GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Another strong low pressure system is set to impact West Michigan this upcoming weekend. Rain, wind, and even some wintry precipitation can be expected. Though it will become quite breezy especially on Saturday, we are not looking at nearly the intensity of winds which we dealt with just a few days ago. The trajectory of the prevailing winds is not to provide for the major beach erosion set-up which we have seen so much recently.
First things first, mostly cloudy skies are expected to continue here on Friday. Temperatures struggle into the mid to upper 30s as east or northeast breezes stay quite light between 5 to maybe as high as 10 mph. Clouds stay locked in tonight and, in fact, thicken up in the late evening and early overnight as low pressure gathers over the central plains states. This will lead to the development of a light spotty wintry mixture of precipitation in the overnight period. The possibility for a few slick spots on area roadways cannot be ruled out Saturday morning with marginal temperatures in the lower 30s. Major travel impacts do not appear to be likely however.
Otherwise, any mix of precipitation switches over to a plain drizzle / spotty light rain pattern for the afternoon as temperatures creep into the middle 30s for daytime highs. If headed over to the east side of the state for the big Ohio State vs. Michigan football clash in Ann Arbor, expect chilly readings in the mid 30s with drizzle and pockets of light rain developing through the afternoon. An initial snowflake or two cannot be ruled out of the equation as well.
The forecast here across West Michigan looks pretty soggy through Saturday evening into the early morning hours of Sunday. Mainly a rain event is anticipated to unfold locally from Grand Rapids to Kalamazoo and Battle Creek as the mercury will remain just mild enough for all liquid precipitation. Colder air looks to hold tougher across our northernmost sections including Oceana and especially Newaygo, Mecosta, and Montcalm counties. This is where a better prospect exists for an accumulation of ice Saturday evening into Sunday morning. Right now, it appears as though freezing rain is the best bet for precipitation for these areas laying down a glaze of ice. A slight chance exists for some light snow accumulation as well. The true focus for more appreciable snow is to play out north of our viewing area into northern parts of the Lower Peninsula and especially into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
A dry slot will work into West Michigan by sunrise on Sunday shutting down precipitation for a several hour stretch into the early afternoon. The upper-low associated with this system ( the back side of the system ) is projected to pass just south of the Michigan / Indiana line during the second half of Sunday leading to some additional scattered rain and snow showers for Sunday afternoon and evening. Little, if any, snow accumulation is anticipated.
Wind with this weekend weathermaker will be a factor as well but it will not be nearly as much of a problem as the previous wind machine that passed through during this past midweek period. East to southeast winds on Saturday and Saturday night will increase to between 15-25 mph with gusts to as high as 35 to perhaps 40 mph. Winds will still be a bit breezy Sunday morning while shifting to the southwest but will slacken off noticeably for Sunday afternoon. Winds will then pick up again to breezy levels Sunday evening into Monday morning as winds turn to the north with the departure of low pressure off to the east.
Aside from a morning flurry on Monday, conditions turn drier once again. Next workweek should see relatively tame weather on the whole with mostly cloudy to partly sunny skies the common sky condition. A weak disturbance may provide a few sprinkles / flurries, light rain / snow showers during the midweek period but nothing significant appears to be in the cards. Temperatures look to be tolerable in the mid to upper 30s to near 40 degrees right on into next weekend. Though bitterly cold air is shown to gather on the models over central and southern Canada through next week, there are no clear indications that this arctic air is to blast southward into the Midwest and Great Lakes anytime soon. In fact, a consensus of modeling shows a milder than normal pattern setting up for a good chunk of the United States over the next couple weeks. This will have to be monitored, however, as any changes to the upper-level pattern could set the stage for colder air to head southward.