Lake effect snow may hamper Thanksgiving travel

This picture taken by Frank Fast shows the snow in Frankfort early Wednesday morning.

For some portions of Northern Michigan, it looks a lot more like Christmas than Thanksgiving with cold temperatures and lake effect snow.

With lake effect snow, there is always a large variability in the amounts that fall with some places getting a dusting and others shoveling out after a foot of snow has fallen.

The highest amounts reported in to the 7&4 Forecast Center were in Antrim County with Central Lake topping the list at a foot. Bellaire was close behind with 11" of snow falling since Tuesday afternoon into early Wednesday morning. Traverse City also picked up snow with 6-8" reported in that area, with higher amounts coming in west of town. Frankfort in Benzie County reported 7" of fresh snow Tuesday night. Naturally, this led to slippery and snow covered roads which will continue to impact these locations into Wednesday. On the other end of the spectrum, a few places only reported a dusting of snow overnight such as Mackinaw City and Alpena.

The rough travel areas Wednesday will generally be west of Newberry/Naubinway in the U.P. back towards Marquette and in the Lower Peninsula, the Grand Traverse region as well as the lakeshore counties south of the Leelanau Peninsula including Frankfort, Manistee and Ludington. Lake effect snow will get pushed with time out of Antrim/Kalkaska counties and closer to Lake Michigan as winds shift due northerly.

If you are traveling the primary north-south routes including US-131 and Interstate-75, while a few snow showers are possible, by Wednesday afternoon these roads should be in alright shape if you are traveling to or expecting company from downstate. Highway US-31 from Traverse City south to Muskegon as well as highway M-37 south of Traverse City will be a few roads that could have snow related issues.

Lake effect snow will diminish some Thanksgiving Day as a weak disturbance approaches, but clouds and light snow showers will be hanging around at times with minor accumulation. Temperatures both Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day will be stuck in the 20's, a good 35-40 degrees colder than Thanksgiving last year when we had record highs in the 60's.