GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Quiet conditions this weekend will give way to windier ones, and it'll turn colder in the week ahead. Winds are picking up through this evening, particularly along the Lakeshore. The increased winds are to be in response to a tightening pressure gradient between high pressure along the east coast and an approaching cold front slowly settling southward through the Upper Midwest. In fact, a Lakeshore Flood Advisory has been posted for lakeshore communities north of Holland for the time period spanning 7 P.M. this evening to 7 P.M. Sunday evening. Winds can gust there to around 40 mph sending waves into the shoreline at 6-9, perhaps even 10 feet.
The forecast stays dry through tonight and most of Sunday across West Michigan with clouds on the increase throughout the day tomorrow. Our next system arrives Sunday evening with drizzle developing around dinnertime. This pattern of drizzle will become more of a light rain through the late evening and overnight as precipitation expands in coverage especially from around Grand Rapids and southward. Rain amounts with this system are not going to be tremendous but we may pick up around 0.25" before activity shifts over to flurries and light snow showers during the early Tuesday morning time frame.
"System" snow is not to be great for us with this latest low pressure center but a light coating of snow Tuesday morning could cause slippery roadways as temperatures begin to tumble. As northwest winds cross the waters of Lake Michigan areas of lake-effect snow showers will develop and be around through the second half of Tuesday and into Wednesday. Recent runs of models have backed off on the expectations for snow accumulations but oftentimes models can have a hard time detecting lake-effect snow. As of now it seems appropriate to anticipate only light accumulations of snow in Grand Rapids as well as many inland locations into the midweek period with perhaps some heavier amounts of a few inches, perhaps several inches, for localized spots along the Lakeshore.
The change in air masses will likely be the bigger story in the Tuesday through Thursday time frame as actual air temperatures drop into the teens accompanied by wind chills dropping several degrees below zero by Wednesday morning. The good news is that it continues to look as though this shot of frigid air will be replaced by a more moderate brand of chill already by next weekend. Readings should rebound well back into the 30s on Friday and perhaps into the upper 30s to around 40 degrees for next Saturday and Sunday.