While the Groundhog just said an early spring is on the way, Northern Michigan is going in a different direction with heavy lake effect snow for some places and the coldest temperatures of winter on the way in by the start of the weekend.
SUMMARY: Low pressure sits over Southern Ontario with a NNW wind behind that system. That will drag south a very cold airmass and with the Great Lakes seeing little in the way of ice cover, lake effect snow will follow suit much of this week. The coldest temperatures will arrive Saturday with single digit high temperatures in the forecast. Due to how cold it will be, snowflake size will be smaller than normal, and maybe not accumulate as much as it normally would but this will lead to lots of blowing and a reduction in visibility.
SNOWFALL: Snow to start Tuesday was focused near Lake Huron with schools in the Alpena area closing for the day as snow spirals in rotating around low pressure in Ontario. This will diminish in this area with the main focus for lake effect snow targeting the Grand Traverse region including Traverse City/Cadillac/Manistee/Frankfort/Leland areas. This area is under a Winter Storm Warning through Wednesday evening. As colder air drains in, lake effect snow will kick up later Tuesday and slam this area through early Thursday. Due to a more northerly component to the wind (from the NNW direction) this will favor areas essentially along/west of highway US-131 for heavier lake effect snow. Once the bands of snow develop they will become heavy and if you are caught under one of them for any amount of time, the snow will quickly pile up. Total snow accumulation in this area will be in the 5-10" range. Early thoughts are the top amounts will come in from around and south of Traverse City into the Kingsley area with heavy snow all the way south to Cadillac. Another spot will be around Brethren up through the Beulah/Benzonia areas. Away from here, amounts will be markedly less with only a couple inches out around I-75. The Eastern U.P. will see lake effect snow but more of a northerly wind will keep the bulk well west of I-75 into Luce County with not much around the Soo/Drummond Island areas.
WIND: Winds will be from the NNW the next few days and will be gusty at times. Peak winds will once in awhile reach 25-30 mph and with such a chilly airmass, there will be areas of blowing snow around Northern Michigan reducing visibility. The worst of this will be in the areas mentioned above where the heaviest snow will come down.
TEMPERATURES: 20's for Tuesday but the cold will drain in with single digit to upper-teens for highs Wednesday. Thursday into Friday will see teens for daytime highs but by Saturday temperatures will remain in the single digits all day long. Areas around Sault Ste. Marie/Pickford may remain below zero all day long Saturday. Highs get back into the upper-teens by Sunday (Valentines Day).
Those in the Grand Traverse area in particular should be aware of the weather really taking a turn for the worse later Tuesday into Wednesday and plan ahead accordingly as the roads may well be in rough shape.
Today's Record Temperatures