Remember the days when January in West Michigan meant snow, cold, ice, tough driving, bundling up, and everything else you can think of associated with being deep in the heart of winter? All of that has pretty much just been a thought, with the exception of a few light snow showers and light accumulations here and there over the past two months. We’ve only picked up a little more than seven inches of snow in GR so far, a whopping 23 inches below normal for this time of year…this time of season.
Other than a light dusting to an inch Saturday night into Sunday, winter will continue to be placed on the back burner for the next several days. Our forecast models are indicating that a warming trend will commence as we progress through next week. We’ll start off in the upper 30s/near 40 Monday and Tuesday, but may be experiencing highs in the mid/upper 40s by weeks end. A southwesterly flow will develop through the week and the traditionally colder polar jetstream (the river of high level fast-moving winds) will remain north of the area. Our forecast models show a relatively quiet pattern from Monday through most of Thursday with some sunshine. By Thursday night into Friday, a strong low pressure system is forecast to track out of Texas and into the Great Lakes. That said, it appears (again) that Michigan will be on the warm side of this system with primarily rain in the forecast for late in the week.
Take a look at the position of this low according to one of our long-range computer forecast models. You’ll notice the outline of the United States and all the purple/blue/green on the map is potential accumulated precipitation. Notice the “H” over the Great Lakes…high pressure keeping us dry, and the “L” over Arkansas. The image is valid for Thursday morning. The low will track northeast into the Great Lakes and likely produce rain late on Thursday and into Friday. A low pressure system on that track will also generate temps into the 40s with winds from the south/west. Here’s the position of the low Thursday evening. This map is a little bigger, but shows the storm system to our south and west over Missouri. This track is warm enough to produce rain, not snow.
A similar low pressure area and track is also showing up for Saturday night into Sunday. It’s still pretty far out, so it may change. That too, may be a rain maker for Michigan instead of a snow maker. Make sure to stay tuned to later forecasts! Things can always change, but it is unlikely we see winter return over the next several days with any appreciable snowfall and temps warming into the 40s.
The attached photo was submitted by John Pulaski, taken in Pinery Park in Wyoming, Michigan. He was out with his daughters trying to get some quality sledding in, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult as not much of a base remains on most surfaces and hills. Most ski areas will likely find it difficult to keep a fair amount of snow around as we progress through these warmer temperatures the next several days. You can always check the West Michigan forecast at www.fox17online.com/weather.