Warmer Air Welcome, But Will Create Its Own Weather Problems

Posted at 8:19 AM, Jan 09, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-09 08:19:57-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Rain, not snow, will potentially cause weather-related headaches around West Michigan as temperatures warm up into the weekend.

Thursday morning is the last one in which we’ll be forced to deal with frigid conditions for a while. Temperatures dipped to zero or below in much of the southern part of the state, as well as east of Grand Rapids in parts of Ionia and Montcalm counties as clouds broke temporarily.

It won’t be warm during the day Thursday, as readings stay nearly ten degrees below average with highs in the low 20s.  But, temperatures will hold steady or even climb overnight in many places as warmer, more juicy air slides into the Great Lakes.

Temperatures will get back into the mid to upper 30s late Friday, allowing the next round of wet weather to come in the form of rain rather than snow.  Unfortunately, that poses another set of issues in terms of road conditions and other hazards.

First, rain falling on top of frozen ground, including roads and sidewalks that are still snow- and ice-covered, can create an icy glaze that wreaks havoc for drivers or pedestrians.

The amount of rain expected, up to around an inch on average, could also mean that combined with snowmelt, some localized flooding may result.

The last issue is less serious, but still a nuisance — rain falling on the snow will cause it to become slushy and heavy if you still need to clear it from driveways and other surfaces.  It will also make for less-than-ideal snow  conditions for winter sports.  After cold weather closed local ski areas for a couple of days this week, the resorts will face a no-win situation of sorts even as temperatures become more comfortable.

You can keep up with the 7 Day Forecast on the Weather page.