GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Despite scattered showers and clouds hanging around West Michigan Wednesday afternoon, parts of the region will still be set up for an outbreak of severe storms late in the day into Wednesday night.
The greatest energy for storms will remain along and south of the Indiana border, but the wind patterns both at the surface and aloft will be conducive for strong storms for areas south of Grand Rapids. An upper-level disturbance will help keep storms going into the night, developing into a widespread line of storms that will be likely to produce significant wind damage.
But while there is a very high likelihood that severe storms will develop, there are still questions about whether the strongest storms will affect West Michigan.
Based on the latest computer model information and discussion with the National Weather Service, here is the thought process about what is in store for the FOX 17 viewing area:
Some scattered storms will try to develop in Southwestern Michigan later this afternoon into the evening; however, these may not reach severe levels immediately. You can see that another line will be starting to develop in southern Wisconsin, eastern Iowa, and northern Illinois at this time (the image below depicts 6 PM). Those storms to the west will be the ones to watch for the threat of tornadoes.
As the evening progresses, the storms to the west will merge into a very large line of storms that will produce widespread damaging wind gusts. The below image shows that line staying mostly in northern Indiana as of 10:30 PM:
The question will be whether these storms clip areas along and south of I-94. This line of storms is the reason that the Storm Prediction Center has upgraded the threat of severe weather in parts of Illinois and Indiana, along with extreme southwest Michigan, to the “High Risk” category, as depicted in the main image at the top of this post.
If you have outdoor plans, know anyone camping out tonight, or anything else outside, make sure to keep yourself informed about the changing weather situation. We will update you as necessary on FOX 17, you can also check out interactive radar anytime on the Weather page.