NOTE: I'LL BE GOING LIVE ON INSTAGRAM (@WXBLAKEHARMS) AT 8 PM THIS EVENING TO DISCUSS THE CHANCES FOR SCHOOL CLOSINGS!
A storm system that admittedly looked much stronger 24 hours ago could still provide rather significant snowfall accumulations and possible school closings for some.
The National Weather Service in Grand Rapids has cancelled the Winter Storm Watch, dropped Ottawa & Kent counties northward from any weather headlines, and issued a WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY for Allegan, Barry, and Ionia counties southward. The advisory runs from 7 PM Tuesday to 7 PM Wednesday for 1-4" north and 3-6" south.
I'll preface the explanation for this storm by saying that the forecast for this storm has changed very significantly over the past 24-36 hours. Yesterday morning, nearly every weather model had Grand Rapids in the bullseye for significant snowfall, potentially as much as 5-10" for many locations. Unfortunately (for those who want school closings), as has been the case with several storms this winter, the models back off significantly in the day before a storm is forecasted to hit. This one is no different, and that is why you likely heard lots of talk about this storm on Sunday & yesterday but perhaps haven't heard as much now. Nevertheless, this storm does have a few elements that are still a bit unpredictable, and school closings are absolutely on the table.
Below is the official snowfall forecast from NWS Grand Rapids:
The axis of heaviest snow is currently forecasted to be near to south of I-94, essentially south of a line from South Haven to Lansing. The latest runs of weather models have been indicating that some areas here could receive 4-6" with an isolated spot potentially higher than that.
Even for those who don't see a significant amount of snowfall, the timing with this system lines up quite well for a snowy and slow morning commute. The heaviest snowfall will last through the overnight hours, which is when snow tends to accumulate best, as opposed to the daytime when ground temperatures are a bit warmer. While the heaviest snow is expected closer to Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, I'm not entirely convinced yet that areas such as Hastings and Ionia couldn't see a healthy amount of accumulation. This is something I'm continuing to watch throughout this evening. The snow will gradually wind down late Wednesday afternoon and evening. Lake effect could produce some snow later this week.
I certainly think there will be some school closings tomorrow. View the link HERE beginning at 8 PM to see my official map. Stay tuned!
NOTE: I will be going live on Instagram (@wxblakeharms) at 8pm this evening to answer your questions!
The second round of snow, this time fueled by lake effect snow, will combine with frigid temperatures to create icy roads throughout the region overnight.
The WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY has been extended until 10am Friday for the lakeshore counties for an additional 1-4 inches of lake-effect snowfall. As of 4pm this afternoon, the band of snow is currently coming onshore near South Haven / Benton Harbor. It will hug the lakeshore for much of the evening, before turning a bit more inland overnight. Below is the snowfall forecast from NWS Grand Rapids:
While this round will be far from impressive in terms of snow amounts, it's the temperatures that will make this event more impactful than usual. Low temperatures across the region will drop into the single digits, making salt much less effective. That, combined with the small, grainy nature of the snow, will create very slick roads wherever several inches of snow falls. Thus, road conditions are expected to be worse than with a typical event that produces 2-4 inches of snow. Again, areas in Berrien, Van Buren, and far western Allegan counties will see snow for the longest, but this band does look to push inland during the early morning hours tomorrow, which could drop an inch or two in some places.
While I'll have a map coming out this evening, the highest chances will clearly be along the lakeshore. One possibility I am monitoring is the potential for icy back roads in rural districts that could present another chance for closings. I'll have the map here (click to view) at 8pm this evening. Stay tuned!
An incoming system will provide snow to West Michigan Wednesday night into Thursday before lake effect snow takes over.
The National Weather Service in Grand Rapids has issued a WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY for Ottawa, Kent, and Ionia counties to the south from 7 PM tonight through 7 PM Thursday for a general 1 to 4 inches of snow accumulation. The majority of the snowfall will occur from this evening through Thursday morning. Below is the snowfall map, also from NWS Grand Rapids:
It's worth noting that the snowfall forecast has trended downward over the past 24-48 hours. This system looked to have the potential to produce more than 4-6 inches of snow across the region as of Monday, but it has slowly gone down since. Nevertheless, this system has the potential to produce rather substantial impacts for areas from Grand Rapids off to the south tomorrow morning.
The leading edge of the snow should arrive in West Michigan early this evening, and mostly light to occasionally moderate snowfall will continue through the overnight hours. What is of biggest concern is the large temperature drop that will occur right before tomorrow morning's commute. Temperatures will fall from near freezing to the low-mid 20s in a short amount of time near daybreak, which could present a threat for icy roads. Combined with the ongoing snowfall, the morning commute could be a slow one.
I'll have a school closing prediction map at 8 PM this evening, and will be available by clicking HERE. After this system moves through, much colder air will (briefly) move into the region and a lake effect event along the lakeshore appears likely Thursday night into Friday - this could present a more serious threat for school closings. Stay tuned!
A system will bring a few inches of snow accumulation to areas south of Grand Rapids.
The National Weather Service in Grand Rapids has issued a WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY for all counties south of Grand Rapids (except for Allegan) from 7 PM this evening through 10 AM Thursday for 2-3 inches of snow accumulation. The large majority of the snowfall will likely come during the overnight hours. Below is the snow forecast, also from NWS Grand Rapids:
As you'll notice, these accumulation forecasts are not terribly impressive. This system looked to have the potential to provide West Michigan with significant snowfall only 48 hours ago... but, as is usual for this winter, the weather models have backed off on forecasts with each run. Therefore, this will be a mostly light snow event for the region, with the highest totals expected near Kalamazoo & Battle Creek, and a few isolated locations could approach 4 inches.
While the chance for school closings is non-zero, I see it as quite low at this time. Nevertheless, I'll have a forecast map at 8 PM tonight. You can view the map at that time by clicking the image below. NOTE: You can bookmark this to your computer or iPhone home screen so it's easy to access!
There is another chance for accumulating snow mid-next week... here's hoping it could provide Grand Rapids-area schools with their first closing of the winter! Stay tuned.
Now that an arctic front has passed through, lake effect snow will add several more inches to West Michigan overnight.
The National Weather Service has extended the WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY until 4 PM Sunday for all of West Michigan for additional lake effect snow. Below is the forecasted snow amounts through tomorrow evening:
This will act to make the roads quite slick, seeing as though any leftover moisture on the roads from earlier has likely frozen. This will be in addition to the snowfall that occurred Friday night into Saturday. Here are some of the totals:
By the time this lake effect portion of the weekend wraps up, a few locations could see totals from both events nearing a foot! Fortunately (or unfortunately for those who want a snow day), the weather will quiet down Sunday evening and that will last through at least the end of the week. Stay tuned as we wait for the snow days to begin!