Icy mix possible Monday

Posted at 6:34 PM, Jan 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-15 18:34:20-05

WEST MICHIGAN — The three day ice storm that has plagued and crippled parts of the Midwest is now slowly going to lift northward in to Monday. That means a light mixture of freezing rain, sleet, rain, and snow showers are possible here. This mixture is expected to occur AFTER the Monday morning commute, but should start developing by mid/late morning across our southern counties first. It will then gradually spread north/east by late morning/early afternoon. The thumbnail tied to this story is our computer forecast model valid for 9 AM on Monday.

While we expect our Monday high temperatures to reach the mid/upper 30s to near 40, the onset of the precipitation may initially begin as a light mix before changing to all rain through the afternoon. Any glaze at all will certainly slicken up the roads (similar to last week). The best chance for heavier icing and freezing rain will exist north of Grand Rapids. No watches/warnings/advisories have been issued yet, but I would expect that to change by Monday morning when the National Weather Service updates their forecast.

Again, we don’t expect a significant icing event, but a light mix or glaze is certainly possible. You’ll recall last week we had significant rainfall that stopped about 2AM, temperatures dropped, and all the liquid on the roads froze. We then had a little patchy freezing drizzle, which additionally helped glaze the roads. There was little/no freezing rain/ice that actually accumulated on power lines, trees, and vegetation. That said, I think many were caught off-guard.

Below are a series of snapshots from our computer forecast model to offer an idea of how/when things will unfold on Monday. The first image is from 11 AM Monday and shows a little light mix of precipitation developing across our southern counties (south of Grand Rapids). The pink is the frozen/mixed precipitation.


The next image below shows what the radar may look like about 3 PM Monday. Note there is a fair amount of green, or just liquid rain falling, with a mix still possible north of Grand Rapids.


The final image below shows what the radar may look like by 6 PM Monday. Mainly all rain for the area as temperatures warm to near 40.


Notice also the low pressure system to our south/west helping to funnel this moisture in to Michigan. Temperatures will be critical during the onset of this precipitation in determining how much ice we see and for how long, so make sure to stay up on later forecasts. Get more at Drive safely and have a great week!