Wet, windy Wednesday across West Michigan

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — This time of year, as the Northern Hemisphere continues to cool and the jet stream strengthens, low pressure systems can get stronger.

This Wednesday will be case in point as a quick-hitting, low pressure system deepens while traversing the Great Lakes.

The weather with this low pressure system will not be pleasant — cloudy and cool conditions accompanied with lake-enhanced rain showers and a gusty wind.

Rainfall amounts will not be impressive — generally less than a quarter of an inch.

Whatever rain does fall will be falling in a horizontal fashion because of the strong wind.

As is often the case this time of year, the wind will be strongest along the lakeshore. That is why counties along the lakeshore have High Wind Advisories in effect until 10 p.m. Wednesday.

There are a couple of reasons why the winds tend to be stronger this time of year along the lakeshore. When the wind crosses the open waters of Lake Michigan or any of the Great Lakes, it’s unimpeded by any frictional forces that could slow it down, such as trees, houses and buildings.

Also, when colder air flows across the warmer water, it can more efficiently mix down stronger wind gusts above the surface. The Futurecast for wind gusts picks up on this, consistently showing the strongest wind along the lakeshore. Some will peak near 50 mph.

Fortunately, this will not be a long duration event as the wind subsides quite a bit Wednesday evening.

Strong northwest winds will also bring high wave heights on this side of the lake. Waves are forecast to build to 8 feet to 12 feet near Muskegon northward and as high as 12 feet to 16 feet from Holland southward.

The high wave heights have also prompted the National Weather Service to issue a Lakeshore Flood Warning until 10 p.m. Wednesday.

Lake Michigan water levels are running 33 inches above normal, so beach erosion will be widespread Wednesday. Photos sent to ReportIt show South Haven’s marina underwater Wednesday morning.

An Oct. 16, 2019 photo sent to ReportIt shows high waters spilling over the docks at the South Haven marina. (Tom Renner/ReportIt)
An Oct. 16, 2019 photo sent to ReportIt shows high waters spilling over the docks at the South Haven marina. (Tom Renner/ReportIt)
An Oct. 16, 2019 photo sent to ReportIt shows high waters spilling over the docks at the South Haven marina. (Tom Renner/ReportIt)

Days like this can be fun to head to the lakeshore and watch the power of the waves, but do so with caution. The strong waves and high water levels will make all breakwater and pier structures extremely dangerous.

>>App users: Watch the South Haven waves here.

Even the immediate beach dunes that have already been compromised could further wash into the water. The wave action may even reach some parking lots such as South Haven.

This storm will not last long as calmer conditions build in Thursday afternoon and Friday. Warmer temperatures will also blanket Michigan this weekend. Watch Storm Team 8 to see if we could 70 degrees one last time.

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