GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A winter blast arrived in West Michigan last this week, with snow falling followed by bitterly cold temperatures.
A Winter Storm Warning was scheduled for Ottawa, Kent, Allegan, Muskegon and Newaygo counties, as well as areas north of there, until 7 p.m. Friday. For the rest of West Michigan, a Winter Weather Advisory was scheduled though Friday evening.
Everyone was dealing with accumulating snow, bitterly cold wind chills, and very windy conditions.
It has been about two years since we’ve seen below-zero temperatures around West Michigan. The last time it happened was in 2019 when the dreaded polar vortex came to visit. This round of cold air will fall just short of the intensity of 2019, but it will still be enough to drop our highs into the teens and our lows at or below zero, which also hasn’t happened in two years.
The snow started to fall Thursday afternoon, and it’s been messy outside ever since. Even after the storm system moved out, the lake-effect snow continued to ramp up. Snow continued to stream off Lake Michigan through much of Friday as temperatures dropped to the teens.
The strong winds continued to create hazardous conditions. Wind gusts were around 50 mph at the lakeshore Friday morning and in the 40 mph range for inland areas.
The winds will begin to calm down some by Friday night, but it will still be breezy into the weekend.
Whiteout conditions will be possible through the day as the winds lead to blowing and drifting snow on the roads.
The chance for lake-effect snow will continue Friday night into Saturday. There could be some dry hours on Saturday before another storm system arrives Saturday night into Sunday morning. This system will likely not be as significant as the Thursday evening storm, but it will add more snow to the pile.
This weekend will be the coldest of the season. Temperatures will only be in the teens during the afternoon and the overnight lows will be in the single digits. It won’t be as windy as Friday, but winds will be enough to keep wind chills in the single digits.
The cold air will stick around and intensify through the weekend and early next week. The coldest temperatures are expected during the second half of the week. Lake-effect snow chances will continue, and a few more clipper systems could bring snow to West Michigan as well.
This extreme of cold will be enough to freeze pipes or cause frost bite in less than an hour. Be sure to start planning ahead for the very cold weather. Colder than usual temperatures are expected through at least the first half of February.