Wind driven snow giving way to a chilly weekend
Well over 100 schools across Northern Michigan shut their doors Friday due to ice covered back roads and in some cases, power outages.
The round of light freezing rain that we had been forecasted passed through Thursday evening and although temperatures for the most part remained above freezing into early Friday, the cold winter and heavy snowpack kept the actual surfaces below freezing allowing ice to develop.
Going forward, the focus in weather for Northern Michigan will shift to wind and blowing snow along with another prolonged spell of unseasonably cold temperatures. A deep area of low pressure sitting near Iron Mountain in the U.P. Friday morning will lift northward across Lake Superior through the day with occasional snow, wind, and slowly falling temperatures in its wake.
We have already seen a couple of wind gusts up to 60 mph including near Bay Mills in Chippewa County and we had a 57 mph gust reported at Mackinaw City. Wind will be the biggest player in our weather with strong southwest winds turning more westerly Friday night. Winds will remain strong throughout the day with gusts in the 45-55 mph range. Gradually the wind will come down some Friday night, but even into Saturday, winds will remain brisk with gusts Saturday up to 25 mph.
Occasional snow will blow in as well with most locations along/west of Interstate-75 seeing at least an inch if not a couple of inches in places like Newberry, Traverse City, and Cadillac Friday. With the mentioned wind we will have, there will be low visibility at times in blowing snow.
While there will continue to be a few light passing snow showers into the weekend, overall it looks rather quiet. Highs Saturday will reach the low-20's but we dip into the mid/upper-teens Sunday.
Perhaps the biggest weather story in all of this is how cold it will be next week. Normal daytime highs for late February are in the 27F-32F degree range. By next Wednesday and Thursday, although several days off, temperatures will struggle to get out of the single digits and we may even see a couple of our coldest days we have had all winter.