WEST MICHIGAN -- In a detailed post on Sunday I outlined a very real possibility of some significant icing from freezing rain Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. The Grand Rapids National Weather Service has now issued WINTER WEATHER ADVISORIES for our FOX 17 viewing area. The times are 10 P.M. Tuesday through 1 P.M. Wednesday. As most of us realize, a polar vortex or several inches of snow is one thing, but driving on ice is a completely different experience.
If there's any good news here, we're not expecting strong winds, which would potentially aid in bringing tree limbs and power lines down. That said, significant freezing rain of .25" (quarter of an inch) or more will be possible with this system. The other thing? It is expected to be an area-wide event. Many times in the past we have forecast light icing or light freezing drizzle. This time will likely be more of a "freezing rain/icing" event which will encompass all locations with an emphasis for areas along/south of I-96.
Take a look at two of our forecast models below showing ice accumulation. The first is from our in-house RPM Model.
Our next forecast model below is what we call the European. It has a slightly higher resolution and has been consistent in keeping the most significant ice from Grand Rapids southward.
Don't get so caught up in the EXACT numbers, but rather the trends of at least .25" and the location. We like consistency as Meteorologists. When we have two or three forecast models showing similar solutions, it becomes a bit more likely that a certain weather event will unfold that way. It's also possible that more lighter freezing rain/sleet occurs Wednesday night into Thursday morning before it warms enough to change to all rain on Thursday.
The final graphic I have below is from the National Weather Service. They call it their Probabilistic Winter Precipitation Guidance. In short, it shows the likelihood (by percentage) of where they believe the highest chance of greater than a tenth of an inch of icing will occur. Along with their thinking, our forecast models are also agreeing on areas south of Grand Rapids.
Make sure to stay up on later forecasts. These icing events will certainly delay and cancel schools on a widespread basis for Wednesday. Get the complete forecast at www.fox17online.com/weather.