Arctic blast and lake snow upon us

Posted at 7:28 AM, Jan 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-17 07:28:23-05

WEST MICHIGAN — The coldest air of the season will be upon us as we start this week. Most high temperatures will only be between 10 and 15 degrees, but wind chills will be running between zero and -10 as brisk westerly winds at 10 – 20 mph occur.

WINTER WEATHER ADVISORIES have been posted through Tuesday at 7am, mainly for our lakeshore counties. See image  below.


The heaviest lake-effect snow will occur along/west of U.S. 131 through Monday morning/early afternoon with about 3″ to 6″ likely. Locally higher amounts are possible (isolated 8″ to 10″) for those stuck under persistent snow bands. Lighter amounts east of 131 on the order of an inch or two are expected.

We’ve all heard about low pressure systems. They usually deliver inclement weather for us in the form of clouds and precipitation. In this case, we have a polar low in the upper levels of the atmosphere (very cold air aloft) that will rotate through the Great Lakes over the next 24 to 36 hours. Spokes of energy pivoting around this low will energize and enhance lake-effect snow.  See image below that shows what the atmosphere looks like at 500 millibars, or about 18,000 feet above the surface. You can see the upper low overhead!

GFS 500

We should begin climbing out of the deep freeze Wednesday as temps return to the mid/upper 20s…and perhaps around the freezing mark by the weekend. Get the complete forecast