Thick, heavy ice expected to plague Wednesday A.M. commuters

WEST MICHIGAN -- Several hours of freezing rain developing late Tuesday evening and continuing into the early morning hours Wednesday is expected to lay down an ice accumulation in many areas of between .25" and .50" (quarter to half inch). In fact, some areas may even exceed a half inch as isolated thunderstorms are actually possible with the strong upper level dynamics with this system.

WINTER WEATHER ADVISORIES are in effect from Tuesday at 10 P.M. through Wednesday at 1 P.M. for almost all of our FOX 17 viewing area. Mainly freezing rain along with sleet/ice pellets/snow and even some rain is likely. The only areas that may escape the really thick coating of ice with be our extreme southwest and southern counties where more rain is expected to fall there with little icing.

Below is a map of what radar and temperatures are expected to look like at midnight Wednesday. Blue is snow/sleet, pink is freezing rain, green is regular rain.

Below is another look at radar and temperatures...valid at 6 A.M. Wednesday.

The map below shows where we believe the real icing issues are expected into Wednesday morning. Over the past few weeks we've all experienced some minor bouts of light freezing drizzle, but this event is forecast to be far more widespread and heavy. I would also anticipate some power outages, but likely NOT widespread since strong winds will NOT accompany this system. Areas to the north (in blue) will likely see more sleet/ice pellets with some freezing rain mixing in from time to time. Some snow is also possible in those locations. Note the counties along the Michigan/Indiana state line looks to be primarily rain with only minor freezing rain.

This is particularly hard to take after last week's polar vortex and several inches of snow. This week Mother Nature will deliver a ONE, TWO, THREE punch. Punch one will be the icing event into Wednesday morning. Punch two will be the chance of another lighter icing event Wednesday night. Punch three will be a flash or rapid freeze as temperatures crash Thursday night into Friday morning. Winds will increase at that time and lake effect snow will begin.

Please be safe! I would expect hundreds of school cancellations/delays Wednesday morning...and to a lesser degree Thursday/Friday morning. Get the complete West Michigan forecast at www.fox17online.com/weather.

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