Arctic air arrives in West Michigan

A Nov. 9, 2017 image shows the expected path of arctic air and lake-effect snow.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — West Michigan, get ready to layer up: temperatures will begin tumbling Thursday.

Fewer daylight hours and building snow has led to progressively colder conditions across Canada. Now a chunk of that cold is expected to break loose and filter into the Great Lakes late Thursday through Saturday.

Thursday’s temperatures will peak around noon, reaching the high 30s and low 40s before a mass of arctic air begins its invasion across West Michigan.

MAP: A Nov. 9, 2017 image of the cold front moving through Michigan Thursday.

Early Thursday afternoon, rain showers will change over to snow, but West and Southwest Michigan will only see a trace amount to about an inch of snow.

MAP: Snowfall will be heaviest in northern Michigan.

With winds picking up Thursday afternoon, waves are expected to build to about 6 feet to 9 feet.

CHART: A northern wind will increase to 20-25 mph Thursday afternoon.

The bigger story in West Michigan will be the falling temperatures, with a strong northwest wind that will ultimately lead to the coldest air of the fall season.

CHART: The temperature will peak around noon Thursday before tumbling.

The north-northeast wind will make it feel even colder, with a wind chill of about 33 degrees around noon Thursday down to 17 degrees by 6 p.m. Thursday The wind chill should bottom out at about 11 degrees around 7 a.m. Friday.

CHART: Factoring in wind chill, temperatures will feel as low as 11 degrees by Friday morning.

A relatively warm fall has led to warmer than average water temperatures that are still in the 50s throughout most of Lake Michigan. The larger the difference between the water temperature and the air crossing the lake, the better the chance of lake-effect snow.

MAP: Lake Michigan water temperatures as of Nov. 9, 2017.

The arrival of arctic air will ignite lake-effect snow throughout the Great Lakes, but it will be rather limited across southwest Michigan. Given the direction of the wind, much of the snow should stay over Lake Michigan eventually shifting toward the Chicago area.

Temperatures should bounce back to close to 50 degrees heading into next week. But the final week of November is hinting to pretty cold temperatures that could carry over into December.

CHART: Temperatures will rebound next week.

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