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Strange Weather Events


Today I am going to stray from the talk of snow and cold to bring more fascinating delvings into unnatural phenomenon which you may or may not have seen over the years.


  • Since at least the 19th century, people have periodically claimed to see giant snowflakes falling from the sky — big ones the size of saucers and plates or even larger, their edges turned up, their heaviness making them descend faster than small flakes.  The largest I have seen were over an inch in size in the upper highlands of Maine.  Guinness World Records lists the largest snowflakes as having fallen during a storm in January 1887 at Fort Keogh, in Montana. A rancher nearby, the book says, called them “larger than milk pans” and measured one at 15 inches wide. But no corroborating evidence supports the claim.
  • The largest hail stone on record for the U.S. had a diameter of 7.9 inches and weight 1.94 pounds. The hailstone fell in Vivian, South Dakota on July 23, 2010.  That is some scary hail.  The largest I experienced, luckily indoors, was in Allegan where hail the size of base balls fell, I think this was the summer of 1992 during a strong storm. 
  • The greatest average hail precipitation is in Kericho, Kenya.  Kenya experiences hailstorms, on average, 50 days annually. Kericho is close to the equator and the elevation of 7,200 feet contributes to it being a hot spot for hail.  Kericho reached the world record for 132 days of hail in one year.
  • July 11, 1877, described a severe hailstorm that occurred on the previous day in small towns just south of Watertown, New York. Large hail, some stones weighing half a pound, fell for 30 minutes, reportedly covering the ground nearly a foot deep. Several people were injured before they could find shelter. “Horses and cattle were killed in the fields … dead chickens, geese, pigs, and dogs were strewn on every side,” downed tree branches littered streets and yards, and all types of vegetation were destroyed.
  • In a storm at Maryville in northwest Missouri on September 5, 1898, when hail fell 12 inches deep, lanes in fields were still closed two weeks after the storm.  On 27 October, enough hail still remained in ravines to be used by local residents to make ice cream.  Hmmm, must have been hard on the crops and have been an extended cold period.

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Fire Rainbow




  • moon bows are rare, only seen at night when the moon is low and almost full, similar to a rainbow
  • colored moons are due to different atmospheric issues and could turn to colors such as blue, orange, and red
  • a fire whirl is either a tornado spinning too close to a forest fire or a whirl created from too much heat in the area
  • a fire rainbow (above left) is extremely rare: it occurs only when the sun is high, allowing light to pass through high-altitude cirrus clouds with a high content of ice crystals
  • ball lightning is lightning that moves much slower than normal, could be as large as 8 ft. in diameter, and can cause great damage
  • sprites (above right), jet, and elves are cores, glows, and discharges that appear in regions near thunderstorms

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Watermelon Snow


Snow Rollers


  • “watermelon snow” (above left) is green algae containing secondary red carotenoid pigment and chlorophyll
  • “snow rollers” are rare, large snowballs formed naturally as chunks of snow are blown by wind
  • highest snowfall ever recorded was 1224 inches in one-year period
  • On April 4, 1986, Bangladesh was hit by the biggest hailstones ever recorded–1 kg each–killing 92 people


Belgrade – Thousands of tiny frogs rained on a town in northwestern Serbia, Belgrade daily Blic reported on Tuesday.

Strong winds brought storm clouds over Odzaci, 120km north-west of Belgrade, on Sunday afternoon, but instead of rain, down came the tiny amphibians, witnesses said.

“I saw countless frogs fall from the sky,” said Odzaci resident Aleksandar Ciric.

The frogs, different from those usually seen in the area, survived the fall and hopped around in search of water.

Belgrade climatologist Slavisa Ignjatovic described the phenomenon as “not very unusual”.

“A wind resembling a tornado can suck in anything light enough from the surface or shallow water. Usually it is just dust, but sometimes also larger objects,”

The story on “fish falling from the sky” in Agusan del Sur was generally met with disbelief across social networking sites. Some Facebook users, however, offered possible explanations – ranging from logical to supernatural.

Some said the fish might have fallen from a passing aircraft. Yet some believed the incident was a sign that the world is coming to an end.

But fish falling from the sky is not supernatural nor is it doomsday’s beckoning. It actually has a name: Lluvia de Peces.

Residents of Loreto town in Agusan del Sur experienced this phenomenon when dozens of 3-inch-long mudfish rained on them. PAGASA-Butuan Chief Engr. Lolit Binalay told Bombo Radyo a similar incident had happened in Lake Mainit in Agusan del Norte a few years back.

The same thing happened to a village in Powys, Wales in 2004  and to Folsom, California in 2006, among reported others.

How does it happen? Whirlwinds over water develop into waterspouts and become a swirling force that can suck in almost anything of the water’s content: fish, eels, and even frogs.

According to American scientist Nilton Renno, fish can “fly” into the sky along with the waterspout. He told Scienceline.org that “even if the waterspout stops spinning, the fish in the cloud can be carried over land, buffeted up and down and around.”

Loreto residents said they were surprised by the phenomenon because the sea and the river are far from their place. But according to Renno, fish can “swim” in the clouds and reach places until the wind can no longer support its flight, and that’s when they come down.

The fish are sometimes taken so high into the atmosphere that they land dead.

Seventy-two of the fish that fell on Agusan del Sur survived the “journey” and were placed by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources personnel in an aquarium for experts to study.

The Philippines may not hear of it often as it is an uncommon phenomenon.  But ‘fish rains’ have been reported for centuries.

According to a BBC report, “fish are the most common thing to have rained down on you – other than rain itself, of course.” People have heard of frogs, tomatoes, and lumps of coals falling from the sky in few bizarre instances.

So, if fish or frogs are forecasted bring your nets and of course a hard hat.  Up in the air imagine a pilot seeing a school of fish swimming by in the clouds!

Weather wise for SW Michigan:

High pressure will bring fair weather through the weekend. A cold front will move through on Monday and colder weather with lake effect snow can be expected by Wednesday.

Unseasonably mild wx will continue through Monday in a strong southerly flow warm air advection pattern out ahead of the approaching cold front. A few showers may develop as early as late Sunday night with a better chance for showers Monday through Monday night along and out ahead of the front.

The big wx pattern change will begin Tuesday in a nw flow caa pattern that will result in falling temperatures through the day. However it will turn much colder Tuesday night after passage of the arctic cold front. It will be quite cold by Wednesday through late week as the upper trough digs and amplifies over the eastern CONUS.

In fact high temps by Wednesday through Friday will struggle to reach the upper 20`s to lower 30`s. Lake effect snow showers will develop Tuesday night and continue mid to late week as h8 temps plummet to -14 to -16 C. A series of upper level disturbances and clipper system moving in from the northwest will enhance snow showers at times. It is still far too early to get into too many specifics but the evolution of the synoptic pattern will be conducive to accumulating lake effect snow for portions of our area mid to late week.


Today: Mostly sunny, with a high near 48. Calm wind becoming southwest 5 to 9 mph in the afternoon.

Tonight: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 31. South wind 3 to 6 mph.

Saturday: Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 49. South wind 7 to 9 mph.

Saturday Night: Mostly clear, with a low around 32. Southwest wind 3 to 7 mph.

Sunday: Sunny, with a high near 49. Light and variable wind.

Sunday Night: A 40 percent chance of showers after 2am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 39.

Monday: Showers likely, mainly between 8am and 2pm. Cloudy, with a high near 55. Chance of precipitation is 60%.

Monday Night: Showers likely, mainly after 8pm. Cloudy, with a low around 40.

Tuesday: Showers likely, mainly before 8am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 45.

Tuesday Night: A slight chance of rain and snow showers between 8pm and midnight, then a chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 29.

Wednesday: A chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 33.

Wednesday Night: Snow showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 26.

Thursday: Snow showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 33.

The first model below (CFSv2) shows the cold air hanging around to the end of the year with a really cold blast coming in around the 26th.  The second is the GFS through the 10th  showing our drop from the 50s on Tuesday into the 30s.  To early to predict snowfall amounts but I would say it would be a good idea to get out the snow shovels and check out the snowblowers…


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Our first snow advisories and warnings coming to a town near you stay tuned! INDYDOG!


What a beautiful warm day and a beautiful warm weekend upcoming! The upcoming CPC looks cold and dry.

With the exception of Petoskey, all of Michigan is well below average in the snow department already. I love these short winters we’ve been having lately.

ROCKY (Rockford)
ROCKY (Rockford)
ROCKY (Rockford)
ROCKY (Rockford)

Check out the UP and NWL!


Chief Steffens talked about the polar vortex last night around the end of December wow we could be in for a cold Winter this year!! INDYDOG!!

ROCKY (Rockford)
ROCKY (Rockford)

Who would have thought? And just think there are still some people saying we might have a winter like last year! We have exactly a ZERO percent chance of having a winter like last year!


Climatology for today December 1st At Grand Rapids, MI Average H/L 30 year average 40/28. 120 year average 38.5/26.1° Record high 65° in 1970 record lowest maximum 17° in 1896 Record low +6° in 1976 recorded warmest minimum 53 in 1913 Most pricip 0.86” in 2006 of that 2.5” was reported as snow. Most snow fall for the date 5” in 2010 most on the ground 10” in 1940 BTW in in September and October of 1898 the temperature at Kansas City (the closest site where reading go back to 1898) and here in GR reached into the upper 80’s… Read more »


Nice write up on some interesting and fun events Welcome to December and the start of winter 2017/18. Looking back at November 2017 there are a few interesting weather events that are worth mentioning. One is the for the month Grand Rapids, MI only recorded 0.2” of snow fall going back to 1896 there only have been 12 other Novembers where Grand Rapids recorded 0.2” or less of snow fall so this will be the 13th With a mean temperature of 38.6° this year is one of the colder Novembers with such low snow fall. With only 1905 and 1907… Read more »