GRAND RAPIDS — So far, West Michigan has been spared the worst of what Mother Nature is throwing at much of the Midwest this afternoon and evening. Showers and a few embedded thunderstorms have been moving through, but only with wind gusts at 30 to perhaps 40mph — far below severe criteria. To our south and southwest, Christmas travelers haven’t been so lucky. Above is a map of severe weather reports across Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and even portions of southeastern Michigan. Below are a couple of specific reports from Illinois and Indiana, including a tornado touchdown in Blandinsville, IL.
Showers and a few storms are still possible later tonight as a strong area of low pressure passes to our north. Although there is still a slim chance of a severe storm or two with high winds, the main story during the overnight period will be strong, non-thunderstorm wind gusts on the backside of that low. In fact, a Wind Advisory takes effect tonight at 11 PM and lasts through 11 AM tomorrow. Southwesterly winds of 45 to 50mph will be possible, and large waves of up to 12 feet can be expected on Lake Michigan. If you will be travelling overnight into tomorrow morning — especially in a high profile vehicle — drive with care and reduce speed due to the strong winds.