WEST MICHIGAN -- After a fairly active late Tuesday afternoon and evening, the severe weather potential only increases for Wednesday. A cold front combined with a vigorous upper level disturbance will push through the area during the afternoon, giving us another round of strong to severe thunderstorms.
The remnants of what was once Tropical Storm Cristobal will move across Lake Superior and into Canada on Wednesday, but the moist airmass in its wake will still play a role in our severe weather chances. The cold front and disturbance mentioned above will play a bigger role in triggering severe weather, along with the sunshine/strong surface heating during the early afternoon hours. Winds at the surface will be from the south and southeast ahead of that cold front, while upper level winds will be from the southwest. This change in wind direction with height is something meteorologists refer to as directional wind shear, and will play a role in the development of rotating thunderstorms capable of producing a few weak tornadoes. In fact, the Storm Prediction Center has parts of the area in an MODERATE RISK for severe weather this afternoon.
In addition, straight line winds of 60 to 70 mph are possible with any thunderstorms that develop. Here is a summary of the severe weather we may have to deal with for today.
Here's close up of the same image from the Storm Prediction Center and their outlook. This is the first time since 2013 that our threat has been this high!
As you can see, hail is a secondary threat with some of these thunderstorms, with high winds and a few tornadoes being the #1 threats.
Consistent with the MODERATE to ENHANCED Risk shown above, areas east of U.S.-131 have the highest potential of seeing severe weather. This is largely because of the timing of the cold front's passage there during the mid-afternoon:
The threat of severe weather gradually tapers off to a SLIGHT RISK toward the lakeshore, but even there a few strong to severe thunderstorms can't be ruled out.
As that cold front pushes into the east half of the state, our severe weather threat should end by early evening. This will set the stage for a stable, quiet end to the workweek and upcoming weekend.
As always, the FOX 17 weather team will be watching things very closely this afternoon. Please be safe a make sure you have a way to receive severe weather warnings...perhaps with our FOX 17 Weather APP on your smartphone, or by watching FOX 17's Facebook Live. We'll be sure to let you know when any thunderstorms turn severe, so be sure to tune in to FOX 17 for updates!