Winter weather should return to Upper Michigan later this week, as a majority of our long range guidance is hinting at a major winter storm taking aim at the Great Lakes Region. The system that is poised to bring this return to winter is currently located just south of the Gulf of Alaska and off the coast of southern Alaska and Canada (as shown in the image below). The shortwave (yellow lines inside the red circle) will intensify as it moves south during the day tomorrow, and then eastward across the United States, priming the system to become a winter storm for the Great Lakes Region.
Previously this system was located farther to the northwest, over the Gulf of Alaska, where observations were limited. This made it hard for our forecast models to get a good handle on the system and its exact placement later in the week as it neared our region. It also made it nearly impossible to try and pinpoint where the most snow would fall and the amounts that would occur. Now as the system continues to move closer to shore overnight and through the day Tuesday, it will encounter a greater density of observation sites, also shown in the image below, allowing us to better analyze the forecast low position as well as heaviest snowfall totals for the Wednesday night through Thursday night time frame. That being said...the latest trends show the heaviest snow falling to the south and east of Upper Michigan, though central and eastern Upper Michigan still could see moderate to heavy snow. Exact placements and snowfall amounts will continue to be updated with the latest information as we near the onset of the storm. For more information, please see the latest Hazardous Weather Outlook.
|Depiction of water vapor imagery along with surface observations. Note the density of surface observations over western Canada as well as the western United States. Observation density decreases significantly over the ocean. Also shown in the image is the location of the shortwave (red circle) currently located just off the Canadian coastline. Compass directions shown in the lower left corner are not adjusted for map project and are only meant for a rough reference.|