WEST MICHIGAN — Usually two or three times each year we pick up on some type of icing scenario or event. While most of them typically happen in the late winter/early spring, this one came at one of the most inopportune times of the year. Not that I’m trying to copy David Letterman, but if I was going to construct a list of the top ten reasons why this winter storm was bad, here it is from the perspective of a meteorologist.
1. The scope of it was huge affecting more than two dozen states.
2. It had everything from ice, snow, thunderstorms, heavy rain, and tornadoes. Winter storm warnings to tornado warnings. There were 5 tornado reports and 378 wind damage reports.
3. While occurring on/over a weekend was good thing, the weekend before Christmas was probably one of the worst of the entire year. More than 94 million people are traveling.
4. It came on the heels of icing West Michigan just had Thursday night/Friday, adding to an already established icy situation with accumulation already present.
5. Widespread power outages with no heat/electricity. (horrible timing for families at Christmas/not to mention very cold temps)
6. Numerous traffic accidents and all those slip and falls.
7. Downed power lines and broken tree limbs from heavy ice accretion/accumulation. Many locations tabulated at least .25″ to .50″ of ice adding quite a bit of weight to whatever it adhered itself to.
8. Shelters and warming areas opened (that’s a good thing), but it comes at a time of the year when these volunteer organizations are already feeling the holiday pinch.
9. Even after this storm is long gone, its impacts and effects will be felt for days.
10. It was a forecasting challenge/nightmare to say the least. With 18 counties in our viewing area, north/central/south all got something a little different.
11. An added bonus…Another silly name given to a winter storm by The Weather Channel. They’re calling this one Gemini. Hey guys, we only name tropical systems!
Need more reasons why it was bad? It will usher in colder temperatures, contribute to lake-effect/lake-enhanced snow, and likely produce widespread accumulations for Monday/Monday night, especially south/west of Grand Rapids.
The attached photo was submitted by Marc and Mary Faber of Byron Center in Kent County. You can always get the complete West Michigan forecast by going to http://www.fox17online.com.