WEST MICHIGAN -- Frankly, I wish I had better news for all of us this week, but it is going to get cold...very cold...unseasonably cold. The core of this Arctic blast of air will dominate on Tuesday and Wednesday. Those are the days we stand to break temperature records across the Great Lakes and Midwest. To boot, a developing low pressure system will generate area-wide snow beginning late Sunday night and eventually transitioning to heavy lake snows along/west of U.S. 131. See graphic below. This is our computer forecast model and shows the location of the low at 6 A.M. on Monday.
WINTER WEATHER ADVISORIES and WINTER STORM WARNINGS are in effect from 3 A.M. Monday through 7 P.M. Monday. The warning in Berrien and Cass Counties remain in effect through 5 P.M. Tuesday. See image below. Note that Muskegon, Ottawa, Newaygo, Mecosta, and Montcalm Counties are NOT in the advisory. Light amounts of snow are expected in these areas with minor disruption to commerce. The exception will be extreme southwest Ottawa County with heavy lake effect Monday night and Tuesday.
We all realize we've seen highs in the winter in the 20s. But why is this so unusual? Because it's occurring far too early. Normal highs this time of year have us around 50. This outbreak of cold air is guaranteed to shatter records across several states. While an area of low pressure will generate snow for the Monday morning commute, it's not likely to be much initially. The problem for the commute will be temperatures in the 20s with some snow (probably only an inch or so) and icing on the roadways...so allow some extra time Monday!
The system itself will deliver about 1" to 2" of snow around Grand Rapids and vicinity, but about 2" to 4" further south/east through the day Monday. The problem then becomes Arctic air moving across the relatively warmer waters of Lake Michigan to trigger heavy lake effect snow Monday night and Tuesday. With a north/northwest wind, areas south/west of Grand Rapids will likely get hammered with accumulations. Below is our graphic for TOTAL snowfall through Tuesday taking into account the entire event.
You can see from the image below the heavy lake effect snow and dark blue bands...sometimes dropping up to one inch per hour Monday night into Tuesday along/west of U.S. 131. The image is valid for Tuesday at 6 A.M.
It's likely to think that western Van Buren and Western Allegan county may be added to the WARNING as we go into Monday. We also need to realize that wind chills will be downright brutal (for this time of year). I would expect to see "feels like" temperatures on Monday in the teens, and Tuesday/Wednesday in the single digits. See our forecast model below valid for 6 P.M. Monday.
The next image below are wind chills valid for 6 P.M. on Tuesday.
The change in our jet stream is driving this pattern as it dips to the south, creates a "trough", and allows the Arctic air to spill in from Canada. You can see this in the graphic below.
Luckily for West Michigan, it's a quick blast as temperatures will moderate back to the 30s for Thursday and beyond. Get the complete West Michigan forecast at www.fox17online.com/weather.