Last Thursday and Friday, a massive winter storm, dubbed by The Weather Channel as “Hercules,” brought impressive snowfall and frigid temperatures to much of the Northeast and Midwest. Although the storm wreaked havoc on commutes and holiday travel plans, it did provide for some fun and funny photo opportunities. Below, we’ve compiled the best photos of Winter Storm Hercules from around the internet. Enjoy!
The following post is the latest installment of an ongoing series here at the Backyard Geographer documenting seasonal ice formations on Lake Michigan. For previous coverage, see parts 1 and 2 from 2009-2011, and parts 3, 4, 5, and 6 from winter 2012-2013.
The following series of pictures was taken on January 27, 2013. The air temperature is in the high 20s after similar conditions yesterday. Lake Michigan water temperature is about 37⁰F.
Even with air temperatures below freezing, water temperatures above freezing are winning the battle at the shoreline. The impressive 12-foot tall ridge at the waterline only three days ago has melted back to leave these remnants stranded offshore by open water.
Signs of ice demise are everywhere. The right side of this ice volcano is collapsing as relatively warm water melts the ice walls of the volcano’s plumbing system. One slab has collapsed forming the window through which the lake can be seen. The large block forming the ice bridge seems on the brink of collapse due to developing cracks.
Temperatures are forecast to reach well into the 50s in a few days. Time will tell if any ice remain until the next cold snap predicted for later in the week.
Over the next few days we’ll be posting installments of an ongoing series here at the Backyard Geographer documenting winter ice formation on Lake Michigan. For previous coverage, see parts 1 and 2 from 2009-2011, and parts 3, 4, and 5 from winter 2012-2013.
The following series of pictures was taken on January 24, 2013. The air temperature on this morning was 10⁰F following several days of temperatures well below freezing. Lake Michigan water temperature is still about 37⁰F.
Frigid air temperatures, an abundance of floating ice chunks and onshore winds has caused shore ice to grow rapidly. The ice shelf now generally extends anywhere from about 100 to 200 feet from the shore.
This extinct ice volcano (the same as in the last photo) rises about 5 feet above the general ice surface. The ridge at the water’s edge about 75 feet in the distance is close to 12 feet high.
In synchrony with the encroaching swells, this hole in the ice periodically…
…erupts with a surge of spray, slush and ice chunks reaching about 10 feet into the air.
Between eruptions, the water/sand mixture darkening the surface drains away and a fresh supply of ice chunks freeze to the flanks of the volcano, causing it to grow up and out.
text and images by Steve Jansen
Over the next few days we’ll be posting installments of an ongoing series here at the Backyard Geographer documenting winter ice formation on Lake Michigan. For previous coverage, see parts 1 and 2 from 2009-2011, and parts 3 and 4 from winter 2012-2013.
The following series of pictures was taken on January 22, 2013. The air temperature on this morning was 8⁰F following several days of below freezing temperatures. Lake Michigan water temperature is about 37⁰F.
This picture was taken from the bluff overlooking Lake Michigan in Langdon Park. Immediately below the bluff is a stretch of frozen sand, then a strip of shore ice varying in width from about 50 to 150 feet, followed by a stretch of open water and breaking waves, and floating ice perhaps ½ mile offshore below the deck of clouds at the horizon. With the water temperature only a few degrees above freezing and the air temperature well below freezing, any water thrown up on the shore solidifies in the air or upon contact with the surface causing the ice to grow out into and over the lake.
This range of extinct ice volcanoes stretches southward about 50 feet off the sandy shore. They were formed when the developing ice shelf edge was near this position. The edge of the ice shelf is about 50 feet further out into the lake now. As the ice front grows out over the lake, ice volcanoes that were once active become cut off from the supply of water at the liquid/frozen interface.
Here is the view looking down into the vent of one of the extinct ice volcanos in the previous view. The vent pipe extends down about four feet to a frozen plug.
Here is an ice volcano spouting near the edge of the ice shelf. This active ice volcano is connected to the open water of the lake by an under-ice plumbing system. Each wave reaching the ice front causes the plumbing system to pressurize, spouting slush into the air. The slush cools further in the cold air and freezes in place upon contact with the ice front. If temperatures stay low, the volcano will continue to grow in height and breadth until the ice front advances far enough out into the lake that the plumbing system becomes cut off from its supply of partially-frozen slush. Each ice volcano sews the seeds of its own extinction as it grows.
The origin of this this large and level platform of nearly circular plates of ice separated by raised rings of crunchy ice was a mystery to me until I returned the next day to spot a clue. I found similarly sized and shaped ice sheets riding the surf and crashing into the ice front. These also had raised edges, probably from jostling against each other in the swells. Five days later I found similar chunks filling the outer parts of Wilmette harbor. Perhaps this deposit formed under calm and cold conditions when the floating ice plates froze into a solid mass.
*update* The formations in the picture above are known as pancake ice. Dimensions of the pancake ice platform estimated to be 250′ x 75′.
text and images by Steve Jansen