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By: Madeline Rae , 5:58 PM GMT on November 11, 2016
Residents of Spyglass, a 64-unit condominium association in Holland, Michigan don’t have much of a view. Unless, of course, you count the majestic Lake Michigan with it’s glistening shore and waves breaking down by the pier.
Standing on the shore by Spyglass, one can’t even see the end of Lake Michigan. That’s because it’s over 22,000 square miles in area. This large body of water has a pronounced influence on West Michigan’s weather, particularly on the town of Holland. (There is also Lake Macatawa, a smaller lake, only about 2.8 square miles in area, which sits directly behind the Spyglass condos and can also impact weather patterns.)
But because Spyglass is situated on a dune right at Lake Michigan’s shore, residents - not to mention those maintaining the condos - often deal with more significant weather concerns than their inland neighbors. In fact, weather on the shoreline was so different than the “official” Holland forecast coming from just a mile or two inland that around 1999, the residents of Spyglass decided to set up their own personal weather station (PWS).
They figured there had to be other people interested in the weather at the lakefront, so they soon connected their PWS to Weather Underground to share their weather information with the community. Now their station, and accompanying webcam, are used by boaters, fishermen, beachgoers, tourists and meteorologists on a daily basis.
Wind seems to be the biggest concern for all looking at the Spyglass PWS - for better or worse. Kitesurfers and sailboat owners monitor the winds to see when the best time is to get out on the lake.
Residents of Spyglass monitor the wind particularly because of the potentially damaging winds that gain strength when crossing the lake. These high pressured winds have nowhere to go when they hit shore except up, so they rip up the dunes, making it especially important for the condo association to constantly keep the windows and buildings in top shape so they don’t suffer any wind damage. (They’ve assured me, “So far, so good!”)
Even the 9-to-5ers stuck in an office all day monitor the wind at Spyglass. While they sit at their desks wishing they were outside, these workers pull up the webcam to watch the views along Holland State Park and see the waves lapping on the shore. The Spyglass PWS gets repeat viewers from all over the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, the U.K., India and Argentina.
“Spyglass is a very interesting and beautiful place to live,” says Sally Carr, resident of Spyglass Condominiums, “and being able to monitor the weather right on the lake shore is something everyone loves, whether they live here or far away. The weather station is something everyone loves!”
Check out the data from Spyglass Condominiums’ PWS and don’t forget to lose yourself in their webcam!
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The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.