WEST MICHIGAN — It’s certainly not what we want to hear…wind chills expected through at least Wednesday morning well below zero, about -15 to -30 in many cases. In fact, a WIND CHILL WARNING has been issued by the National Weather Service from 4:00 PM Monday through 7:00 AM Wednesday. The attached image shows one our of computer forecast models at the 850 millibar level, or about 5,000 feet above the surface where temperatures are a bone-chilling -24 to -26 degrees Celsius. That’s colder than -10 Fahrenheit, and equates to temperatures here at the surface barely above zero.
Many schools cancelled classes on Monday, but look for that number to only increase Tuesday morning as wind chills will be even colder (-15 to -30). It doesn’t help that many West Michigan areas have been buried by snow the last few days, not to mention the significant blowing and drifting as strong winds whip the small granulated snow from place to place. Many of our FOX 17 viewers have sent us photos of drifts (in some cases just outside their door) of at least two to three feet high.
Keep in mind while some of the roads may appear to just be snow-covered, they may actually be ice. Salt has very little melting power below 17 degrees and needs to be mixed with sand to provide traction. Until we can get our temperatures out of the deep freeze many roads will remain snow-covered, slippery, and icy in some cases.
Call it an Arctic blast, polar plunge, frigid, cold, brutally cold, or whatever you want, but most of the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes are entrenched in this Siberian Express. In fact, parts of the Florida panhandle have the chance at picking up snow on Wednesday as this air mass infiltrates as far south as Texas, the Gulf Coast, Florida, and North Carolina. At least eight states remain under Winter Storm Watches for the possibility of snow/ice. See the map here.
I wish as a Meteorologist I could offer up a milder forecast or a break from this Arctic blast, but the map below from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) shows the eight to 14 day outlook is still well below normal. In fact, the probability and bull’s-eye over the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes has a 60 to 80 percent chance of below normal temps. The map is below.
We should warm briefly on Wednesday (mid/upper teens) and in to the 20s later in the week, but it appears to, once again, be brief. As I said in a previous post, I think Mother Nature and Ole’ Man Winter have teamed up to bring us the winter we’ve missed out on the past few decades. Get the complete forecast, temperatures, wind chills, and radar at www.fox17online.com/weather. By the way, don’t forget to clear areas for the mail carriers, and make sure to dig out the fire hydrant located near your house. It could save precious seconds/minutes in the event that firefighters need to access it. Drive safe, stay warm!