GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — We dodged a bullet last week as that powerful low pressure system gave us literally a glancing blow. Just across the lake, Wisconsin got hammered with blizzard conditions and 15 to 20 inches of snow. If the track of the low was further south/east, we would have been in the heaviest snow.
That said, another strong low pressure system will track south and east of Michigan and likely generate accumulating snow the day after Christmas (Wednesday afternoon/evening/night). The track os the system will again be important in how much we snow see. Grand Rapids and surrounding locations could see about 2 to 4 inches, and areas north and west of GR would be on the order of one to three inches. There is the possibility of 3 to 6 inches south and east of Grand Rapids by Thursday morning. And there could be six inches or more from Jackson to Detroit. A change in the track of the low could drastically impact these totals.
I recall mentioning two weeks ago that most of us here in West Michigan would probably not have a white Christmas. We may all have a slightly different definition of a white Christmas, but I can tell you that only light snow showers or flakes or flurries are likely Christmas Eve afternoon, evening, and night as a weak low pressure system passes off to our south and east. Only about an inch or less is expected from Grand Rapids to the south and east during this time frame.
Speaking of Christmas, here are the weather extremes for Grand Rapids on Christmas Day. The top three warmest Christmas Days occurred in 1982 with 65 degrees, 1893 with 57, and 1936 with 50. The coldest temps were 10 degrees in 1983, 11 in 1924, and 14 in 1985. The wettest Christmas was back in 1982 with 1.01 inches of rain. In 1936 there was .96 inch, and 1893 saw .59 inch. The snowiest Christmas Day occurred in 1990, when we had 7 inches. In 2001, there were 6.7 inches, and the third snowiest Christmas occurred in 1951 with 6.5 inches.
It’s interesting to note that thus far this December, we have been about five to ten degrees above normal. We are running a snow deficit of 13.2 inches just for this month. We should have had about 15.6 inches up until this point, but have only recorded 2.4 inches. The totals for the season are far more drastic. In a normal or average year, Grand Rapids would have tabulated 22.9 inches of snow thus far. We have only had 2.7 inches, a snow deficit of 20.2 inches. It seems less and less likely that we will end up anywhere near our season average of about 75 inches.
If you are interested in seeing what meteorologists look at to see these systems days in advance, click here to see the location of the low Tuesday evening on one of our forecast models. Note the “L” over Mississippi. By Wednesday morning, the low moves in to Kentucky…click here. Note that all the green/blue on this map is accumulated potential precipitation. We know it won’t be rain this time since colder air is already in place for us. Click here to see the location of the low Wednesday evening. There is some good news with this system. First, winds will be strong, but not as bad as they were for the last system. Second, northeast winds will mean no lake-enhanced snow. That said, lake-effect showers are possible behind the system on Thursday after the winds turn more north and northwest. (especially along/west of U.S. 131)
Stay up with the latest information at www.fox17online.com/weather. We’ll post stories throughout the upcoming week as this situation evolves and develops. This Christmas week certainly seems to be more active for Michigan. Another low pressure system tracking south and east of the Great Lakes may again give us more accumulating snow Friday night and/or Saturday.
By the way…the attached photo was submitted by one of our regular contributors, Tony Walkons of Sparta. This was snapped from the last snowfall that occurred on December 21. Upload your photo to our FOX 17 Facebook page, or email us directly at email@example.com.
Have a pleasant, peaceful, and safe holiday week.