Timing showers and storms this week

Memorial Day Weekend May Start Wet and Cool
DMA GFS Accumulated Rain.png
Posted at 9:28 AM, May 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-23 09:28:26-04

WEST MICHIGAN - Since southern lower Michigan remains in a moderate to severe drought according to NOAA, any rain would be a welcome site to farmers and homeowners with grass and gardens. That said, let's try timing out our best chances for showers/storms over the next few days.

A cold front sagging in from the north/northeast today will be the focal point for generating at least some scattered showers and thunderstorms. While all locations have the chance at seeing the action, the better chance of more appreciable rain/storms today will be north of Grand Rapids. In fact, our higher resolution short term forecast models are indicating that there may be an axis of heavier rain north/east of Grand Rapids around Big Rapids, Alma, and Mount Pleasant. That would be along an area of stronger convergence helping to generate the activity. See image below from our forecast model valid for 6 PM Sunday evening. When these cold fronts drop in from the north/east, we refer to them as "back door" cold fronts. Typically, they slide into the region or state from the northwest.

6pm RPM 12KM Midwest.png

Since the cold front will slide through the area this evening and remain just to our south/west, it will be in the vicinity of lower Michigan this evening and overnight. That means shower and thunderstorm chances remain in the forecast during this time frame as well. See image below valid for 6 AM Monday.

6amMon RPM 12KM Midwest.png

The red line off to our south/west is a warm front. This front will lift north through the state on Monday and generate additional cloud cover and more shower/storm chances as it does so. Similar to the cold front, there is lift and convergence along these fronts that will at least keep us in the chance for a few more scattered showers/storms. See image below valid for 6 PM Monday.

6pmMon RPM 12KM Midwest.png

We expect to be squarely in the warm sector of this system later Monday and all day Tuesday. That means a warm, somewhat humid airmass with generally dry conditions. That said, an isolated shower/storm can't be ruled out. See the computer forecast model image below valid for 6 PM Tuesday. You'll notice the next cold front associated with this system off to our north and west. That front will transition through the state on Wednesday producing more shower/storm chances.

Tue6pmRPM 12KM Midwest.png

Total rainfall from Sunday through 6 PM Wednesday for the area could be decent. Below is our GFS Forecast Model indicating anywhere from .75" to perhaps more than an inch in some areas. It's much needed rain in our current drought situation. At this time severe weather is not expected.

DMA GFS Accumulated Rain.png

Looking further down the road this week, there are indications from our forecast models that we may be entering a (potentially) very wet period Thursday night into Friday. Another inch or more of rain will be possible, but it comes on the heals of a holiday weekend. Along with this chance, more clouds and sharply cooler temperatures with highs only in the mid/upper 60s to start our Memorial Day weekend. Make sure to stay up on later forecasts as things could change.

Get the complete West Michigan forecast at