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Frankly Speaking: A Mix of Precip for a Wet Winter Weekend

Posted at 9:57 AM, Jan 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-06 09:57:03-05

Good morning!  A fairly nice Wednesday in store, all things considered for January.  Today and tomorrow will actually be the driest days of the next several, and this morning has certainly felt warmer as well, especially in comparison to yesterday.

DMA_24HrTempChange (1)

Temps this morning in Big Rapids were nearly 30 degrees warmer than yesterday!  We started below zero yesterday, but with cloud cover and winds out of the south and southwest, we remained warmer overnight.  The further south you went, cloud coverage simply wasn’t there, and warmth from yesterday escaped into the atmosphere.

DMA_Feel_Like_Temps (2)

Those light breezes still made it feel colder than the air temperature this morning, as the “feels like” temperature remained in the single digits this morning.

Garry AM Dayplanner (2)

By this afternoon, temps rebound above freezing!  Melting will occur yet again today.  With the breeze at a 10-15 mph clip, expect it to feel like it’s in the mid to upper 20s.

Radar1 (1)

Now for the changes ahead.  A more active pattern switches on as a conveyor belt of Pacific storm systems arrive over the next several days.  Storm #1 is placed in western Missouri this morning and will continue its trek northeast.

RPM 1 (11)

By Thursday afternoon, cloud cover thickens up.  If you like the abundant sunshine, you’ll want to enjoy it on Wednesday because you won’t see much of it for another week or so.  Rainfall remains on the other side of the lakeshore during the daylight hours, so West Michigan will remain dry.

RPM 2 (9)

Closer to midnight, Future Track brings rain a little bit closer to the Indiana Toll Road as precipitation begins to spread northeast.  Notice how it remains as liquid precipitation at this point, because this may change shortly.

RPM 3 (8)

Shortly before 6 AM, not much shows up on this particular look at Future Track, but I believe we’ll see a rain/freezing rain mix at this point and time.

FRZ Explainer

A warmer layer of air above the surface will keep the precipitation in the liquid variety until it reaches the surface.  This gives us the potential for an icy glaze at the surface as temps will be at or below freezing at this point.

Temps 1

Temps at this point teeter along the freezing mark.  Compare it to the last frozen precipitation event we received last week with sleet (ice pellets,) and our temperatures are between 5-10 degrees warmer.  Because of this, and the expected abundance of warm air, I think impacts will be relatively minor in comparison.  However, there will be slick spots in several areas as this occurs for the early morning commute (5-10 AM.)

RPM 5 (4)

The precipitation changes to all rain by the evening as it becomes a dreary and wet evening.  Don’t expect rain the entire day, but scattered rain showers will remain off and on through Saturday as well.

Temps 2

Compare the temperatures in comparison to just twelve hours prior and you’ll see gradual warming from the south.  This will keep it on the liquid side even into the overnight hours Friday into Saturday as well.

Panel2A (7)

Here’s a timeline on what to expect for the liquid to frozen transition.  Areas of caution remain early Friday morning and late Saturday night into Sunday.  Rain will fall the rest of the time, until it gets MUCH colder.

Advanced Tracking (2)

As “Storm #2” passes to our northeast, it will drag down an arctic air mass colder than we’ve seen all season.  As our winds switch across Lake Michigan, heavy bands of lake effect snow will be likely Sunday into Monday.  Expect the beginning of next week to be impacted by heavy snow in some areas.  The forecast will be clearer as we head into the weekend.  Enjoy the sunshine today and stay warm!