Parts of West Michigan Likely to See Accumulating Snow This Weekend

Posted at 11:45 AM, Dec 07, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-07 11:45:44-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — It won’t necessarily amount to a “big snowstorm,” but the first real snow accumulation of the season is likely for parts of West Michigan this weekend, coming in two separate waves Saturday morning and Sunday.  The areas most affected will be those north of Grand Rapids that have already seen a similar one-to-two-inch snow a couple weeks ago.

A disturbance riding in from the west early Saturday morning will generate a burst of mixed precipitation around West Michigan that will be ending around midday.  Southern portions of the area (Kalamazoo, Battle Creek) will see mostly rain, but snow will start to mix in more as you head northward.  Locations north of I-96 in particular have the potential to see one to as much as three inches of accumulation.  It will be places like Grand Rapids, Muskegon, and Holland where the forecast will be tricky; in those spots, snowfall may range from next to nothing up to nearly two inches, depending on how much rain mixes in with the snow.

Regardless, air temperatures that will climb near 40° again Saturday afternoon will make it fairly easy to melt and clear off any snow that does stick to the roads in the morning.

However, a stronger area of low pressure will move into the Great Lakes Sunday, generating a similar mix of precipitation.  Once again, the exact placement of the rain/snow line will make a big difference in accumulations.  Like Saturday, though, it’s likely that cities along I-94 will pick up little to no snow, while areas north of Grand Rapids get a couple of additional inches of accumulation.

Regardless of how the forecast plays out, it’s a good idea to start thinking about driving with more of a careful “winter” mindset.  It’s often the smallest snowfalls that cause the most problems by allowing drivers to assume they can travel at regular speeds, resulting in major issues when they encounter a slick spot.

Because the forecast this weekend is so dependent on small variations in temperature,  it’s likely that more tweaks will be needed to the details.  Stay tuned to FOX 17 or visit the Weather page for the latest updates.

IMAGE ABOVE: Computer-estimated snowfall through 8:00 A.M. Saturday morning (forecast updated 11AM Friday)