Rain/Snow Mix Likely to Create Issues Friday Morning

Posted at 9:25 AM, Dec 19, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-19 11:51:26-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — It’s a fact of life in West Michigan that winter driving conditions can be difficult even when there isn’t snow falling, and some light rain and freezing rain may make for a slick commute especially Friday morning for parts of the region.

After a dry day Thursday, moisture will gradually increase until some light precipitation breaks out Thursday evening.  That will continue as a couple of weak waves of low pressure move along a nearly stationary front into the day Friday.

FOX 17 Future Track HD suggests that the line between rain and snow will fall somewhere around M-20 or M-46 north of the Grand Rapids area.  North of there, up to two inches may fall through Friday afternoon.  Those areas may actually end up with better conditions than those that see rain or freezing rain, as persistent light rain will create a glaze on many roads and surfaces.  The greatest threat for ice accumulation will be in Ottawa, Kent, Ionia, and Muskegon counties.  The above image shows the computer projection of ice accumulations in those locations, generally around one-tenth of an inch.

Even if air temperatures remain above freezing, it will not be warm enough to prevent some icing, especially on country roads.  Unpaved roads will be particularly slippery, even though well-treated highways may remain in pretty good shape.

The result may be that some schools close Friday morning, especially in rural areas.  That may be more likely than usual considering that Friday is the last day for most school districts before the two-week winter break.

Precipitation should end late Friday, with dry conditions for most of the day Saturday.  However, a much stronger weather system will move through the southern Great Lakes Sunday, spreading wind, heavy rain, ice, and snow across the region.  We will be waiting until a better view of that forecast develops before we try to get into much detail about how much of each may fall across West Michigan.

Stay up to date on the 7 Day Forecast and interactive radar via the Weather page.