There are plenty of people waiting patiently for winter to begin here in West Michigan. We’ve had less snowfall this year than we did last year…and we all know how mild it was in 2011-2012. The change back to winter occurs THIS WEEKEND! Wind and Arctic air are about to invade the Great Lakes and set-up shop for several days.
The National Weather Service has posted a WIND ADVISORY for the entire area from 7:00 PM Saturday evening through 9:00 AM Sunday morning. We can expect winds to ramp up overnight from the west at 20 to 30 mph sustained, with gusts of 45 inland and 50 or better at the lakeshore. Make sure to tie down any loose items like furniture and trash cans. The NWS has also posted a WINTER STORM WATCH for the lakeshore counties of Oceana, Muskegon, Ottawa, Allegan, Van Buren, and also Kalamazoo Counties. It does not go into effect until Sunday evening, and will remain in effect through Monday afternoon. Locations in those counties have the potential of more than six inches of snow through the period as Arctic air pours over Lake Michigan and starts the lake-effect snow making machine in high gear…for really the first time this year!
A northwest wind will favor our lakeshore counties for the heaviest snow, while those further inland and east of U.S. 131 can expect much lighter amounts on the order of one to three or two to four inches. While air temperatures on Saturday reached the mid 40s, temps will plummet overnight and the frigid airmass will remain entrenched over the Great Lakes for most of next week. I would also expect to see widespread ice forming on area rivers. This could create ice jams and localized flooding as ice builds and shifts from time to time. Those living along river banks should stay up on later forecasts for possible flooding information.
The attached photo is a snapshot from our FOX 17 FutureTrack HD computer forecast model at 6:00 PM on Monday. Arctic air and lake-effect are expected to still be delivering accumulating snows through the time period. Unfortunately, salt on the roadways will have only minimal affect around the area when temps fall below 17 degrees. Make sure to allow extra time for the Monday and Tuesday morning commutes. Get the entire West Michigan forecast, including temperatures, satellite, and radar at www.fox17online.com/weather.