WEST MICHIGAN – While Sunday was a very enjoyable day with a mixture of clouds and sunshine, Monday promises to be more of the same. However, the winds of change are expected to blow some accumulating snow in Michigan on Tuesday. Preliminarily, it appears as if the heaviest snow will fall to the west, southwest, and south of Grand Rapids.
Right now a swath of winter storm watches, warnings, and advisories are in effect across the Northern Plains all the way south and east in to Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois. Click here to see the map. While Michigan is officially NOT under any alert yet, that will likely change as we get a little closer to the event. Expect the National Weather Service to issue a winter storm watch and eventually upgrade to either a warning or advisory by Tuesday.
The snow is being produced by what we refer to as a double barrel low pressure system. One low coming in from the north, another coming in from the southwest. These two will merge (and create one main low) and winds will increase along with a heavy, wet, high moisture content snow (like the last snowfall we had). It is expected to develop on Tuesday and continue through the evening and at least part of the overnight hours. Most of the accumulating snow will be finished by Wednesday morning across the area.
The attached snapshot from our FOX 17 computer forecast model we call FutureTrack HD is showing the highest totals setting up outside the Grand Rapids metro area, mainly west and southwest. This set-up actually coincides very nicely with the watches and warnings that have already been issued for states to our west on a slant or diagonal configuration…see the warning link. Remember, if the actual track of the low pressure system changes, the amount of snow will change as well. I’ve already seen the track become further north from what it was Saturday evening…now bringing more snow a little further north to Grand Rapids.
Make sure not get hung up on the exact snowfall totals from the model. It is only meant to give us an idea or ballpark figure of what may or could fall. As a meteorologist, I generally consult several forecast models and tend to either take an average of snow totals, or at least lean toward the more reliable and consistent of all of them. That said, I believe Ottawa, Kent, and Ionia Counties (Grand Rapids and vicinity) may see about one to three inches of snow. Areas north and east of Grand Rapids will likely only see an inch or less. From Holland and across our southern counties (South Haven/Kalamazoo/Battle Creek) we are expecting about three to six inches with some locally higher amounts possible.
Take a look at one of our other forecast models for Tuesday evening. Notice the “L” over Ohio with all of the purple and dark blue over Michigan. It clearly shows the heaviest precipitation setting up to the south of Grand Rapids. Remember, a change in the track of the low will change the heaviest snow, so stay tuned to later forecasts.
You can always get more information, including the 7-day, radar, satellite, and temperatures by going to www.fox17online.com/weather.