Lake effect snow continues, cold intensifies

WEST MICHIGAN -- The winter storm that bought up to 8 inches of snowfall to parts of the area on Monday has moved off to the east, but heavy lake effect snow behind it is still impacting much of the FOX 17 viewing area. The heaviest snow is falling in areas that are favored by a west/southwest wind off of Lake Michigan like what we have now, and a Winter Storm Warning is in effect for all of the counties shaded in pink until 1 PM Thursday:

The expiration time is different for our counties bordering Indiana, at 1 PM Wednesday. Additional snowfall totals of 4 to 7 inches are possible through the duration of this warning in parts of West Michigan.

Most of the snow will fall between now and Wednesday evening, with the snow tapering off on Wednesday night and Thursday. Travelers will also have to watch out for areas of blowing snow and near zero visibility, especially on north to south roadways. And of course, don't travel in this type of weather unless you absolutely must.

In addition, a Wind Chill Warning is in effect until 1 PM Thursday for parts of the area. This warning expires at 2 PM Thursday for our counties bordering Indiana:

Many counties in West Michigan are not included in the Wind Chill Warning simply because NWS Grand Rapids is using the Winter Storm Warning to cover that aspect of the inclement weather we are expecting through early afternoon Thursday. Neighboring NWS offices at Detroit and northern Indiana are choosing to use separate warning headlines to encompass the event.

The coldest air of the season, combined with strong west to southwesterly winds tonight through early afternoon on Thursday will produce dangerously cold wind chills. Here's a look at where Future Track HD has our wind chill values on Wednesday morning:

Notice that the coldest wind chill values actually occur along and south of I-94. This is because the west/southwest flow regime we're under will produce a land breeze in these areas. Further north, this same flow regime will carry the air across a good swath of Lake Michigan, which is still mainly unfrozen. This will modify temperatures somewhat, but it will still be dangerously cold with frostbite occurring on exposed skin in 15 minutes or less.

Here is a look at wind chill values at noon on Wednesday:

And finally, a look at wind chill values at 6 PM Wednesday:

Once we get through this, warmer air will make its way into the region this weekend. In fact, highs will likely get above freezing on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Be sure to tune in to FOX 17 for more information!

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