GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A powerful and wide-reaching winter storm will create treacherous travel conditions across several states days before Christmas. Conditions will deteriorate
As of Tuesday night, nine states were under a winter storm watch or warning in preparation for this winter storm. Blizzard conditions are expected, and blizzard warnings will likely be issued Wednesday for many in the storm’s path.
In West Michigan, the impacts are looking potentially historic.
MICHIGAN TRAVEL IMPACTS
The entire state of Michigan is expected to endure treacherous conditions with this storm. This includes the Upper Peninsula and the east side of the state.
Conditions will begin to deteriorate Thursday evening with a rapid change to hazardous driving for everyone in the state by Thursday night. Conditions will continue to worsen into Friday afternoon and evening. State-wide Blizzard Warnings are possible.
- Eight to 24 inches of snow are expected statewide, with drifts climbing to many feet
- Roads may become impassible statewide
- The Mackinac Bridge will likely close as early as Thursday night
- Blowing snow and falling snow will create zero-mile visibilities Friday and Friday night
- Wind chills staying near zero Friday through Sunday
- Plows may take many days to remove snow from roads
Power outages are a concern with the lingering Arctic air. Remember never to place a generator in a garage.
Driving will be difficult for anyone traveling through the Great Lakes unable to make it to their destination by sunset Thursday. Flight cancellations and delays are likely. It is important to note that while a flight may not travel through an impacted city, it may be coming from an impacted city and thus delayed. Many carriers are offering to change flights for free before the storm. Contact your local carrier for more.
The storm will be forming Wednesday with extremely cold air pouring down from the Arctic into the plains states. Rapid intensification begins Thursday into Friday as the storm swings north through the Great Lakes, unleashing heavy snow and winds gusting to 55 mph.
The storm will continue into New England by Christmas day with lasting impacts into Monday.
INTENSE COLD FOR SOME
The arctic air with this event is almost extreme! Many in Montana are expecting low temperatures to reach -40 degrees with wind chills as cold as -60 degrees Thursday morning. Iowa is expecting wind chills of -20 to -40 degrees. Wind chills in southern Texas near the Gulf of Mexico will be as cold as 10 degrees. Michigan will be spared the intense cold but at a cost.
Arctic air will warm over Lake Michigan but it will also create mounds of lake effect snow. This is one of the reasons why Michigan’s totals are expected to be some of the highest in the country from this system.