WEST MICHIGAN — After a mild early February day, the winds of change are coming to the area. We topped out in the 40s area-wide today, with 47° at Three Rivers being the warm spot. We’re currently on the mild side of an area of low pressure that is slowly making its way eastward:
This low has two cold fronts associated with it. The first one will make its way through the area overnight with somewhat colder air behind it. I’m calling the airmass “chilly” and not “cold” because temperatures will still be about 5 degrees above average for highs tomorrow afternoon. The second cold front, however, has modified Arctic air associated with it and will bring average and eventually below average temperatures to West Michigan this week. It will also bring some lake-enhanced snow to the area on Tuesday with one to two inches of accumulation expected. More lake effect snow is possible — mainly south and west of Grand Rapids — on Wednesday.
Perhaps the most significant weather phenomenon associated with this second cold front is the wind. Gusts well over 60 mph have been observed in portions of North Dakota in the wake of this front. Today for example, Glen Ullin and Center, ND both recorded peak wind gusts of 68 mph. In fact, a High Wind Warning remains in effect for much of the Dakotas and Nebraska through tomorrow morning. This is represented by the areas shaded in orange below:
At the (slow) rate this weather system is moving, it looks like the strongest winds will arrive over West Michigan late Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday morning. It is possible that the National Weather Service will issue some type of wind headline (perhaps an advisory) for this time period. As mentioned above, snow will also be falling at this time. And although the snow will not be especially heavy, the wind accompanying it will produce some blowing and drifting.
So the bottom line is this: expect much colder weather as we head through the week, and some accumulating snow and blowing snow Tuesday into Wednesday. On those two days, drivers should use extra caution and allow some extra time to reach their destinations. We’ll keep you up to speed as this low pressure system moves through the Great Lakes State.