Lake-Effect Snow Watch

January 30th, 2013 at 12:30 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

   A Lake-Effect Snow Watch has been issued by the GRR NWS for the lakeshore counties and the next set of counties inland (Lake, Newaygo, Kent, Barry and Kalamazoo Counties) for 6-12″ of new snow from this evening through Friday.  We’ll see light to occasionally heavy snow, slick roads, cold temperatures and wind chill factors falling to near zero.  If you look at the graphic here, we also have river flood advisories.  Check river levels here and here.   Here’s Caribou Snow forecasts off the (NAM, GFS) thru Sat.   Grand Rapids (8.2″, 6.2″), Muskegon (8.0″, 10.2″), Kalamazoo (7.5″, 5.7″), Cadillac (6.9″, 9.2″), Mt. Pleasant (1.6″, 1.6″ – snow desert).  The European has 0.17″ precip. for G.R. and at a 20-1 water-to-snow ratio, that would be 3 1/2″ of snow.  In any case, there will be snow to play in this weekend, and ski areas should be able to get back pretty close to decent conditions for the weekend.  Also, there is still snow up north – Weds. AM snowcover:  4″ Traverse City, 7″ Gaylord, 14″ Newberry, 16″ Marquette, Charlevoix, 17″ S. Ste. Marie, 24″ Grand Marais.  Here’s forecast snow off the NAM model (thru 3 1/2 days) and the GFS model (thru 5 days)  “.

Also, check out the video of the huge tornado that crossed I-75 north of Atlanta this AM.  More video here.  Adairsville has hit by a strong tornado on 4/28/11.  “ADAIRSVILLE.EMERGENCY MANAGER CONFIRMS THAT APPROXIMATELY 100 CARS OVERTURNED NEAR EXIT 306 ON INTERSTATE 75.”

153 Responses to “Lake-Effect Snow Watch”

  1. Redd_Leader (Hamilton) says:

    I wonder if it will turn out as good as last week!

  2. Travis Ulberg (West of Martin, Allegan County) says:

    Let’s hope the NWS isn’t gun-ho on this event just because we got a lot of lake effect last week. They seem a lot more excited about this event than last weeks event. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not. Well either way, bring it on! I’d take another 21″ of snow this week, just like last week!

  3. INDY says:

    West winds are coming Grand rapids will have 12+ inches of snow on the ground by Saturday Ionia will have 6+ inches Lansing 3+ inches..When the snow starts it’s going Stop and fall hard and heavy bigger flakes then last week and snow heavy all the way till Tuesday some areas will have over 20+ inches come Tuesday… Flashlights blankets sprites ice dog food and lights will be needed …WE HAVE BAD WEATHER ON THEE WAY STAY TUNED TO BILLS BLOGG ..INDYY.

  4. Deb says:

    I can’t wait to hear Rocky say over and over again that WE ARE In A NO SNOW PATTERN! Come on Spring!

    1. Barry in Zeeland says:

      Well, looking out my window here on the final days of January, we have zero snow on the ground so I guess that would qualify for no snow.

  5. fred says:

    One guess already in the books….
    Leaving for ludington this afternoon else my feeling is I won’t get there until saturday at best…..31 is a nightmare.

  6. Storm waning says:

    Well, usually the NWS is usually a snowfall killer once they give their call. Lets hope they are wrong so as to be right

  7. Travis (Oxford, MI) says:

    Still 52 degrees here at 1PM. Looks like a quiet rest of the week for us outside the lake effect. And lots of green.

    1. DF (SE Mich) says:

      Saginaw is 37°, it is coming =) It is nice though, still 52° down here.

  8. izzofan says:

    I have been so excited to go to the MSU b-ball game tomorrow night. The tickets were a gift from my son. Will I be able to get from Hastings to E. Lansing?????

    1. Rumrunner says:

      You should be fine.

  9. Dan says:

    Temp down another few degrees, 36 over here. Lake Effect machine is about to get cranked up! GR could end up getting a nice dump out of this one!

  10. Skot says:

    Wow….March in like a Lion out like a Lamb???

    1. Lisa (Caledonia) says:

      February is next… ;)

  11. Jim S.(Saugatuck Twp) says:

    Temps have actually risen from 39 this morning to 44 now.

    1. Matt (Spring Lake) says:

      I noticed this too. Lol….ridiculous winter…

  12. Yup says:

    Bill, it’s time to start naming every weather event…so we can keep track of them like the weather channel. I’m getting ready for lake effect Burtha!

    1. Ryan (Rockford) says:

      My favorite all-time is…..”Groundhog Day Dump”. That was a classic storm!

  13. Jeff (Richland) says:

    No lake effect snow warning, just an advisory. Already killing it before it gets going.

    1. Travis Ulberg (West of Martin, Allegan County) says:

      We had an advisory all last week, and in 8 hours Allegan and surrounding areas received 10-14″ of snow.

    2. Mike (Mattawan) says:

      Yeah, hopefully that advisory means we will get the same snow we got last lake effect event, which was a LOT (12 plus inches!)

  14. Bob (Muskegon) says:

    Already starting to come down in Muskegon lakeshore and winds kicking up- this seems like it is going to be a beast over here.

    1. Travis (Oxford, MI) says:

      That’s crazy. Mid 50′s in SE Mich, and it’s snowing there.

  15. Mitchell (Muskegon) says:

    Getting some snow here in Muskegon already – the radar seems to be a little off

  16. Dysnai37 says:

    Hoping Muskegon gets hit so I don’t have to go to school -

    1. fixxxer says:

      most people don’t want alot of snow days. the more days you get off the longer you have to go to school into june.

      1. Dysnai37 says:

        I’m in college – not the same as public schools make-up days.

  17. Travis (Oxford, MI) says:

    Someone more knowledgeable than me, help me out. Last week, the lake effect machine had a hard time firing until temps were very cold (below 15 degrees).

    How come just as much snow is expected this time around when temps won’t be nearly as cold for as long?

    1. INDY says:

      Temps are not going to be that cold one day in the high teens the rest snow like crazzy 20′s bigger flakes it’s going to pile a mile high in Grand Rapids!! Stay tuned Travis….INDYY

      1. Travis (Oxford, MI) says:

        Exactly my point. From my weather class in college, there usually needs to be 20-25 degree difference between water temp (40ish) and air temp before lake effect really starts to get going.

        1. Cort S. says:

          You’re right on track with the temperature difference. That’s a measure of instability (warm air underneath much colder air), and instability is one ingredient needed for substantial LES. But like thunderstorms, LES needs more than instability.

          There also needs to be adequate moisture in the air. Having moist air in place to our west/northwest before it crosses Lake Michigan helps give lake-effect a boost. Lake Michigan can only supply so much of its own moisture.

          There also needs to be adequate lift in the atmosphere provided by the bigger weather systems. In high pressure and anticyclonic flow aloft, air will slowly sink and inhibit lake effect clouds from growing tall enough. In the cyclonic flow behind a low pressure system, air is slowly rising on its own, which helps grow taller lake-effect clouds (even if the water-air temperature difference is not the greatest). “Inversion heights” are related to this. High inversion heights mean that the lake-effect clouds can grow to reach higher altitudes. Lift can also be provided by convergence bands, that is, air at the ground which is flowing in from two different directions. Imagine W winds coming in from the west of Holland and NW winds coming in from the west of Muskegon. These two airflows will run into each other over Ottawa County, and all that air has nowhere to go but up. A convergence band like that can create a dominant band of very heavy snowfall.

          Last, the cloud microphysics that govern snowflake growth must be considered. The dendritic growth zone (DGZ) is a layer of air with temperatures around -15 Celsius, give or take a few degrees on either side. Big, fluffy snowflakes grow in those temperatures. If DGZ is located within the cloud, and if it is a thick layer with lots of moisture and lift (upward air movement), then those big snowflakes will form. Those snowflakes are the ones which accumulate the most rapidly.

        2. Mark (East Lansing) says:

          Yeah Cort, that’s exactly what I was going to say. ;-)

      2. Travis Ulberg (West of Martin, Allegan County) says:

        With temps that cold the air can’t hold as much moisture as if it were in the lower to middle 20′s. We get lake effect with an air temp of 30°, and a water temp of 40°. Our biggest snowfalls are usually between 18-24° though.

  18. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

    The temp here has gone up it now up to 45° with light rain.

  19. fixxxer says:

    i hope the roads aren’t too bad thursday night into friday. we have to go to detroit for a funeral.

  20. INDY says:

    Fizzer u will be fine east of Lansing will be high an dry with the sun out!!Sorry about the funeral……INDYY..

  21. INDY says:


  22. SE GR says:

    Rain keeps on coming out by the airport.

    When do you think this will start to transition to snow?

  23. Nathan says:

    Nws has a new write up. They say 1-3 inches be 8 AM tomorrow and 6-8 inches by tomorrow evening (including tonight) of course, we should pick up a lot more Thursday night and Friday, so count on about 8+ inches of GR and probably several other areas, especially west of US-131!! I am pretty excited for the 3:30 PM update btw :)

  24. snow shoveler says:

    Unbeleivable six inches of MUD on the job site today could hardly walk thru it. I dont know how thick the frost is but it took a major hit with this thaw.

  25. SICK OF IT says:

    Bring on the 70′s and 80′s we’vw had enough snow now :(

  26. Steelie says:

    Good Day,

    Up to 49* in Kentwood…

    Also, it looks like NWS/GRR has stepped back just a pinch on snow for my area. That said, the dynamics appear to be shaping up better than last weekend. Also, it looks like we may be entering into a see-saw pattern for the next few weeks as a slow warm up is expected to occur next week.


    1. Matt (Spring Lake) says:

      That’s because Bill Marino (WDM) didn’t write the update. All the other ones are uber-conservative on snowfall….

  27. Nathan says:

    Why is storm team 8 so low on snowfall?

    1. Travis (Oxford, MI) says:

      NWS didn’t sound as excited in their 330 update.

  28. fixxxer says:

    I still say this winter reminds me alot of last year. Just a tad colder at times. We shall see how spring plays out. Would be odd to have another repeat.

    1. Matt (Spring Lake) says:

      This winter has been junk for us snow lovers. We wait all winter for snow, as it misses us to the southeast and then towards the northwest. Many, many, many dry slots… We get one week of real snow (last week)…it only takes almost 6 hours to melt all of the snowpack that took days and days to build up.

      I say “meh” to this winter.

      1. fixxxer says:

        Well know you know how us severe storms geeks felt last year. These warm ups and the storms yesterday are why i say this winter is almost identical to last. We get some snow then it melts within a week. Id be ok with another warm march.

        1. rob (Norton shores) says:

          If we have another warm march like last year, I’m selling the farms!!

        2. Steelie says:

          Good Day,

          Some models seem to indicate your wish may come true.


  29. Swatz_Zoo(Cedar Springs) says:

    I’m just hoping there isn’t a snow day tomorrow, I need a bit more time around the house getting things ready for my husbands arrival.

    1. fixxxer says:

      Yeah i dont want any snow days either but wyoming rarley has them to begin with.

  30. Jeff(Northern Ionia County / Muir) says:

    Its pouring rain here in Portland, just went out on my break and we have a lake in the front of my office. Really hoping snow starts soon.

  31. Matt (Spring Lake) says:

    It’s going to be at least a couple more hours of waiting for you. Yaaaaawn.

  32. Travis Ulberg (West of Martin, Allegan County) says:

    It could get real sketchy later tonight. There are rivers going down virtually every road and sidewalk, and the grass is just a sponge with standing water everywhere. The flash freeze might be the worst part of the whole week.

    1. Nathan says:

      Ya, this might turn out to be pretty nasty if the water doesn’t evaporate any time soon.

    2. Mike (Mattawan) says:

      yeah thats what i’m worried about… i’m hoping that it freezes sooner rather than later so that the road crews can treat the roads before tomorrow morning’s commute… as long as the temperature stays in the 20s, the salt and other things used to melt the ice will perform nicely….

  33. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

    I have to wonder how this lake effect event will play out while there are more favorable ingredients then the last one everything still has to come together for it to happen. As for snow fall amounts I would not get too cute as to how much any one place will or will not get with lake effect its always a toss up. Still 42 here.

  34. Nathan says:
    Flooding is still a big issue. My yard is very damp with standing water over a good portion of my backyard. Wonder if it will all turn to ice??

  35. Any idea on what snowfall we will get TONIGHT. I hate when they just say “through Saturday”. I want to know what is immediately gonna affect me. And whats about school closings tomorrow? that’s all i hear kids talking about.

    1. Travis Ulberg (West of Martin, Allegan County) says:

      Only a couple of inches. It’s just going to start getting ramped up.

  36. Nick (Grand Haven / West Olive) says:

    down to 36.5 here. Still no snow

  37. Rocky (Rockford) says:

    Well lets see WOOD TV has GR and getting 3-6 inches thru Friday and INDY says 12+ inches! Who will be closer? WOOD is being way to conservative and INDY will be closer! ROCK ON INDY! WOOD will be raising their forecast amounts sometime tomorrow! I will check the RDB model ensemble runs and post my predictions soon!

    1. Jack says:

      Sharpen Up Them , DARTS !!!! Rocky !! ;)

  38. Rocky (Rockford) says:

    I see the CPC has already changed the 6-10 outlook to near normal temps with above average snowfall!! In another day or two the 8-14 day will also change in the direction of more COLD and SNOW!!!!!!!!! Get ready people!!!!!

  39. Jim S.(Saugatuck Twp) says:

    The 18z nam has bumped up snow amounts showing some areas receiving 12-15″ of snow by Saturday.

    1. Travis Ulberg (West of Martin, Allegan County) says:

      It would be cool to see the NAM forecast model from last week and compare it to this weeks forecast model. They are almost a mirror image of each other, and it handled the lake effect snow pretty well.

    2. Rocky (Rockford) says:

      Sounds great. Keep the good news rolling in about the COLD and SNOW. We will be seeing at least 4 straight days of COLD and SNOW! I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!

    3. Do you have a link to the 18z NAM? All I’m seeing is the 12z..

  40. Travis Ulberg (West of Martin, Allegan County) says:

    18Z NAM gives the snow belt areas virtually constant snow through Sunday with only a short break during the day on Saturday and Sunday. NWS still seems more confident with this lake effect event compared to last weeks event.

  41. I think wood is a little low on snow totals. Last week they said 3-6″ and i’m in Byron Center….and i got 12″ so 3-6″ seems low to me for Byron Center west of US 131

    1. Rocky (Rockford) says:

      I agree WOOD is way too low and they will be changing their tune soon!

  42. Rocky (Rockford) says:

    RDB model snowfall prediction through Friday night:

    Ionia 3-6 inches
    GR 8-11 inches!
    Lakeshore snow belts 12-18 inches!

    Bring on the COLD and SNOW. We will have a lot more SNOW over the weekend and beyond. Don’t forget the JEM model blizzard prediction for next week!! Ya baby WINTER weather is here to stay. Get used to it!

    1. Harry (Battle Creek) says:

      I think your mystery/very inaccurate RDB model is in the twilight zone.

      1. Jack says:

        Really Harry…. Twilight Zone intro. – YouTube

        ► 0:30► 0:30
        Tee,Hee ;-)

      2. Rocky (Rockford) says:

        Check back with me Saturday night! This is exactly the same skepticism that you and few others had last week with the lake effect SNOW predictions. You were wrong and I was correct! COLD and SNOW will rule!

  43. Nick (Grand Haven / West Olive) says:

    down 3deg in 1hr! 6deg in about 2.5!

  44. How many inches of lake effect will we see tonight?

    1. Rocky (Rockford) says:

      2.5 inches tonight for GR!

  45. Harry (Battle Creek) says:

    Haha NWS is a little over optimistic with snowfall here in Battle Creek. 8″ by Friday?? No way.

    The ensembles have 5″ MAX, and I think that’s pushing it.

  46. Harry (Battle Creek) says:

    Once again, snowfall forecast is going to depend 100% on convergence band placement. This lake effect event, just like any other lake effect event, will hold highest accumulations west of US131. Places like Hamilton and Allegan, can expect to see locally 12″. Areas east such as Martin, Downtown Grand Rapids, and Kalamazoo should see 3 to 6″, with locally higher amounts near Martin. Areas further East such as Eastern Kent county, Hastings, Battle Creek and Coldwater, should expect to see 1 to 4″, with highest amounts near Hastings.

    Wouldn’t be surprised to see a Wind Advisory for parts of the area, as several models indicate gusts to 55MPH tonight/tomorrow.

    The heaviest lake effect snows will be Thursday afternoon and evening/overnight, likely impacting the evening commute. Once again, depending on where convergence bands set up will dictate snowfall amounts. This event looks to have 300° winds, which would strongly be NW until Friday afternoon, when the winds go more west giving more of a WNW flow.

    Another warm up is on the horizon for the first week of February, where temps could approach 40°+ by the 6th.

    1. Rocky (Rockford) says:

      Thanks for sharing your opinion, however I guarantee that downtown GR will see more than 6 inches of snow through Saturday! Mark it down!

    2. Jack says:

      The JEM Model, Does NOT, Show the Warm Up, You speak of, So it Will NOT Get That Warm….Blizzard Coming week of 2/4/13….Stay CUED !!!! ;-)

      1. Rocky (Rockford) says:

        There is no way we wee 40 degrees next week! We will be seeing SNOW and temps in the 20′s and low 30′s. Bring on the COLD and SNOW!

    3. Tom S. says:

      Oh he just jealous he won’t get as much snow so he’s gotta be sour ;)

    4. Travis Ulberg (West of Martin, Allegan County) says:

      Those look like pretty good predictions. Bring on the WNW-W winds.

  47. Rocky (Rockford) says:

    We will be having a predominant WEST wind all day Thursday and Thursday night and this is when GR will be seeing moderate to heavy SNOW!!!!!!!

  48. Haha i love it when you get people who aren’t gonna get a lot of snow, then they give you lower snow totals just because there upset they wont get a lot of snow, funny. My guess is 3-6″ Eastern Kent County toward Lansing. 6″ Eastern Kent County. probly 8″+ for Grand Rapids. Western Kent County 9″+ (Some 10-12″ totals where the dominant band sets up probly SW Kent). And 12″+ Central Ottawa Down through Allegan and into Van Buren county. (wouldn’t be suprised a 20″ pops up like the last lake effect event). That’s Just my guess though..but i’m not an expert haha

    1. Rocky (Rockford) says:

      Kyle – you have some great estimates there. Looking good and bring on the COLD and SNOW. WINTER is getting ready to explode!!!!!!!

      1. I know!! bring on the snow machine! I’m ready for a big dumping!

  49. Nick (Grand Haven / West Olive) says:

    its starting to snow!

  50. Yup (Grandville) says:

    Snowing in Grandville.

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