Another major winter storm developing in Texas and the front range of the Rockies in Colorado will soon be impacting West Michigan by Tuesday afternoon. Some of the areas across the Central Plains that got hammered with more than a foot of snow last week will likely see another round of heavy snow. In fact, this system will likely produce severe weather with strong damaging winds, hail, and possible tornadoes across the deep south over the next few days!
Some locations in eastern Colorado have already seen 18 to 22 inches of snow (like Golden outside of Denver). One of the more noticeable items of interest is on the radar screen, this storm is still getting its organizational act together. It has yet to really tap moisture from the Gulf of Mexico before it moves in to the Midwest and Great Lakes. More than 13 states from New Mexico to Michigan have already been placed under some type of winter storm watch, warning, or advisory. All of our FOX 17 viewing area is under a WINTER STORM WATCH for Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday morning. Click here to see the alerts on the national map.
This event is not expected to impact our morning drive on Tuesday, but likely will be affecting us by the drive home Tuesday afternoon and evening. Our forecast models have shown for the past two days mainly a snow event, but it is possible that some rain, freezing rain, and/or sleet mixes in Tuesday afternoon/evening especially south of Grand Rapids. Snowfall totals from Tuesday afternoon through the day Wednesday may be on the order of three to six inches of snow. Again, any liquid precipitation mixing in will affect these totals!
As this system tracks in to the Lower Great Lakes, it appears that West Michigan will stay on the north side of the low. Typically, the heaviest snow falls north of the low and the colder air is generally in place to accommodate the snow growth crystals and totals. Take a look at our computer forecast model for Monday morning and the location of the low pressure system here. Notice the “L” in Texas and all of the purple and blue on the map is potential precipitation. Michigan is dry. By Monday night the “L” moves in to southwest Arkansas with all of the blue and green being heavy precipitation…much of which is rain on the front side of this system. Notice the thin, gray lines that surround the low denoting a strengthening system with windy conditions developing.
By Tuesday morning the “L” is found over southern Missouri packing plenty of moisture, windy conditions, and still dry for Michigan. By Tuesday night, this computer forecast model shows the “L” over east central Indiana with precipitation clearly in to Michigan (the purple and blue) and the tight pressure gradient (the thin gray lines) and windy conditions affecting us.
The track of this storm south and east of our area means an east wind initially for us, changing to northeast, to eventually north behind the system later Wednesday through Sunday. That means no lake-effect or lake-enhancement will occur with this system for most of our area. That said, a persistent north wind from Wednesday P.M. through Sunday will generate lake-effect snow along the immediate lakeshore (Big Sable and Little Sable Points). Areas in northern Indiana stand the chance of getting hammered over the four-day period with a north wind as several inches of snow are likely if your travel plans take you from Michigan to Chicago.
The attached snapshot from our FOX 17 FutureTrack HD computer forecast model clearly shows moderate snow overspreading the area by 6:00 PM Tuesday afternoon/evening. You can see the position and location of the low just to our south. While the winds will be stronger on Tuesday than any other day, breezy conditions will persist on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday as an upper level low pressure system meanders across the Great Lakes through the entire period creating a strong north wind and gradually colder temperatures as we head through the week. Since our winds will be north, it’s possible that inland locations on those days may break up some of the cloud cover and see some sunshine.
Make sure to stay up on later forecasts as the track of the low may change, the type of precipitation may change, and the timing could change a bit as well. We’ll have complete and continuing updates on air and online…simply go to www.fox17online.com/weather. Tune in all week and now on the weekends for FOX 17 Morning News everyday from 5:00 AM – 9:00 AM, in addition to FOX 17 News at 5:00 PM, 6:00 PM, and 10:00 PM.