WEST MICHIGAN - While West Michigan has been waiting patiently for a brief warm up, we won't have to wait long for another sharp cool down.
Temperatures will likely start falling on Saturday and precipitation from Grand Rapids to the north may start changing over to freezing rain beginning Friday night. In fact, a significant icing event is possible over north central lower Michigan, perhaps just north of our FOX 17 viewing area. However, it will need to be monitored.
The image below shows a large low pressure system over the Central Plains with a warm front extending almost in to Michigan. This front will be the focal point for warm air, rain, thunderstorms, and eventually freezing rain with its departure further south of Michigan
Notice the position of the front by Friday evening below...almost to Grand Rapids. We'll have the chance of showers and thunderstorms at that time, especially from Grand Rapids northward.
By Saturday morning, (see image below) note the front has sank further south allowing colder air to move in. Note also the pink...freezing rain occurring (or the chance thereof) from Grand Rapids northward.
We may have an area of freezing rain developing Friday night and continuing through Saturday in those areas. A more significant icing event may unfold further north of our viewing area across central lower Michigan and toward the thumb area.
You can see by the image below that we may still be seeing freezing rain by Saturday evening from Grand Rapids northward (pink). Heavy rain is also possible with this system.
One of the things Meteorologists look at is consistency with our weather forecast models. Our in house model above shows freezing rain possible, as does the image below. For you weather geeks, it's our GFS American model and shows accumulated ice in pink through 6 p.m. Saturday.
Notice also the next image below from another forecast model: the European. It too is showing the possibility of freezing rain, mainly from Grand Rapids northward with perhaps significant icing just outside our area.
It's important to note that these "models" are not reality, but rather what they think will happen. It's all we've got, it's our best technology. Suffice to say, heavy rain, wind, freezing rain, and a significant icing event (a little further north) and even some minor snow showers are all possible with this big weekend system.
Make sure to stay up on later forecasts. Get the complete West Michigan forecast at www.fox17online.com/weather.