WEST MICHIGAN — This weekend's winter storm will be so strong, it will be categorized as a bomb cyclone.
A bomb cyclone is when a low-pressure system, like we will see push through Sunday, has a pressure drop of 24 millibars in 24 hours.
This weekend's storm will do exactly that, dropping from 997 millibars to 972 millibars from Saturday evening to Sunday evening! For West Michigan, a 997 millibar storm is a typical snow maker and a 972 millibar storm is one that rarely ever crosses our path.
A pressure drop like that is exactly why West Michigan will see damaging winds all day Sunday — strong storms means strong winds.
Ahead of the bomb cyclone, we will mostly see rain and even a few thunderstorms along with temperatures making a run at 50 degrees.
Wind gusts will exceed 50 miles per hour for several hours and many cities could see them even getting as high as 60 miles per hour.
Winds that strong will rip tree branches off onto power lines, and possibly cause full trees to be uprooted. There will be a high risk of a widespread power outage with this event. Some could lose power for days.
Strong winds will also mix with lake-effect snow, leading to near blizzard conditions. Driving should be done in emergency situations only.
Snowfall will be light, on the order of 1 to 2 inches, but enough to cause the low visibility all day.