An unusually strong trough and associated surface area of Low Pressure have delivered sufficient cold air and moisture into the southwestern United States to allow snow to occur in places that usually don't see it. Snow occurred in low elevations of California, Nevada, and Arizona, including Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Flagstaff, AZ measured it's new record for amount of snow in one day of 35.9 inches.
The Low Pressure system is now moving east through the Southern Plains before it will turn to the northeast and track through the Great Lakes this weekend. As it does so, it will undergo significant cyclogenesis, becoming an unusually strong Low Pressure system by the time it makes it north of the Great Lakes and into southern Canada by Sunday night. This system will bring a risk for severe weather for portions of the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys on Saturday, including the risk for Damaging winds and Tornadoes. Below is the current SPC outlook for tomorrow:
Now on Saturday is when it begins for us in mid-Michigan. Precipitation will begin to move in late Saturday morning, where temperatures may still be lingering near freezing. Patchy freezing drizzle is possible at onset before all rain develops during the afternoon and evening. However, moisture will remain limited at first as well, so I expect a scattered rain shower pattern during the afternoon. During the evening into the overnight hours, rain becomes likely. Brief heavy downpours and rumbles of thunder will be possible during the first half of the night. Temperatures will be at their warmest around midnight Saturday night into Sunday morning, when they should rise briefly into the 48-55 degree range.
Throughout the morning hours of Sunday strong cold air advection occurs on the back side of the system, changing rain to snow by late Sunday morning. Winds also significantly increase on Sunday morning with sustained winds of 30 to 35 MPH and wind gusts up to 60 MPH at times. Snow accumulations are expected to be minimal, but any amount of snow will blow around and cause white-out conditions in winds this strong. This will make driving extremely dangerous on Sunday afternoon. Scattered, if not numerous power outages are likely on Sunday. Secure loose objects outside, prepare in case of a power outage, and use extreme caution if you must travel.
The winds will finally ease on Monday with lingering morning snow showers, but highs will likely remain in the teens all day. Wind Chills may be down around 0, especially Monday morning. Next chance of snow arrives Tuesday into Wednesday time frame. Looking ahead to next weekend, to kick off the month of March, we have another system to watch that may feature another round of rain and snow.
You can check out tonight's full News Central 34 Newscast, which includes weather forecast video here: https://livestream.com/NewsCentral34/Live/videos/187798609
7-Day Forecast Details:
Winter Storm Watch in Effect from Sunday Morning through late Sunday Evening.
High Wind Watch in Effect from Sunday Morning through late Sunday Evening.
Tonight…Partly Cloudy in the evening then becoming Mostly Cloudy. Patchy Freezing Fog Overnight. Low: 23. Light winds becoming E 5 to 10 MPH overnight.
Saturday…Mostly Cloudy. A slight chance of patchy freezing drizzle until midday then scattered rain showers in the afternoon. Areas of Fog. High: 41. E winds 5 to 15 MPH becoming SE in the afternoon. Chance of rain 50%.
Saturday Night…Rain and a slight chance of thunderstorms in the evening, then scattered rain showers overnight. Low: 40. S winds 15 to 25 MPH becoming SW 20 to 30 MPH overnight. Gusts up to 40 MPH. Chance of rain 90%.
Sunday…Windy. Snow Showers, possibly mixed with light rain showers until midday, then snow showers likely in the afternoon. Widespread blowing snow. Snow accumulation around 1 inch. High: 45. W winds 25 to 35 MPH increasing to 30 to 40 MPH in the afternoon. Gusts up to 60 MPH. Chance of precipitation 80%.
Sunday Night…Windy. Mostly Cloudy with a 40% chance of snow showers. Low: 14. W winds 20 to 30 MPH decreasing to 15 to 25 MPH overnight. Gusts up to 55 MPH in the evening. Wind Chill Readings as low as 0.
Monday…Mostly Cloudy. A 20% chance of snow showers until midday. High: 19.
Monday Night…Mostly Cloudy in the evening then becoming Partly Cloudy. Low: 4.
Tuesday…Partly Sunny with a 20% chance of snow showers. High: 21.
Tuesday Night…Mostly Cloudy with a 30% of snow showers. Low: 14.
Wednesday…Mostly Cloudy with a 50% chance of snow. High: 28.
Wednesday Night…Partly Cloudy. Low: 7.
Thursday…Partly Sunny. High: 29.
Thursday Night…Partly Cloudy. Low: 12.
Friday…Partly Sunny until midday then becoming Mostly Cloudy. A 30% chance of rain and snow showers in the afternoon. High: 34.