Our first chance of strong to severe storms this season arrives Thursday night

Damaging Winds The Primary Threat
Posted at 5:27 PM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 22:54:37-04

WEST MICHIGAN — It's just about that time of year again...when we get a very warm surge of air, lots of moisture, lift from a low pressure system and cold front, and a great wind field that may produce some strong to severe storms Thursday evening into Friday morning. Spring officially arrives Thursday night at 11:50 P.M., and southern lower Michigan has been placed in a "marginal" risk for severe storms. While this is the lowest threat category from the Storm Prediction Center, it's possible we may be bumped up into a "slight" risk by Thursday. As the headline states, damaging winds would be the primary threat with an isolated brief spin-up of a tornado not being completely ruled out.

A strong, developing, moisture-laden low pressure system will press into and through the region Thursday into Friday morning. See the location of this system below Thursday at 6 P.M.

We'll briefly get into a warm surge of air from Grand Rapids southward with temperatures in the upper 50s to lower 60s Thursday evening/night into Friday morning. Thunderstorms are possible into Friday morning as the winds ramp up behind this system. See the location of this system below Friday at 6 A.M.

Temperatures will fall through the day on Friday from early highs in the mid/upper 50s to near 60. Winds will increase from the northwest at around 20 to 30 mph with some gusts of 50 mph or more possible on Friday. This system will also produce some soaking rains from Grand Rapids southward. Take a look at one of our forecast models for precipitation totals in inches through Friday below.

Below are the wind speeds we're expecting on Friday morning at 6 A.M.. The numbers are in miles per hour and the larger, whiter numbers are sustained winds over a two-minute period, while the "G" number represents the gust.

The next graphic below shows wind speeds/gusts/direction Friday at noon. Still very strong.

Again, this system will impact Michigan from Thursday afternoon through Friday morning with rain, perhaps strong storms, then very strong winds through Friday evening...even after it departs. Please be prepared. Get more information at