GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A batch of heavy lake-effect snow combined with winds gusting up to 45 mph are forecast to create whiteout conditions, making for dangerous driving in some parts of West Michigan today.
Areas near Ludington along the Lakeshore were expected to see these conditions first on Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service. Then these hazardous conditions are expected to move into the Grand Rapids area around noon, then south to Kalamazoo by around 3 p.m.
“This will be the heaviest snow we have seen throughout this event, with inch per hour snow possible for about a 3-hour period at any one location,” NWS meteorologists in Grand Rapids said in an updated forecast released this morning.
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“The heavy snow will come with wind gusts that will likely reach the 35 to 45 mph range. Whiteout conditions are expected today along with slippery roads which will create hazardous travel conditions. Lake effect snow will continue all day and most of tonight. Be aware that conditions will be changing rapidly today. If your travels can wait, today is a good day to postpone them.”
Forecasters are calling today’s conditions the worst of the multi-day storm.
Most of the Lakeshore area and West Michigan is forecast to get 4 to 6 more inches of snow today, but spots like Cadillac, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo may see up to 8 more inches, the NWS said.
The near-zero visibility in some places will make for dangerous driving, but the cold temps will mean you’ll want to be careful to cover your skin when you are outside. Wind chills will feel bitterly cold.
“Wind gusts reaching 40 mph or more will drop wind chills into the single digits,” according to a Hazardous Weather Outlook released by the NWS this morning. “Conditions will gradually improve late Saturday night into Sunday morning.”