Snowy Wednesday Morning Ahead

Posted at 8:02 AM, Mar 11, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-11 08:02:33-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Mar. 11, 2014) — After a springlike start to the week, yet another round of snow and cold will affect West Michigan Tuesday night through early Wednesday.

Clouds will increase during the day Tuesday, with some light rain developing in the afternoon as temperatures hold right around 40°.  Falling temperatures Tuesday evening will allow that rain to change over to wet snow initially, but without much accumulation expected through midnight Tuesday night.

A second low-pressure system will absorb the energy from the first disturbance and strengthen as it quickly moves through the Great Lakes and Ohio River valley Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.  Snow will develop and increase on the north side of the system overnight.  Snowfall rates will peak around daybreak Wednesday, leading to a very difficult commute and likely some school closings for areas mainly south of Grand Rapids.

To be honest, our confidence in the forecast snow amounts at this point is still much lower than usual for a storm only 24 hours away.  This is why I haven’t posted a snowfall map with this discussion — I expect the forecast to require tweaking for later editions of FOX 17 News.  One big reason for that is the unusual behavior of a couple of computer forecast models, which drastically changed their forecasts during the day yesterday, only to shift dramatically again Tuesday morning.  Still, we can use some of the more consistent information we’ve been getting along with some common sense to make some initial predictions:

  • The heaviest band of snow will be well to the south and southeast of Grand Rapids, with the axis of highest snow totals falling along or south of I-94.  Parts of this band may see totals in excess of six inches by midday Wednesday.
  • Snow amounts will gradually taper off for areas between Kalamazoo/Battle Creek and Grand Rapids, with most of these locations seeing between three and six inches in all.
  • For Grand Rapids, Holland, and Muskegon, the forecast is the most difficult.  On the back edge of the snow, a sharp cutoff is anticipated, meaning results may  be anywhere from only an inch or two to three or four inches if the storm tracks a bit farther northward (as it has been trending over the past day or so).
  • Northern sections of the FOX 17 viewing area will likely see minimal snow accumulation.
  • Snow will diminish quickly by Wednesday afternoon, with temperatures dropping into the teens late in the day and wind chills near zero.  Temperatures will likely fall to near zero Thursday morning as clouds break up and winds die down again.

Again, this forecast is subject to change.  We’ll get some better data by around midday Tuesday, at which time we’ll start to lock in the numbers more.

In the meantime, you can always find updated information and interactive radar on the Weather page.