Muddy Waters Over Southern Lake Michigan - Updated With Animation

Huge Waves Stir Up Silt, Sediment
Over Southern Lake Michigan

The intense northerly winds that blew through the Great Lakes region late last week, caused the silt in the southern portion of Lake Michigan to become churned up, increasing the lake turbidity to extremely high levels.  The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA's Terra polar orbiting satellite captured this high resolution image over Lake Michigan around noon on Sunday, October 2, 2011.  Note how the "muddy" waters get caught in the currents moving through the lake.  Go here for daily MODIS imagery


MODIS imagery

The animation below shows the evolution of the "silt plume" over a four day period,from Oct 1 through Oct 4, 2011

4 day loop of silt
(click for larger animation)

The images below show the intensity of the wind and waves late Thursday into Friday, September 29-30, 2011.  The graphs show recorded conditions at buoy 45007 (east southeast of Milwaukee and labeled in the image above.) Waves reached 23 feet with winds speeds approaching 40 knots (46 mph.)    


Wave Heights

Wind Speed

Wind Gusts

The next image is courtesy of National Weather Service Chicago, it is an estimate of the peak wave heights across Lake Michigan during that event.  Check out their story about the winds and waves!




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