Another record wet October in West Michigan

A view above Grand Rapids Monday, Oct. 23, 2017.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Nearing the end of October 2017, it’s hard to believe that many areas were suffering from drought conditions a month earlier.

A Flood Warning has been issued for several West Michigan counties including Allegan, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Ocena, Ottawa, St. Joseph and Van Buren until Tuesday evening or night.

Many communities are still 2-6 inches above average for the month because of the drenching rains that fell during Oct. 14-15.

Although river levels have dropped quite a bit, the ground remains saturated in spots, especially south of I-96.

MAP: Rainfall departure from average past during the past two weeks.

With another 3-5 inches of rain possible by Tuesday morning, the National Weather Service has issued Flood Warnings and Flood Watches for 18 area counties.

Graph: Counties under a flood warning until Tuesday night.
Graph: Counties under flood advisories until Tuesday evening.

Two systems will combine over Michigan that will allow an area of low pressure to deepen and eventually end up near Sault Ste. Marie by Tuesday. The heaviest rain is expected Monday afternoon through the evening hours, but will continue as lake-enhanced rain showers as colder wraps behind the low.

It will become rather breezy as well, with gale warnings over Lake Michigan Tuesday.

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All the models agree: Umbrellas and rain jackets will be a necessity the next couple of days.

MAP: Futurecast rainfall, as predicted by the 4km RPM model.

The models all consistently predict 3 inches or more rainfall through Tuesday.

CHART: Various models consistently have three inches or more rainfall the next 48 hours.

As of 9 a.m. Monday, this October ranks as the 10th wettest on record; this will certainly change throughout the next two days.

October 2016 was also warm and wet, ranking as the ninth wettest with 6.15 inches of rain. Interestingly, four of the top ten wettest Octobers have occurred this decade, with 6.32 inches during October 2012 and 7.80 inches during October 2009.

CHART: Top five wettest Octobers on record.

Areas that typically are flooded during heavy rains will likely be again. There will be ponding on area streets and freeways when the rainfall is heavier.  Drivers are encouraged to slow down to avoid hydroplaning. The wind will pick up Tuesday, stripping more leaves from trees. If you have time, check and clear nearby gutters/sewers for efficient drainage.

CHART: What to expect during Monday and Tuesday.

While it will be exceptionally wet the next couple of days, snow shouldn’t happen just yet, unlike four years ago. On Oct. 23, 2013, three inches of snow blanketed the parking lot outside the National Weather Service office in Gaylord.

PHOTO: Snow in at the Gaylord National Weather Service Office Oct. 23, 2013.

Portions of Michigan could see the first snowflakes and accumulating snow later this week, which means there may be some white amidst the fall colors this weekend.

MAP: GFS accumulated snowfall forecast by the end of Sunday, Oct. 29.