Winter’s ColdestJanuary 16th, 2013 at 9:10 pm by Kyle Underwood under Weather
Severe cold is set to descend on the Northern Plains and Great Lakes this weekend. West Michigan will be shielded from the coldest air thanks to Lake Michigan–which still has surface water temps near 40º. On the windward side of the lakes, temperatures will plunge well below zero, for the first time this year in many places like Milwaukee and Des Moines. In fact, Minneapolis will likely break their streak of four years without a day’s high reading 0º or colder. The cold air mass will be dragged down by an Alberta Clipper this weekend.
Across West Michigan, this air mass will bring us the coldest daytime highs in two years, going back to Januray 23, 2011 when the high in Grand Rapids was 12º, low -9º. With relatively warm water in Lake Michigan, a sub-zero reading in Grand Rapids is unlikely (we didn’t have any sub-zero readings last winter) but we do have a good chance at sub-zero temps in rural areas away from Lake Michigan.
In addition to snow from the weekend clipper, the recipe for lake-effect snow is assembling with the trailing cold front. The warmth of the lake contrasted with the cold of this air mass could give us the biggest lake effect snows so far this season. Lake snows are finicky; wind direction is critical. Such fine details will get worked out once the cold front nears. Prevailing winds appear to be west-northwest early next week turning more northwesterly giving all areas west of U.S. 131 a good chance at lake snow, especially south of the Sable Points.
This cold snap will be prolonged:
Here is the 8-day forecast at woodtv.com