Snow, lingering cold paint gorgeous winter scenes in West Michigan

Weather

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The cold air has settled into West Michigan and it is expected to linger for another week.

The cold looks to remain locked in place at least through the middle of next week.

Very cold weather expected through the middle of next week

While the bitterly cold temperatures make getting outside uncomfortable, the upside is that they also create some beautiful winter scenes.

If you’re looking for a fun experiment to do on a cold day, look no further. Lisa Lenderink sent us a photo of an exemplary frozen bubble:

A frozen bubble. Photo by Lisa Lenderink.

To give this experiment a try, blow some bubbles outside using a store-bought or homemade bubble solution. Ice will begin to form on the bubble. Calm winds will make things easier since strong winds can pop the bubble or blow it away.

Light pillars are one of the best optic phenomena that winter has to offer. If you don’t know what you’re looking at, it might be a little startling to see — the light pillars create a scene that seems like it’s straight out of “Star Wars.”

As it turns out, there is a perfectly logical explanation for light pillars. Ice crystals are normally found in the atmosphere thousands of feet above the surface in the high-level cirrus clouds. When temperatures turn bitterly cold, ice crystals can be present at ground levels. The plate-shaped ice crystals refract light and from our perspective, it looks like a beam of light shooting straight up to the heavens.

The light pillars do not have to be white. Instead, they take on the color of their light source, sometimes creating a very colorful display. Calm weather conditions are ideal for light pillars.

Chris Rossman captured this snowy photo on the White Pine Trail:

A snowy walk on the White Pine Trail. Photo by Chris Rossman.

As the snow began to fall last week, temperatures were still around freezing. The snow was initially very wet and heavy and it clung to the tree branches. Temperatures plummeted Friday and the snow has remained frozen in place since.

Lake Michigan is famous for picturesque summer sunsets, but it takes on an entirely different definition of beauty in the winter months. After spending most of the winter relatively unfrozen, the cold snap has finally taken its toll on the big lake.

The high winds of late last week led to some massive waves on Lake Michigan. The National Weather Service issued a heavy freezing spray warning at the lakeshore due to the accumulating freezing water droplets. The piers, railings and sidewalks have all been covered with ice.

Temperatures have not made it back above freezing and the ice continues to build on Lake Michigan. The ice is beautiful to look at, but keep in mind it’s very dangerous. The piers are incredibly slippery and the ice on the lake is unstable. It’s best to marvel at the beauty from afar.

If you venture outside and snap any pictures of the effects of cold weather, send them our way by emailing ReportIt@woodtv.com. We love to see the photos and answer any questions.

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