We’ve had some freezing drizzle overnight. Precipitation amounts have generally been less than 1/10th inch. Temperatures today will fall from the low 30s around daybreak to the low 20s by evening, well below freezing. Watch for slippery spots on the side streets, rural roads and especially on driveways, parking lots and sidewalks. Even if air temperatures are a touch above freezing, the ground under the pavement will be cold, because of the cold weather we’ve had lately. Temperatures over much of the area were in the single figures early Sat morning.
The graphic above shows how various precipitation types form. On the left is plain rain. Temperatures are warm enough aloft to make rain and the ground temperatures are above freezing (32 degrees). Next is freezing rain. Here the air temperature is above freezing aloft and the precipitation forms as rain. There’s a shallow layer of cold air near the ground and the rain freezes to ice on contact with the ground.
When we have sleet (this is sometimes called “soft hail” – generally white, circular – sometimes you see the sleet bouncing off your car or the sidewalk. It’s not like an ice cube, you can squish it with your fingers). Sleet occurs when precipitation forms as rain aloft, but freezes on the way down to the ground. Finally on the far right of the graphic is snow. Temperatures are cold enough for precipitation to form the familiar crystals that fall to the ground because the air is either below freezing all the way to the ground, or it may be a few degrees above freezing at ground level, but the “warm” air is too shallow to melt the snow back to rain.
Winter Weather Advisories were also out for N. Illinois, N. Indiana and two counties in far NW Ohio.
Snowfall totals in Berrien Co. were as high as 22″ with up to 20″ in Van Buren Co. and 18″ in the Holland Area. You might not see this many inches on the ground, as the snow will settle.
So far this winter, Grand Rapids has had 38.8″ of snow. Half that amount (19″) has come in the last week. As of today (Sat.) Grand Rapids is now 5.5″ above average snowfall-to-date. We’re way ahead of last winter, when we had only had 7.5″ of snow by January 8th.
Here’s North American snow and ice cover. Hudson Bay is frozen over, but there is relatively low ice extent on the Great Lakes.
The Great Lakes ice extent jumped up to 7.1% on Friday. The black color on the map above shows where there is ice. The ice on Lake Michigan is mainly in Green Bay and along the northern shore (U.P.). The ice in Lake Superior is in the 3 northern bays (Black, Nipigon and Thunder).
With the cold, Arctic air and light wind, the ice cover really took a jump. For the Great Lakes as a whole, ice extent went from 3.99% on Thursday to 7.14% on Friday. Lake Michigan climbed from 5.33% ice cover on Thursday to 9.14″ on Friday. Lake St. Clair had a 2.43% ice cover on Wednesday and then a 58.37% ice cover on Friday.
Most inland lakes are now ice covered, but in some cases, the ice is still thin and weak. Be very careful venturing out on the ice. Ice has also been forming at the Lake Michigan shore. The piers and breakwaters are quite icy – best to stay off.
There’s a Marginal Risk of a severe thunderstorm today over a large part of Arkansas, plus E. Texas and W. Louisiana. A non-severe thundershower is possible as far north as Indianapolis.
ALSO: I’ll assume you saw the crash on the Mackinac Bridge Friday – closing down the bridge for a couple hours. 75-car pile-up in Kentucky snowstorm. This light has a mullet. Avalanche Warnings in the Northwest. Magnitude 5.3 earthquake in Alaska. Galapagos Islands volcano erupts. With a low temperature of -1 °F this morning, Chicago logged the first sub-zero temperature of the season! The last time the temperature was below zero was 2/14/2021 with a low temperature of -5 °F. 9.7″ of new snow at La Guardia Airport in New York City, 5.8″ at Central Park. Low temp. Fri. AM was -40 at Badoura, MN. The 2021/2022 Southern Hemisphere tropical cyclone season is off to an extremely slow start, with only 12% of normal Accumulated Cyclone Energy generated to date. Only one S. Hemisphere season in the past 40 years has generated less ACE by 7 January: 2016/2017. Shoreline flooding in WA. Record snowfall in the Cascades. RECORD SNOW FROM WA TO NY–100 MILLION AMERICANS UNDER WEATHER WARNINGS; JAPAN DEMANDS EXTRA ELECTRICITY AS FRIGID LOWS SWEEP THE COUNTRY, RECORD SNOWS SNARL TOKYO TRANSPORT; + “EXTRAORDINARY” SNOWFALL EVENT BESIEGES VANCOUVER ISLAND (sorry about the caps.). 5.6 earthquake in Peru. Pretty snow at Boston College.