Another fall storm with wind, rain, and high waves

Posted at 6:41 PM, Oct 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-20 18:41:44-04

WEST MICHIGAN — As we wrapped up one fall storm last week with wind, waves, and heavy rain, another similar system will be affecting the Great Lakes this week Monday and Tuesday. We are expecting rain to develop Monday afternoon and continue through the evening hours. Monday will be breezy and large waves will start to build on Lake Michigan with GALE WARNINGS in effect for Monday and Tuesday.

This second strong fall storm may not be quite as potent as last week, but it will still pack a punch. Widespread rain of around a half inch or so, southeast to southwest winds of around 15 to 30 mph with higher gusts, and of course more beach erosion with wave heights likely reaching 10 to 12 feet north of Holland are all likely. Below is our forecast model (the GFS) total rainfall through 6 P.M. Tuesday. Monday will be rain (and perhaps a thundershower or two) associated with the passing of a cold front, while Tuesday it transitions to wrap-around rain behind the system and lake effect/lake enhanced rain showers.

The other major component with this system is the wind itself. Perhaps not quite a strong as last week, but still enough to generate high waves on Lake Michigan and beach erosion as the core of the strongest winds rotate through the area Monday evening, Monday night, and Tuesday morning. Take a look at our Lake Michigan beach/marine forecast for Monday below. Waves on Monday morning will start off between one and three feet, and build during the afternoon at around four to six feet. They continue to build as the wind ramps up…eventually reaching five to eight feet early Monday evening and peaking at around 10 to 12 feet north of Holland. Make sure (again) to stay off piers and jetties as waves will topple these structures.

The graphic below is also from one of our computer forecast models. It shows sustained winds in the larger white numbers (over a two-minute period) at 6 P.M. Monday in miles per hour. The “G” numbers represent the gusts. The arrow represents the direction from which the wind is coming from. As an example, the wind in Fremont is expected to be sustained at 30 mph, gusting to 41 mph from the southeast. Once these winds turn more southerly (and eventually southwest), waves heights will build quickly Monday evening/night.

The next graphic below shows wind speeds valid on Tuesday at 6 P.M. Not quite as strong, but still prevalent at about 15 to 25 mph with gusts of 30 to 40 mph from the southwest. They will relax a bit more by Wednesday.

Like the storm last week, this one will also pull down colder air from Canada and create lake effect/lake enhanced clouds/showers Tuesday and Wednesday. More shower chances arrive on Thursday with another weaker system. Get the complete West Michigan forecast at