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Active Weather Pattern Expected From the Midwest to the Southern Plains; Dangerous Heat Likely in Southern Texas

A strong storm system will bring numerous to widespread severe thunderstorms across portions of the Midwest and Upper Great Lakes Tuesday. Tornadoes (a few strong), damaging winds and large hail are expected. Record high temperatures will be possible over southern Texas the next several days. This may lead to dangerous heat concerns especially for areas already without power. Read More >

Back to Main Page Storm Warning: Advancements in Marine Forecasting since the Edmund Fitzgerald
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Observation Network

Map of current buoy and CMAN observations across the Western Great Lakes available from the National Data Buoy CenterThere were no buoy or C-MAN observations available in 1975. Currently, there are nearly 30 observation platforms across Lake Superior, including those from the National Weather Service, National Ocean Service, Michigan Tech University, Northern Michigan University and Environment Canada.

(Image courtesy of the National Data Buoy Center)






History of Observations

One of the most important improvements in marine technology since 1975 is the significant increase in the number of real-time observations. In 1975, there were no data buoys on the Great Lakes, nor any data from automated stations. The only real-time observations available to the mariner were shore and ship reports. The main method by whiche the commercial mariner obtained observations in 1975 was via VHF voice radio. Typically, a mate on a boat would tune in to the Coast Guard frequently to get up to date observations. The mates would then plot these observations on a map for the area of interest, essentially creating their own weather surface chart.

Expansion of Observations

The observation system on the Great Lakes began to dramatically improve in 1979 as eight data buoys measuring wind speed and direction, and wave height were dispersed in the water. This was a direct response to the Edmund Fitzgerald disaster. Additional weather equipment was also added to some of the Great Lakes lighthouses in 1983. This network of stations, which measure wind direction and speeds, air temperature, and surface pressure, is known as the Coastal Marine Automated Network (CMAN). From 2003-2015, numerous nearshore weather stations were added across the Great Lakes by the National Weather Service, National Ocean Service, Great Lakes Envionrmental Research Laboratory, and several universities. These new stations further enhance the understanding of the marine weather environment across the Great Lakes.

Select Buoy and C-MAN stations across Lake Superior

Central Lake Superior Buoy   45001
Eastern Lake Superior Buoy   45004
Western Lake Superior Buoy   45006
Canadian Lake Superior Buoy   45136
Devil's Island, Wisconsin   DISW3
Passage Island, Michigan   PILM4
Rock of Ages, Michigan   ROAM4
Stannard Rock, Michigan   STDM4
Grand Marais, MI   GRMM4
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