Computer Models Agree On One Thing: Messy Weekend Ahead

Posted at 9:14 PM, Dec 20, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-20 21:22:22-05

WEST MICHIGAN — (FOX 17) — All week on FOX 17, we have been showing some of the different computer model forecasts for the upcoming weekend. While there had been quite a difference, they are all starting to come a little closer together. What it means is exactly what we have been saying all week anyway– it’s going to be a mess.

Most of West Michigan, with the exception of right along the Indiana border, are under a winter storm watch starting Saturday afternoon and continuing into Sunday afternoon. The threat is freezing rain, sleet, and snow, depending upon what area you live in.  Here is a GENERAL outline of how it looks:

  • Along and south of I-94 (Kalamazoo, Battle Creek):  Mostly rain with some freezing rain at times.
  • Between I-94 and I-96 (Grand Rapids, Hastings, Holland):  Mostly freezing rain with some snow at times.
  • North of I-96 (Muskegon, Newaygo): Mostly snow, several inches accumulation.

This is the consensus with most of the computer models. However, one model, what we call the European, has been fairly consistent in keeping most of the precipitation as snow. Here is an image that shows that:


It should be noted, however, that even this particular computer model has backed off on the snow amounts and increased the freezing rain amounts for most of West Michigan.

Most of the other computer models we use are more similar to this solution:


This shows the heaviest snow well northwest of Grand Rapids, implying that the bulk of the area will be dealing with rain, sleet, and/or freezing rain.

Regardless, we will be tracking this system all weekend on FOX 17. Join us on FOX 17 News, or visit the weather page at