Widespread, prolonged, powerful winds arrive Monday

Gusts of 50 to 60 mph likely
Posted at 4:49 PM, Apr 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-13 08:25:32-04

WEST MICHIGAN — FOX 17 Meteorologists have been forecasting for days the likelihood of very powerful, prolonged winds arriving Monday morning and continuing into the evening. Sustained winds will be on the order of 20 to 30 mph from the west over a two-minute period, and gusts inland of around 50 mph, while immediate lakeshore locations and areas north/east of Grand Rapids could see gusts of 60 mph or greater. These winds will start to ramp up around daybreak Monday and continue into the evening hours. The core of the strongest winds will likely rotate through the state in the late morning through about mid-afternoon. Our temperatures will be the warmest around midnight at 50 degrees or better, then fall into the lower 40s the remainder of the day!

It's important to note that these winds are NOT associated with severe thunderstorms. Those type of wind gusts are a one time blast of fast-moving air from the outflow of a severe thunderstorm. Conversely, the winds we are expecting are of a synoptic, or large scale, associated with a low pressure system affecting a region. The latter is worse, since these types of winds can persist for hours...similar to hurricane winds over and over again. These types of winds are more likely to cause power outages and tree limbs down on power lines. You may recall, the last time we had a "synoptic" scale wind event like this was the day before Thanksgiving 2019. The storm on November 27 produced 60 mph widespread gusts and more than 100,000 residents without power! Seethe images below from our weather models on the forecast winds. The larger, whiter numbers are sustained winds. The "G" number represents the "gust" for that hour, and the arrow is the direction. There are four images. The first is 6 A.M. Monday...winds have not ramped up yet. The second image is for noon on Monday. The third image is for 6 P.M. on Monday, and the final image is for midnight on Monday night/Tuesday morning as winds finally begin to come down a bit. We should note that these forecast models have a tendency to under-forecast wind speeds. So the wind speeds and gusts you're seeing on the model may be a bit low, but know that powerful, prolonged winds will dominate our Monday and power outages are likely.

A WIND ADVISORY has been posted for the entire area from 8 A.M. Monday through 8 P.M. Monday. That means sustained winds of 31 to 39 mph for one hour or longer, and/or wind gusts from 46 to 57 mph for any duration. See image below.

Keep in mind these winds will also drive at 8 to 12 foot waves on Lake Michigan, perhaps some as high as 15 feet across Muskegon/Ottawa/Allegan Counties. A LAKESHORE FLOOD WARNING has been posted from 5 A.M. Monday through 5 A.M. Tuesday for the immediate lakeshore. Flooding is likely in some areas there, not to mention significant beach erosion with the already high water levels on Lake Michigan. See image below.

While we may see some light rain/snow showers here in West Michigan the next few days with the colder temperatures, this system will likely produce a foot of snow over the western U.P., and about 3" to 6" across the eastern U.P.. It is also producing severe thunderstorms across the deep south with long track, powerful tornadoes and large hail

Our temperatures will remain below normal much of this week. Get the complete forecast at