Saturday, September 13, 2014


Dark clouds, distinctive rays and backlit vegetation
made for an interesting sunset at the Bayou the
day before our weather became stormy.
Detroit Harbor, Washington Island -

Maybe I've waited too long to publish these photos, because the weather has been in continual flux since they were taken.

First, we experienced warm and humid weather in the high 70 degrees (high 80s in much of the midwest) leading to violent storms and great rainfall amounts. Then starting with Thursday, Sep. 3rd, flooding occurred in areas where flooding is rarely seen, towns such as Baileys Harbor.   Trees were downed, and creeks, rivers and swamps were filled with runoff.  

Dramatic squall line between powerful rain cells
as the stormy mass moved across Detroit
Harbor in the early afternoon. The low pressure
remained to our west and moisture then circulated
from east to west over northern Lake Michigan.   
At our home we experienced power interruptions, frequent during the height of the storm, but never for more than about 20 minutes.   The REA crew stayed on top of downed trees to keep power supplied locally, but the Peninsula experienced wider and longer outages, some for close to 24 hours.

We were in Karly's for a hamburger before the first wave of the storm hit, taking in with us a slicker just in case, because the radar showed a massive storm cell was headed our way.   I had begun working on my french fries when the power went out. The deluge intensified outside, with heavy, tropical-like rains at times.

This pattern continued throughout the night of Sep 3, on and off.  As one large cell passed over, or split and went north and south, another just as large and intense formed inland to the west, taking its place in the sequence.  Around 8:30 pm, with island power temporarily out and an intense squall in progress, Hoyt and Rich were called on to make a special medical emergency trip.  

The Packer game in Seattle that same night wasn't impacted by Wisconsin's weather, but our TV viewing was.  Frequent, but brief, outages had us listening to part of the game on a battery operated radio.  It was a good diversion from a game that in many ways echoed the night's weather:  a relentless pounding.

Patrons supped contentedly at Karly's, unfazed by the
power outage, as heavy rain fell outdoors. Tim stated
the power would be back in 20 minutes - and it was.
This moist air mass began well to the southwest, Oklahoma and Nebraska, through Iowa into Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.  Rather than this large humid air mass being pushed briskly to the east by a cold, high pressure air mass, which is often the case, the winds remained southerly, and we enjoyed a few more days of pleasant, warm summer weather before the pattern seemed to repeat itself.

One week later, Sep. 10, stormy skies reappeared, this time with less rain but more wind - gusts in the 40+ mph range for ten hours or so.  When the cloud cover finally eased a day or two later, we found ourselves in a high pressure system with fall-like temperatures: mid-40s by night, daytime highs in the lower to mid-50s.  

This change provided a good reason to get the pellet stove going and shut down basement humidifiers.  The drying warmth felt good, both the real heat and the psychological warmth a fall fire can bring.

Photo taken by wimpy photographer aboard the Robert Noble.
 I rolled down the window for this one as we headed through the break wall
and into the NW gale.  Temperatures dropped 10 degrees in one hour,
and winds picked up dramatically in late afternoon,
Wednesday, Sep. 10, but all ferry trips were completed.

Yes, fall is firmly in place.  The bow hunt for deer season begins today, and I believe we heard blasts from a goose (or turkey) hunter early this morning.  Several maples now show signs of bright colors, and our fields suddenly seem to have lost their summer green.  Plants are in the latter stages of production.  High bush cranberries are turning a bright red.  

Many great days lie ahead, however, and it's a time of year that many of us prefer to any other: sweater weather.   Still pleasant enough for just about any outdoor activity of your choice, at least during the middle part of the day.

Time to get out and enjoy it!  -  Dick Purinton

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