Much needed rain -and storms- remain in the forecast

Our weather pattern will bring us more rain Friday and over the next few days - but many of us could still use the rainfall.

A summer-like ridge pattern is holding over the Central Plains and Upper Midwest - causing well above normal temperatures to continue. Some atmospheric energy has made it's way around the ridge, and a weak cold front has touched off showers and storms for our viewing area Friday morning.

Storms held together over Lake Michigan, helped by the instability caused by the warm water. Storms caused ping-pong ball (1.5") hail to fall in Northport. As the storms moved over land, they did weaken, and are expected to cause heavy rainfall as they continue eastward.

There are breaks in the clouds and thinner clouds over the southernmost counties, which will allow for more daytime heating. Although there isn't a great set-up for more severe weather and it doesn't appear there will be particularly organized storm systems, there will still be enough atmospheric instability for storms to possibly become strong this afternoon - especially in the southern counties. The Storm Prediction Center has issued a slight risk for severe weather for the Ludington area over towards the Bay City region and southward.

Regardless, our viewing area can use the rain. With the exception of Traverse City and Sault Ste. Marie, which received ample rainfall this past week, major cities across northern Michigan are reporting below normal amounts of rainfall for the month of August. Houghton Lake, Pellston, Alpena, and Gaylord are all at least two inches below normal. This puts a decent part of the northern lower in the abnormally dry category according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Scattered showers will remain in the forecast for Friday, but most should just be under some cloud cover for Friday evening (good news for those high school football games!). Overnight into Saturday we'll once again see fog form, but it will burn off and the sun will come out - especially in the afternoon.

Saturday night will bring a return of the cloud cover, and Sunday will bring in our next system. A cold front will pass through Michigan, causing more showers and storms across the state. The big change will be the temperatures. Highs will drop a bit below normal, into the mid 60s and low 70s, starting Monday. There is also a slight chance for a rain shower on Labor Day. Although we dry out and see some sun for the remainder of the 7day, the cooler weather will stick around - making it feel a bit more like fall as we head into September.