Winter storm, heavy snow, polar vortex, brutal cold this week

Posted at 8:01 PM, Jan 27, 2019

WEST MICHIGAN -- The winter storm, heavy snow, polar vortex, and brutal cold we discussed in detail last week is about to come to fruition.

Ottawa, Kent, and Ionia counties northward are under WINTER STORM WARNINGS through 7 P.M. Monday.

The heaviest snow is expected to fall along/north of the I-96 corridor...about 8" to as much as 12". WINTER WEATHER ADVISORIES are in effect through 7 P.M. Monday for our southern counties. Lesser amounts of 5" to as much as 8" are expected there.

See graphics below:

The scope of this quick-moving, hard-hitting system is huge. It will affect about a dozen states. Take a look at the image below of the various watches/warnings/advisories in effect. The areas in red over the northern plains are BLIZZARD WARNINGS.

Temperatures will range from the upper teens across our northern counties, low/mid 20s around Grand Rapids and vicinity, and around 30-32 degrees across our southern counties on Monday. Wind chills will be running about zero to 10 above.

Monday night and Tuesday will be good days to "dig out" of the snowy mess, but Wednesday/Thursday are NOT days to be outside. There is literally a concern for public safety with the coldest air arriving in some 25 years. That means temperatures around zero for highs on Wednesday, and wind chills on the order of -25 to 35.

Frostbite will be possible in as little as 15 minutes! Please be careful and take this Arctic outbreak seriously. Below is a map that shows the "polar vortex" and brutally cold Arctic air arriving Tuesday night into Wednesday and Thursday. See map below!

We also need to mention the additional snow accumulations that will be likely Monday night through Thursday morning from lake effect. Several more inches along/west of U.S. 131 will fall and more WINTER WEATHER ADVISORIES in those areas will be forthcoming.

We will start to warm slightly on Thursday with highs back into the single digits, and eventually into the teens on Friday. In fact, we may be warm enough for rain showers next Sunday! Please be safe. Keep extra blankets in the car, jumper cables (batteries tend to die in this weather), water, and a charged phone. Hundreds of school closings are imminent the entire week with the one-two punch of heavy snow followed by Arctic air.

Get the complete West Michigan forecast at