The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for most of West Michigan from Monday afternoon through Tuesday evening. The Watch will likely be upgraded to a Warning. The NWS warns of “heavy lake-effect snow, strong west winds, blowing and drifting snow, wind chills down to zero, possible whiteout conditions, dangerous driving conditions”. Read the G.R. NWS discussion. It says: “INSTABILITY BECOMES EXTREME AS THE ARCTIC AIR SPILLS IN FROM THE WEST AND (Lake Michigan) WATER TEMPERATURES ARE LARGELY IN THE MID 40S. THUS A CONSIDERABLE RESPONSE FROM THE LAKE IS EXPECTED… IF 500 MB TEMPERATURES DO FALL TO COLDER THAN MINUS 40 OVER THE LAKE…AS SHOWN BY THE NAM AND GFS (models)…THAT IS DRY ADIABATIC UP TO THAT LEVEL…WHICH IS VERY UNUSUAL. MODELS SHOW INVERSION HEIGHTS CLIMBING TO OVER 15,000 FT…WITH STRONGER OMEGA IN THE DGZ. ALL THIS SPELLS HEAVY LAKE EFFECT SNOW. AS THE COLDER AIR WRAPS AROUND THE SOUTHERN END OF LAKE MI…ENHANCED LOW LEVEL CONVERGENCE IS LIKELY TO LEAD TO AN I-94 BAND OF SNOW…EXTENDING WELL INLAND TOWARD BATTLE CREEK AND CHARLOTTE…IT LOOKS TO ME LIKE CONDITIONS WILL DETERIORATE CONSIDERABLY FOR THE EVENING COMMUTE MONDAY. THIS IS WHEN TEMPERATURES FALL INTO THE UPPER TEENS TO LOW 20S…INSTABILITY INCREASES CONSIDERABLY AND MIXING HEIGHTS DEEPEN. MOST LOCATIONS WILL SEE GUSTS OVER 30 MPH. THAT COMBINED WITH HEAVY LAKE EFFECT SNOW SHOULD LEAD TO CONSIDERABLE BLOWING SNOW AND THUS A RISK WHITEOUT CONDITIONS. THUS AN INCREASED POTENTIAL FOR HIGHWAY PILEUPS…ESPECIALLY FOR PORTIONS OF I96…I196 AND I94. POSSIBLY FOR THE MONDAY EVENING COMMUTE…BUT MOST LIKELY FOR MUCH OF TUESDAY. It won’t be much better on Weds. I’ve mentioned for several days that we’ll see school closings on Tuesday (and maybe Wednesday). Travel Monday will be better early than late. Travel Monday night and Tuesday may be difficult and time-consuming. NAM The wintry pattern will last much of the week. Gale Warnings will be in effect for the Lake Michigan shoreline. Also: WOW – latest CFS model says cold winter for much of the U.S. Bittersweet Ski Area staying open ’til 9 today (Sun.).