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Weekend Storm Hazards

A strong storm system will bring rain and a messy wintry mix to the area today and tomorrow. Rain and freezing rain this evening will change over to snow Sunday. Winds will rapidly increase Sunday, with gusts of 50+ mph possible, creating near whiteout conditions and drifting snow over roadways. Read More >


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FLUS43 KAPX 230842

Hazardous Weather Outlook
National Weather Service Gaylord MI
342 AM EST Sat Feb 23 2019

Straits of Mackinac within 5 nm of Mackinac Bridge including
Mackinac Island-St Ignace to False Detour Channel-
5NM East of Mackinac Bridge to Presque Isle Light MI including
Bois Blanc Island-
Presque Isle Light to Sturgeon Pt MI Including Thunder Bay
National Marine Sanctuary-Sturgeon Pt to Alabaster MI-
Grand Traverse Bay south of a line Grand Traverse Light to
Norwood MI-Seul Choix Point to 5NM West of Mackinac Bridge-
Norwood MI to 5NM West of Mackinac Bridge including Little
Traverse Bay-Sleeping Bear Point to Grand Traverse Light MI-
Point Betsie to Sleeping Bear Point MI-
Manistee to Point Betsie MI-
Whitefish Bay (U.S. Portion)/Whitefish Point to Point Iroquois MI-
St. Marys River Point Iroquois to E. Potagannissing Bay-Chippewa-
Mackinac-Emmet-Cheboygan-Presque Isle-Charlevoix-Leelanau-Antrim-
Otsego-Montmorency-Alpena-Benzie-Grand Traverse-Kalkaska-Crawford-
342 AM EST Sat Feb 23 2019

This hazardous weather outlook is for northern Lower Michigan...
eastern Upper Michigan...and adjacent nearshore waters of Lake
Michigan...Lake Huron and Lake Superior.

.DAY ONE...Today and tonight.

A strong winter storm will start to impact portions of northern
Michigan late today and through tonight. A mix of snow, freezing
rain and rain will arrive this afternoon, with much of northern
Michigan changing over to rain and possibly a few thunderstorms
through the night. Severe weather will not occur. Significant ice
accumulations are expected in eastern upper, and potentially
portions of northeast lower Michigan and the interior higher
terrain. Please refer to the latest Winter Storm Watches and
Warnings for further details.

.DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...Sunday through Friday.

The winter storm will continue to impact northern Michigan Sunday
and Sunday night, with very gusty winds leading to widespread
blowing and drifting snow and whiteout conditions Sunday afternoon
into early Monday. Please see the ongoing Winter Storm Watches and
Warnings for further details.

There is the potential for ice jams to develop on area rivers.
Flooding may occur upstream from any ice jams that develop.


Spotters are encouraged to report snowfall and ice amounts to the
National Weather Service. Reports may be made one of three ways:




For more information visit


FXUS63 KAPX 231133

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Gaylord MI
633 AM EST Sat Feb 23 2019

.NEAR TERM...(Today through Tonight)
Issued at 300 AM EST Sat Feb 23 2019

High impact weather: Freezing rain and some light accumulations of
snow. Main area to be impacted: eastern upper Michigan.

Pattern synopsis and forecast:

A negatively tilted upper trough with and it`s associated area of
deepening low pressure was pressing into the srn Plains early this
morning. Deep Gulf of Mexico moisture was surging out ahead of this
storm system, and when combined with widespread WAA, pockets of DPVA
from energy ejected from the trough, and upper divergence/jet
dynamics from a double jet streak pattern, and several areas of
precipitation were impacting the eastern two-thirds of the country.
The closest batch to nrn Michigan resided out across the mid and
upper Mississippi valley, where some relatively weaker forcing was
resulting in some light snow in somewhat high based clouds, which
was trying to develop eastward into the western Great Lakes. Further
south into Missouri/Kansas, another batch of rain showers, as well
as some embedded thunderstorms, were tracking NE. The strongest
forcing was just ahead of the main upper trough and sfc low moving
into NW Texas and the Oklahoma panhandle.

The upper trough and sfc low will lift into the mid Mississippi
valley by this evening, and into the western Great Lakes through
tonight, while the associated sfc low will continue to rapidly
deepen. A few waves of precipitation are expected over this time.
The first is with that batch of light snow trying to develop into
the western Great Lakes. Although the air mass is not very saturated
below 8kft, forcing and top down saturation is expected to continue
to develop the band of snow that drifts into areas north of M-32 in
nrn lower, and especially into eastern upper this morning. Not too
big of a deal with a half inch to an inch for mainly eastern upper.

Then, more attention needs to be paid to the batch of precipitation
currently in MO/KS, which is expected to make it into nrn Michigan
late this afternoon and evening. We will be under increasing WAA all
the way through tonight, and this is when the concerns about
precipitation start. Fcst soundings continue to show a pronounced
warm layer aloft, melting precipitation aloft. Out ahead of this
warm layer, P-type is expected to fall as snow mainly in the nrn
CWA, and a snow/rain mix south, before changing to rain in most
areas of nrn lower by late afternoon and evening (sfc temperatures
rising into the mid and upper 30s). The problem has been, and
continues to be, can the increasing WAA stop any significant sfc
temperature drop in the evening? Was wondering about this yesterday
morning, and the latest data has trended that way, with most areas
of nrn lower in the 33F to 36F range, thus resulting in a decreased
threat to any significant freezing rain chance. On the other hand,
for eastern upper, sfc temperatures are expected to be in the lower
30s while the warm layer aloft arrives, leaving a more significant
freezing rain/sleet scenario. Ice amounts up to a quarter of an inch
are possible. Also, nrn Michigan lies on the nrn end of general
thunderstorms. There is some 200 j/kg or so of MUCAPE tonight for
the srn CWA, so don`t be surprised to hear a rumble of thunder.

Sfc temperatures continue to rise through the overnight hours, and
the next wave of forcing (strongest forcing), with the parent upper
trough and sfc low brings the heaviest precipitation. All rain is
expected in nrn lower, with even eastern sections of Chip/Mack
counties in eastern upper possibly changing over to primarily rain.
Mainly snows in western sections of the counties with 1-3" possible.
There is a fine line here on P-type, making headline decisions

Will plan on going to a Winter Storm Warning for eastern upper due
to more confidence in getting the freezing precipitation tonight.
Will hold the watch for nrn lower for additional looks at
temperature data through today, which can maybe lead to more
confidence one way or another on freezing rain/rain (1-2 degrees
makes a huge difference). Finally, there`s the best confidence in no
freezing rain issue across some of the far SE counties, who are
likely to be removed from most of the upcoming snow/lake effect snow
for Sunday (see below). Am considering going to a high wind watch
due to potential very strong wind gusts (again see below).


.SHORT TERM...(Sunday through Monday)
Issued at 255 AM EST Sat Feb 23 2019

High Impact Weather Potential: High

Primary Forecast Concerns/Challenges: Blowing/drifting snow with
very strong winds Sunday into Monday morning.

By Sunday morning the upper level low will be over nrn lake
Michigan, with its surface low getting stacked underneath. The main
occluded front pivots through E. Upper early in the morning, and our
warm nose gets shunted off to the north and east. Low level flow
picks up out of the southwest as the surface low moves through the
nrn portions of the lake. We quickly recover from the dry slot
Sunday morning, and profiles suggest a rain/snow mix with surface
temperatures still above freezing for N. Lower. Early in the
morning, some ponding on roadways is still possible, given some snow
melt and continued rain mixed in. Through the day cold air filtering
in behind the low will steadily drop surface temperatures. According
to ensembles, temperatures fall below freezing between 18 and 21z
for most places west of I-75 and north of M-55, allowing the
changeover to all snow Sunday afternoon. Further south and east, the
switchover to snow occurs a little later. Winds become a concern
starting in the early afternoon, then last through the night. The
low will surprisingly still be intensifying as it passes through
the Straits region, and the pressure gradient quickly tightens
over the area. Winds switch out of the northwest and becomes
sustained between 25 and 35 kts mid morning. Bufkit momentum
transfer readouts bring anywhere from 45 to 55 kts (or more)
easily down to the surface. With strong CAA/downward motion/mixed
boundary layer, these values seem likely. Potential for blowing
snow increases as SLR`s increase in the colder air. Widespread
reduced visibility and blowing/drifting snow are likely, with
possible whiteout conditions from Sunday afternoon through early
Monday morning. North-south orientated roads and any open areas
with be the hardest hit by whiteout conditions. Some potentially
heavy snow bands could set up from Sunday afternoon into the
overnight hours, as inversion heights rise to around 5 kft, delta-
Ts increase to near 15 C, a deep DGZ forming, strong
unidirectional BL winds, and plenty of low and mid- level moisture

Sunday night temperatures continue to plummet through the teens,
bottoming out in the single digits in E.Upper and higher terrain of
N. Lower. The pressure gradient remains tight through the night into
Monday morning, although it slackens a bit, easing wind gusts down
into the 20s by mid-morning. Nevertheless, some blowing and drifting
snow is still definitely possible through the morning hours. We
transition to a pure lake effect regime Monday afternoon, with
slightly stronger overlake instability, but it will be fighting
sinking inversion heights down to near 3 kft. Winds also slowly back
through the day, spreading out accumulations. Highs do not rebound
very much, into the lower teens north and upper teens south.

.LONG TERM...(Monday night through Friday)
Issued at 255 AM EST Sat Feb 23 2019

High Impact Weather Potential: Low

Primary Forecast Concerns/Challenges: Minimal

Strong ridging in the eastern Pacific will extend north, pushing
large positive 500mb height anomolies well north of Alaska. This
will likely push waves of very cold air over our region, especially
next weekend. We`ll be under general troughing for much of next
week, with weak waves passing over the area, each bringing a chance
of snow. Surface high pressure slides in Tuesday, followed by a weak
system on Wednesday. Guidance is still fairly spread on the
Wednesday system however. The end of the week appears quiet for now,
until another potential system early next weekend. As mentioned
above temperatures will be cold, ranging about 10 or 15 degrees
below normal for late February.


.AVIATION...(For the 12Z TAFS through 12Z Sunday morning)
Issued at 618 AM EST Sat Feb 23 2019

Strong/deepening low pressure moving into the srn Plains will lift
up into nrn Michigan by daybreak Sunday. Outside of some possible
brief light snow at PLN through shortly after daybreak, VFR
conditions in thickening mid and upper level clouds will be common
through the day. Then, MVFR/IFR conditions return, in mixed
precipitation of rain, snow and some freezing rain, which will
spread over all of nrn Michigan later this afternoon and into
tonight. Precipitation is expected to change over to all rain
later tonight in a warming air mass.

Light ESE winds will increase later today and into tonight ahead of
the approaching storm, with mechanical mixing likely getting held
back due to a stable near sfc layer. This brings in the likely
development of LLWS, which continues through much of tonight.


MI...WINTER STORM WATCH from 4 PM EST this afternoon through Monday
morning for MIZ016>023-025>028-031>033.

WINTER STORM WATCH from 4 PM EST this afternoon through late
Sunday night for MIZ024-029-030-034>036-041-042.

WINTER STORM WARNING from 4 PM this afternoon to 7 AM EST Monday
for MIZ008-015.