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Near blizzard conditions possible Friday night and Saturday

Posted: 1:12 PM, Feb 13, 2015
Updated: 2015-02-14 16:29:59-05

WEST MICHIGAN — An approaching clipper system Friday will bring near blizzard conditions Friday night and Saturday as arctic cold temperatures and gusty winds settle in for the weekend.

Winter Storm Warnings were issued by the National Weather Service Friday in anticipation of snow, gusty winds and dangerously cold wind chills. The Winter Storm Warnings cover the Lakeshore and areas along the US-131 corridor including the cities of Holland, Muskegon, Grand Rapids and South Haven. Areas along and east of US-131 are under a Winter Weather Advisory as travel will be impacted through Saturday evening.

Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories valid Friday through Saturday

Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories valid Friday through Saturday

A clipper system dropping south out of Canada and into the Great Lakes will continue to bring snow into West Michigan for the afternoon and evening hours Friday. While this system will become lake-enhanced allowing areas along the Lakeshore to see higher snowfall accumulations, this system will not bring large snow fall totals by West Michigan standards. Total accumulations could reach up to 6 inches or more in some Lakeshore areas, however most of West Michigan will see only a few inches as this system lacks adequate moisture.

FutureTrack HD snow totals

FutureTrack HD snow totals

Winter Warnings and Advisories were not issued due to large impacts from snow, rather a combination of many factors that will make travel or extended periods outdoors hazardous.

This clipper system will move into the Great Lakes overnight and strengthen allowing winds to become very gusty throughout the morning and afternoon Saturday. Gusty winds will have large impacts in a few areas: visibility, road conditions, sporadic power outages and dangerously cold wind chills. It is very possible for parts of West Michigan to see winds gusting in excess of 40 mph throughout the day Saturday.

FutureTrack HD Wind Speed/Gust Forecast

FutureTrack HD Wind Speed/Gust Forecast

As winds gust throughout the day Saturday, the very fine, dry snow that accumulates Friday evening will easily drop visibility to near Blizzard conditions.

Gusty winds will also help usher in arctic cold temperatures, dropping temperatures significantly during the morning Saturday. By afternoon actual temperatures will drop into the teens and single digits. With winds gusting to around 40 mph, it won’t take a whole lot to create wind chills to around 30 below zero.

FutureTrack HD Feel-like Temperature Forecast

FutureTrack HD Feel-like Temperature Forecast

Skies will eventually start to partially clear Saturday night, and winds will calm allowing for nearly ideal conditions for extreme cooling overnight. This will easily allow temperatures to drop below zero in many areas. Our record low temperature Sunday is 7 below zero in Grand Rapids and if conditions follow the forecast we will easily beat that record Sunday morning.

Temperatures will remain very cold for the remainder of the weekend as temperatures Sunday afternoon will only warm into the single-digits making it difficult for road crews to adequately treat icy and snowy road conditions but short-lived relief moves in Monday as temperatures warm into the low 20’s by afternoon.

Timeline:

Friday 3PM – Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories come into effect. Expect snow to become heavy in some areas through the evening.

Friday Night – Snow continues to fall, winds generally breezy out of the southwest 10 to 20 mph. Temperatures warming into the upper teens and low 20’s.

Saturday Morning: Snow starts to decrease in intensity, winds become very windy and temperatures begin to fall.

Saturday Afternoon: Winds gusting to around 40 mph, creating blowing/drifting snow, blizzard-like conditions will be possible. Temperatures falling into the teens and single digits. Wind chills falling to 15 to 25 below zero.

Saturday Night: Partial clearing will lead to steadily dropping temperatures. Winds will calm slightly. Overnight low temperatures falling between 5 and 10 below zero in many areas. Wind chills possible between 20 and 30 below zero. Winter Storm Warnings and Advisories expire at 10PM

Sunday: Mostly clear, temperatures starting out below zero, only warming into the single digits by afternoon. Slight chance for light snow flurries.

Impacts:

Accumulations up to 6 inches.

Very gusty winds.

Blizzard-like conditions.

Low visibility.

Snowy and icy road conditions.

Isolated power outages due to high winds.

Winds chills as low as 30 below zero.

As always, stay tuned to FOX17 for all updates throughout the weekend.