon in West, Mid Michigan and Flint. The Grand River in Grand Rapids is expected to crest on Sunday, just inches below the 100-year flood level.

Environment & Science
4:30 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Tornado watches and flooding come to Michigan today

Watching the Grand River rise. The 6th Street area in Grand Rapids at the Fish Ladder. A number of people spent their lunch break watching the water.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Storms moved across Michigan this afternoon causing major flooding. Tornado watches are over. We updated this post today as we learned more. Scroll down and read up to see how the day unfolded.

Update 4:30 p.m.

We reported earlier in this post that the city of Chicago reversed the flow of the Chicago River to relieve flooding in upstream areas.

Major flooding in the Chicago Metro region has been identified as a pathway for Asian carp to get into the Great Lakes. Adam Allington explained this concern in a series he did for the Environment Report last year.

Michigan Radio's Rina Miller looked into that concern and reports:

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says crews are stationed along the 13-mile physical and electronic barrier along the Des Plaines River, which is experiencing record flooding. Felicia Kirksey no carp have been spotted so far, and that the Corps is confident electronic pulses will continue to deter the invasive fish. More rain is expected in that region tonight, but will taper off tomorrow.

She'll have more for us in a separate post.

3:25 p.m.

You can check the forecast for the river near you on the NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service page. Click the dot nearest you and then click the "upstream gauge" or "downstream gauge" links to find the forecast nearest your area.

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Stateside
3:39 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Is this normal-ish Michigan weather?

Midwest weather makes 'normal' something hard to define
user thebridge Michigan Radio

Why is it so cold this spring?

Jeff Masters, PhD, Director of Meterology at Weather Underground, tried to shed some light on our slow seasons.

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Politics & Government
7:28 am
Tue February 26, 2013

In this morning's news: weather, roads funding, Detroit mayoral race

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Michigan in for snow, sleet and rain today

"Snow, sleet and freezing rain are expected across the region today as part of a strong winter storm bearing down on the nation's midsection. It's expected to fall this afternoon and evening, and into tomorrow. More than 6 inches could fall in some places, including southeast Michigan. West Michigan could get 2 to 6 inches," the Associated Press reports.

Lawmakers talk roads funding

"State business leaders say Michigan lawmakers need to boost funding for roads now. The group says the cost of fixing roads only gets higher as time passes and roads get worse. The group says lawmakers should raise the state’s gas tax and vehicle registration fees to boost road funding," Jake Neher reports.

Mike Duggan to announce run for Detroit mayor

The former Detroit Medical Center CEO, Mike Duggan is announcing his run for Detroit mayor today. As the Detroit News reports,

"In an interview Monday, [Duggan] said his candidacy will be defined by the critical need for a strategy to fight violent crime and the case to limit (if not prevent) the tenure of an emergency manager in a long overdue turnaround of the city."

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Weather
10:41 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Michigan sees dozens of weather-related crashes

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Police say they're dealing with dozens of weather-related vehicle crashes around the state as a major storm hitting the Midwest brings snow to Michigan.

In Lansing, police say Friday morning they've responded to 12 traffic accidents and eight requests for assistance from motorists. Police say all appear to be weather-related.

In West Michigan, The Holland Sentinel reports a semi crashed in Holland and an ambulance en route to a call became briefly stuck in the snow in Allegan County.

MLive.com reports about a dozen minor crashes in Saginaw County on Friday morning. Other crashes happened in Midland County.

Fresh snow and icy roads made driving treacherous. Plows are on the road across the state. And some flights were delayed or canceled due to weather.

Politics & Government
7:58 am
Fri February 8, 2013

This morning's news: Snow across the state, Snyder's budget, and charter school unionization

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Snow blankets most of the state

Most of the Lower Peninsula is blanketed in snow as an overnight storm brought up to 9 inches in some areas, creating a potentially treacherous morning commute and causing many school districts to cancel classes. 

Three to 7 inches of snow are expected in parts of mid and West Michigan, according to the Detroit Free Press. Areas of Southeast Michigan received up to 5 inches of snow. Parts of the northern Lower Peninsula could get up to 9 inches. 

Snow is expected to continue throughout the morning, and it should taper off by around noon, the paper reported. 

Gov. Snyder releases budget proposal

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder released his annual budget proposal Thursday morning. 

"Sixty-one percent of the total investments we’re recommending are either for savings or education. This is a responsible budget. This is a budget to look to that long term, and learn from our past mistakes," Snyder said in his announcement. 

Among his priorities were increasing taxes to help pay for upkeep of the state's roads. Snyder proposed raising the gas tax to 33 cents a gallon for all types of fuel. He also wants to raise vehicle registration fees. 

Michigan Radio's Mark Brush has a run down of Snyder's other budget priorities, which include increasing funding for all levels of education and expanding medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act. 

Detroit charter school teachers vote to unionize

Teachers at Detroit's largest charter school voted overwhelmingly last night to be represented by a union. 

The teachers and staff at Cesar Chavez academy voted by a 2-1 margin to have the American Federation of Teachers represent them, Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reports. 

Only a small number of Michigan’s charter schools have unionized employees.

Nate Walker is with the AFT. He expects teachers in some other Michigan charter schools will also unionize this year.

“I think in the future we can certainly expect more collective bargaining campaigns,” says Walker,  “But we can also expect charter school teachers to engage in the policy discussions that impact them.”

- Joseph Lichterman, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Politics & Government
8:07 am
Thu February 7, 2013

This morning's news: Snyder's numbers, Trooper saves girl, and more snow

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Gov. Snyder releases his numbers today

At 11 a.m., Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to unveil his budget to the state Legislature. It'll then be up to those representatives to wrestle with the numbers and come up with a final budget for the state. Among the things he's expected to call for:

  • After years of cuts, he'll call for a 2 percent increase in public education funding
  • More funding for road construction
  • And an expansion of Medicaid

More details emerge on I-75 crash, trooper saves one girl

More details came out yesterday on the deadly pileup on I-75 near Detroit the morning of Jan. 31.

A whiteout caused 12 crashes involving 43 cars on the Interstate. There were 12 injuries and 3 fatalities.

This morning, the Detroit News has more on Michigan State Trooper Seth Swanson's actions:

After failing to find a pulse on the first two children, Swanson went to the other side of the car, broke out the rear window with a hammer and reached in to see if the third child, a 10-year-old girl, was still alive. She had a faint pulse.

He cleared her airway and administered rescue breaths until she finally took a deep breath and regained consciousness.

And more snow is on the way, so drive carefully

Snow is expected for the entire state starting this evening. The middle of the state is expected to get the most snowfall. From the National Weather Service:

This system has the potential to generate heavy snowfall. 7 to 11 inches is expected north of M 46 and near Lake Huron, while 3 to 8 inches is possible for areas across the rest of Southeast Lower Michigan.

Mark Torregrossa from MLive says computer models for storms like this can predict higher snowfalls. His prediction is 4 to 9 inches for the middle of the state, and 1 to 4 inches for the rest of the state.

Transportation
3:08 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

More crashes on Michigan highways, lake effect snow causing some whiteouts

Ingham County snow plow.
Ingham County

U.S. 23 was shut down in both directions just south of Flint after a multi-vehicle accident was caused by a snow squall. At least 20 vehicles were involved. The Detroit News reports traffic is back up and running on northbound 23 :

A dispatcher at the Flint post of the Michigan State Police said traffic was moving again on northbound U.S. 23 as of 2 p.m., and that southbound would be reopened as soon as several cars were towed from the roadway.

Crews from the Genesee County Road Commission were also called in to erect barricades to move traffic away from the area.

And WOOD-TV reports that weather conditions caused a shut down on I-94 westbound near Paw Paw, Michigan just before 2 p.m. when two semi-trucks collided.

The National Weather Service reports that snow is expected to continue to fall across much of the state into tomorrow.

As a strong cold front moves offshore over the Atlantic, the cold air behind it will help produce lake effect snow across the Great Lakes region on Thursday and Friday. As much as 5-10 inches of lake effect snow is possible through Thursday night, with additional accumulation expected on Friday. In addition, temperatures 20-40 degrees below normal are forecast for the Upper Midwest.

Environment & Science
2:02 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Snow melt, rain could cause flooding this week

Rain on Tuesday night could lead to flooding in some parts of the state.
Tom Grundy Flickr

Here’s the good news.

The snow and ice that shut down many Michigan schools this morning are on their way out as temperatures are expected to rise to the mid-40s across much of the state.

But the warming brings its own set of problems. Foremost among them is flooding.

The National Weather Service explains it this way:          

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Politics & Government
7:27 am
Thu January 17, 2013

In this morning's Michigan news headlines. . .

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Governor Snyder addresses roads, schools and partisan divisions in State of the State

"In his State of the State speech last night, Governor Rick Snyder asked lawmakers to fix roads, schools, and partisan divisions. Snyder wants them to find a way to increase spending on roads and transportation by more than a billion dollars a year. He says bad roads are a financial burden on drivers and the state alike," the Michigan Public Radio Network reports.

Michigan foreclosure rate plummets

"A new report suggests Michigan is becoming more of a home seller’s market. Home sale prices plunged in Michigan during the recession. But Realty Trac reports in 20-12 home sellers were getting about 94 percent of their initial home sale price listings," Steve Carmody reports.

Michigan set 160 weather records in 2012

One hundred and sixty extreme weather records were set in Michigan in 2012. That's according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. As the Detroit News reports,

"The Detroit News reports, "Last year's statewide weather broke records across the spectrum including, 139 heat records in 44 counties, 18 rainfall records in 14 counties and three snow records in three counties. Michigan's weather seems to be paralleling the national trend of record-breaking heat, rain and snow."

Weather
10:51 am
Fri December 21, 2012

Will we have a white Christmas?

Current radar shows snow falling over Michigan.
screen shot AccuWeather.com

If this snow sticks around, we will.

Snow is falling around much of the state today, but the major snow fell on the norther lower and upper peninsulas yesterday and overnight.

The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports ten inches fell around the northwest part of the state. The storm also brought high winds leading to power outages:

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Transportation
10:31 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Snowstorm affecting flights at Detroit Metro

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will announce details of a major internal drug smuggling conspiracy at Detroit Metro Airport.
user ka_tate Flickr

The snowstorm moving through the upper Midwest is affecting flights out of Detroit Metro.

The Detroit Free Press reports that flights flying between Detroit Metro and several Iowa and Wisconsin destinations have been canceled.

Flights to and from Chicago O'Hare airport were running an average of 1 hour 52 minutes late this morning, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Chicago Midway was also experiencing delays. Delays were caused by wind ahead of the storm. Delta Flight 1257 from O'Hare to Detroit was canceled, but other flights between Detroit and Chicago were still on the schedule.

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