GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Ice is going to be a big concern over the next few days as the bitterly cold Arctic air retreats from West Michigan.
Icy roads will cause hazardous travel conditions, with a quick meltdown creating the potential for ice jams.
West Michigan is recovering from extreme winter weather. This week’s visit from the polar vortex has had us rewriting the record books. Kalamazoo set back-to-back records, including shattering a record low temperature that had stood since 1899. The mercury dropped to -18 Thursday morning (the old record of -15 was set in 1899). Wednesday’s low of -15 broke the old record of -13 from 1951. Grand Rapids experienced its coldest morning of the season, with a Thursday morning low temperature of -10. Wind chills through the stretch have been ranging from -25 to -45, creating dangerous conditions.
Milder air is gradually going to return. Friday morning’s lows will be around zero with wind chills of -5 to -15. By mid-day Friday, wind chills will finally reach positive territory. Afternoon high temperatures will reach the mid-teens.
Warmer air builds for Saturday and Sunday, kick-starting the melting process. There will be the risk of freezing drizzle Saturday, with highs in the low to mid-30s.
Widespread dense fog may form due to melting snowpack Sunday as high temperatures reach the 40s. Monday will be another warmer day, with highs approaching 50 degrees and more rainfall.
Storm Team 8 is monitoring the potential for localized flooding and the threat of ice jams forming on area rivers and streams as the snow begins to melt and run into waterways. The formation of an ice jam could cause rapid water level rises, so people living near rivers and streams that are experiencing ice formation are at risk for possible impacts.
On Friday, firefighters in South Haven spotted people walking along the snow- and ice-covered pier. They warned against that, saying open water beyond the ice pack made it unpredictable and dangerous.
The warmup will be temporary, however, as cold air returns by the middle of next week. The outlook for the majority of February points to below-average temperatures and above average precipitation.
Ottawa County on Friday urged residents to take action to prevent possible flooding, asking them to clear catch basins, move snow from around window wells and exterior basement stairwells, and make sure sump pumps were working.
The city of Grand Rapids also asked residents to help hear catch basins to prevent flooding.