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Lake-Effect Snow This Weekend

Posted at 11:05 AM, Feb 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-14 11:05:00-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — While the bulk of any lake-effect snow that will develop is still more than a day away, we’re taking a closer look at how that snow may impact your weekend plans.

For the rest of Thursday, we will see a few mixed rain and snow showers transitioning to all snow late in the day as temperatures start to drop back through the 30s.  Little in the way of accumulation is expected through the afternoon Thursday.

Thursday night and Friday, lake-effect snow showers will start to develop, but will be limited by relatively dry and stable air that moves in for a period of time.  So, even as colder air fires up the lake-effect snow machine, it will remain on the “low” setting through Friday afternoon with only some minor accumulations (perhaps one to three inches) near the lakeshore.

However, upper-level disturbances rotating through the Great Lakes Friday night and Saturday will create a better environment for lake-effect snow bands to become heavy in spots.  Wind direction forecasts appear to favor areas in the traditional lake-effect snowbelts, focusing on locations west of a line from Muskegon to Kalamazoo for the highest totals.

Snow will diminish Sunday morning, but not before pockets from around Holland into western Allegan and Van Buren counties end up with six to ten inches of new snow.  As the above map shows, snow totals will be considerable less around Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids (about two to five inches), although briefly heavier banding may occasionally drift into western parts of Kalamazoo and Kent counties.  There will be a pocket of higher accumulations, likely four to eight inches, in parts of Muskegon and Oceana counties as well.

This forecast is preliminary and will change as new details come into focus.  Check the FOX 17 Weather page and watch FOX 17 News for updates heading into the weekend.