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Northern Lights predicted for Michigan tonight!

via leelanau.com

Aurora Borealis ... over 'the Narrows'

Aurora Borealis … over ‘the Narrows’ by Ken Scott

The NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center:

CME on the way…Want to see the Northern Lights?

We have completed initial analysis of the CME associated with today’s X1 (NOAA Scale – R3) solar flare from Region 1944 (center disk) and have developed a forecast for a geoeffective event. Despite the CME not coming directly at Earth, a partial impact to the magnetic field that protects Earth is expected and a resulting geomagnetic storm as high as G3 (strong) levels is forecast to begin early to midday (UTC) on Thursday, 9 January (just after midnight to early morning hours EST).

It looks like we will have clearing late so you might want to set a 5 AM alarm! They also say that Friday night there’s a chance of aurora if we get clouded out! More aurora info at Space Weather.

You can view Ken’s photo bigger on Flickr and also check out an awesome time lapse from the October 2013 Northern Lights below!

Michigan in Pictures 8 Year Anniversary

I remember 8 years ago

I remember 8 years ago… by MightyBoyBrian

Every day except Sunday, the Absolute Michigan homepage features publisher Andrew McFarlane’s personal photo blog, Michigan in Pictures. The daily blog started on December 30, 2005 and has featured 2,494 photos of and from the Great Lakes State.

Here are some ways to share your photos if you’d like to be a part of it all:

Definitely head over to Michigan in Pictures and subscribe or like the Facebook page for a daily dose of Michigan!

Harvesting Michigan Beechnuts

Absolute Michigan is excited to share this article about a tasty treat you can find in the woods right now courtesy of the new eatdrinkTC website from Traverse City, Michigan. The site is dedicated to Traverse City’s exploding culinary scene and has a lot of great features including business listings, cooking classes, specials and great features like this one!

by Laura Herd, eatdrinkTC

Beechnut-in-shellI’ve been eating beechnuts off of the forest floor for as long as I can remember. I like to roast them and eat them on their own as a treat, so this season I collected a few extra beechnuts to bring back to my kitchen. Read on for lots of beech nut facts, videos and a photo gallery and how to prepare a tasty snack!

From the Hiker’s Notebook:

Beechnuts are encased in a woody husk that is covered with spines, each containing  two irregularly triangular shiny brown edible nuts. They are only produced after the beech has reached the age of about 40 years; annual beechnut production ramps up at this point to reach maximum yields after at about the 60 year point. 

Seeking Michigan: The Dickens of Detroit

This article originally appeared on Absolute Michigan October 11, 2011.

Seeking MichiganBy Randy Riley, Library of Michigan and courtesy Seeking Michigan and the Archives of Michigan. The goal of Seeking Michigan is simple: to connect you to the stories of this great state. Visit them regularly for a dynamic & evolving look at Michigan’s cultural heritage and read more from Seeking Michigan on Absolute Michigan!
Elmore Leonard, The Dickens of Detroit

Elmore Leonard, The Dickens of Detroit

Detroit author Elmore Leonard is celebrating his eighty-sixth birthday today (October 11, 2011). Leonard was born in New Orleans in 1925. He has made the Detroit area his home since 1934, when his family moved there. The city of Detroit often serves as the main character in his novels. As a result, fans often refer to Elmore Leonard as the ‘Dickens of Detroit.”

Leonard graduated from University of Detroit Jesuit High School in 1943. He then immediately joined the Navy, where he served with the Seabees. After his service, he enrolled at the University of Detroit and graduated in 1950 with a degree in English and Philosophy. Leonard started his writing career as a copywriter at the Campbell-Ewald Advertising Agency. Writing on the side, he was able to publish his first novel, The Bounty Hunters in 1953. In his early career, he focused on writing pulp Westerns, because that was what was selling at the time. Leonard eventually moved on to specialize in crime fiction and suspense thrillers. A large number of his books have been turned into movies or television programs.

Critics praise Leonard for his effective use of dialogue and the gritty realism in his books. His unique ear for dialogue and the ability to capture it on the page is rarely matched. Concise and plot driven, his stories are stuffed with colorful characters and tricky, often humorous plot twists. “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it,” serves as Leonard’s writing mantra. He explains his success when advising aspiring writers by stating, “Try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip.” Stephen King has called him “the great American writer.”

Among Leonard’s best known works are Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Mr. Majestyk, LaBrava, Rum Punch, Freaky Deaky and Killshot. In 2010, his short story “Fire In the Hole’ was the basis for the television series Justified. The Library of Michigan owns all of Leonard’s works in their Michigan Collection. Search ANSWER, the Library’s online catalog to locate works by Elmore Leonard.

Sources for this article include the WMRA Public Radio Blog and you can learn more about Elmore Leonard at his web site.

You can check out a video where Elmore Leonard’s shares his tips for writers, but we’ll start you off with part 1 of a 4 part feature on Elmore Leonard from Emery King’s World Class Detroiters. Here’s part 2, part 3 and part 4!

Walking on the Beach with Loreen Niewenhuis

“I’d rather do 20 miles on soft sand than 10 miles on the side of the road. There is something about being where water meets land. I feel very clicked-in there. I feel like I can go forever.”

~Loreen Niewenhuis

USA Today has a feature on Loreen Niewenhuis, a Battle Creek resident who has hiked a good deal of the shorelines of all the Great Lakes. As to why, she explains:

“Our older son had gone off to college. The nest was emptying. I’d gotten my” master’s of fine arts degree … “but I felt I could stack up novels and not have an agent and be in my office writing novels forever,” says Niewenhuis, 49. “So I thought, let me do something completely different and get out of my office.”

So she put on her hiking boots. She got out the office.

Boy, did she ever.

Click through to read more about her journey and what she learned along the way. You can keep up with Lorraine’s latest including a planned walk on 1000 of Michigan islands on her Facebook page and at laketrek.com.

This photo is “Footprints”, Twelvemile Beach, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore by Michigan Nut. Twelve Mile is certainly one of the state’s best beaches. See John’s photo out on black and see more in his My Favorites slideshow.

Lakes MichiganHuronSuperior & Erie? Michigan in Pictures has them and all kinds of beach photos!

Invasive Lobsters overrun Lake Michigan Coast

EMPIRE, MICHIGAN APRIL 1, 2013 – Residents of the sleepy Michigan shoreline villages of Empire, Glen Arbor and Leland were surprised as they awoke to see the Lake Michigan beach covered with the latest Great Lakes invasive species to threaten our shores, lobsters.

Dr. Molly Trapp, director of Michigan Sea Grant’s new Invasive Species Rapid Response team (ISRR), is heading the team and was one of the first to arrive on the scene. “There are a variety of ways that invasive species enter the Great Lakes,” Dr. Trapp explained. “Many come in in ballast water of freighters are are dumped, while others are pets that people release when they can no longer care for them. That’s likely what happened here, and I just wish people would think a little bit before they take on the responsibility of an exotic pet.”

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Under Superintendent in Charge of Beach Security, Stan Daround offered comment as well, “We want to assure everyone that we remain the most beautiful place in America despite this crustacean invasion. Park staff is working on a plan to combat this menace.”

lobster-dinnerWhile Mr. Daraound was unable to provide specifics, he offered that the Park would probably be asking for “a lot of bibs and some of those claw cracker things” in their emergency appropriation request.

The village of Empire, already overtaxed preparing for their annual Asparagus Festival next month, has called all residents to an emergency eating in the Empire Town Hall at 6 PM.

Area resident Michael Buhler offered a simple plea: “Send butter.”

For more on invasive species in the Great Lakes (including actual facts) visit Michigan Sea Grant’s Invasive Species pages.

The impact of record low Great Lakes levels

This post originally appeared on Michigan in Pictures.

Low water levels, West Arm Grand Traverse BayOn Michigan in Pictures I usually blog beautiful things, but today I’m featuring an ugly thing that we in Michigan should all be concerned about. Traverse City based Circle of Blue has an in-depth feature on the record-low level of Lake Michigan-Huron:

The latest numbers released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on February 5 show that both lakes Michigan and Huron — which are two connected lakes — are experiencing their lowest point since records began in 1918. Water levels were an average of 175.57 meters (576.02 feet) for the month of January, approximately 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) lower than the previous record set in 1964.

“Not only have water levels on Michigan-Huron broken records the past two months, but they have been very near record lows for the last several months before then,” said John Allis, chief of the Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office at the Corps, in a press release. “Lake Michigan-Huron’s water levels have also been below average for the past 14 years, which is the longest period of sustained below-average levels since 1918 for that lake.”

The low water levels, which the Corps attributes to: below-average snowfall during the winter of 2011-2012, last summer’s drought, and above-average evaporation during the summer and fall of 2012, have the potential to hurt the Great Lakes’ shipping industry.

…For the water levels on Lake Michigan-Huron to reach even near-average water levels again, the Corps said it will take many seasons with above average precipitation and below-average evaporation.

Read on at Circle of Blue for much more including the struggles that wildlife are having with the changing climate. You can also view the release from the Army Corps of Engineers and see historic Great Lakes levels back to 1918. From the Army Corps, I learned that at 1 1/2 ft below normal, ships are losing 8-10% of their carrying capacity.

Beyond harm to the multi-billion dollar shipping industry which feeds countless industrial endeavors, the low lake levels are making many of our recreational harbors inaccessible. These feed our multi-billion dollar sport fishing industry and  this has prompted Gov. Snyder to endorse a $21 million emergency dredging plan, $11 million of which would come from Michigan’s general fund. With over a half a million jobs in Michigan alone tied to the health of the Great Lakes, getting a handle on the threats that impact them are likely to be at the center of our policy and spending for a long time.

In a curious bit of synchronicity, you can see just how vital the Great Lakes are to Michigan in Michigan Sea Grant’s reports on Economic Vitality and the Great Lakes. View this photo bigger and see more in their Grand Traverse Bay Low Water slideshow.

Lots more Lake Huron and Lake Michigan on Michigan in Pictures.

Cold enough for ya?

Blindfold 2XA friend & Michigan expatriate sent me the Michigan Temperature Conversion Chart. I thought it might be nice to pair with some photos, and also that you might enjoy COLD, as performed by the Absolute Michigan Pool.

I’m told that sculptor Jim Gavril of East Lansing deserves the credit for the chart! Click the photos to view them bigger!

28/365/1489 (July 9, 2012) - Squirrel Pancake at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor)@ +70 degrees

Texans turn on the heat and unpack the thermal underwear.
People in Michigan go swimming in the rivers.

Future Garden@ +60 degrees

North Carolinians try to turn on the heat.
People in Michigan plant gardens.

Dwarfed by the giant crane@ +50 degrees

Californians shiver uncontrollably.
People in Michigan sunbathe.

Fly By@ +40 degrees

Italian & English cars won’t start.
People in Michigan drive with the windows down.

Fozen Odyssey ... Lake Michigan January 2007 color version@ +32 degrees

Distilled water freezes.
Lake Michigan water gets thicker.

Brothers in Arms@ +20 degrees

Floridians put on coats, thermal underwear, gloves and woolly hats.
People in Michigan throw on a flannel shirt.

Not Gonna Grill No More@ +15 degrees

Philadelphia landlords finally turn up the heat.
People in Michigan have the last cookout before it gets cold.

N. State St.@ +10 degrees

People in Miami all die.
People in Michigan lick the flagpole.

winter morning ritual@ 0 degrees

Californians fly away to Mexico.
People in Michigan get out their winter coats.

Zero degree windchill@ -10 degrees

Hollywood disintegrates.
The Girl Scouts in Michigan are selling cookies door to door.

Walk in the Woods@ -25 degrees

Polar bears begin to evacuate the Arctic.
Michigan Boy Scouts postpone “Winter Survival” classes until it gets cold enough.

No Better Artist than Mother Nature@ -30 degrees

Mount St. Helen’s freezes.
People in Michigan rent some videos.

Drunken Fools@ -40 degrees

Santa Claus abandons the North Pole.
Spartans get frustrated because they can’t thaw the keg.

Curious cows@ -45 degrees

Microbial life no longer survives on dairy products.
Cows in Michigan complain about farmers with cold hands.

Winter Surfing!@ -60 degrees

ALL atomic motion stops (absolute zero in the Kelvin scale).
People in Michigan start saying, “Cold ’nuff for ya?”

Hell Froze Over!!!@ -100 degrees

Hell freezes over.
The Detroit Lions win the Super Bowl!

Photo Links…

Michigan’s Economy Hits 10 Year High

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) reports that Michigan’s economy has reached a 10-year high, according to Comerica Bank’s Michigan Economic Activity Index. The June index jumped 2.0 points in June, spiking to a level of 105.9 – its highest level since 2002. The index has averaged 102 points over the first half of 2012, 11 points above the index average for all of 2011.

“The Michigan economy pushed further ahead in June, with our Michigan Economic Activity Index up strongly for the second month,” said Robert Dye, Chief Economist at Comerica Bank. “The rate of job creation has slowed over the first two quarters of the year as U.S. auto sales have plateaued around a 14 million unit annual sales rate in 2012. But outside of durable goods manufacturing, we are seeing ongoing gains. Housing markets statewide are improving as sales and prices increase. New home construction remains low, but is expected to increase to meet pent up demand.”

The Michigan Economic Activity Index consists of seven variables: nonfarm payrolls, exports, sales tax revenues, hotel occupancy rates, continuing claims for unemployment insurance, building permits, and motor vehicle production. All data are seasonally adjusted, as necessary, and indexed to a base year of 2004.

According to the Michigan Association of Realtors, the number of single family homes sold in Michigan rose 14 percent in July compared to one year earlier. The July 2012 average sales price was $116,116, a 6.55 percent increase over the 2011.

Overall, Michigan is leading the country in economic recovery, according to the Detroit News. The dropping unemployment rate, upswing in home sales and increase in consumer spending are all evidence of a positive outlook for the Great Lakes state.

Michigan is the 2nd fastest warming state

Old Barn by big_cat7575
Old Barn by big_cat7575

The Great Lakes Echo reports that the first five months of 2012 were the warmest on record for many Great Lakes cities:

Folks around the Great Lakes are around or within one of the most unusual temperature episodes that we’ve seen in the U.S. since we’ve been keeping track of things,” Arndt said.

The unusually high temperatures in March caused fruits and vegetables in the region to start growing earlier. Unfortunately, the frost that followed the early spring start caused serious economic problems for farmers. Michigan lost 80 percent of its sweet cherry crop and 90 percent of its tart cherries because of the weird weather.

Over the past 43 years, Michigan is the second fastest warming state in the country, according to a map from Climate Central, a nonprofit news and research organization that analyzes and reports on climate science. It used data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to make the comparison.

…The data center also measured the unusualness of the temperature hikes for 2012, making it easier for people to understand how drastic the changes are. The unusualness is based on how much each city’s 2012 temperature deviates from its long-term average.

Muskegon, Mich. has the highest unusualness rating of the Great Lakes record breakers at 3.6 and has an average temperature of 44.7 degrees for 2012.

Read on for much more including some graphs and also see our coverage of the extreme March 2012 Heatwave.