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December 22nd-25th 2022 Christmas Weekend Blizzard

Event Summary:

Beginning on Thursday, December 22nd 2022 a major winter storm began impacting western lower Michigan on perhaps the busiest travel weekend of the year as people make their way to Holiday parties and other gatherings to celebrate Christmas.

These conditions would intensify Thursday evening and become life-threatening on Friday creating impossible travel conditions for much of the day and overnight Friday (12/23/2022).

Very hazardous travel conditions continued through Saturday the 23rd and into Christmas Eve 2022. Conditions finally began to improve on Christmas Day 2022. By that time almost 2 feet of snow had fallen in some areas, numerous 40-60mph wind gusts had been reported, utility outages were ongoing, and snow drifts reaching 4-5 feet were present across much of west-central lower Michigan.



This Winter Storm was very well forecasted.

West Michigan Weather forecasters and our partners at the National Weather Service WFO in Grand Rapids, MI had been tracking this system for at least a week prior to it's arrival.

As the event approached the details and severity of the event became increasingly concerning, especially because of the increased travel during this time of year.

It became evident that the busiest travel days would also be the days that would be most impacted by life-threatening and almost impossible travel conditions.

A Winter Storm Watch was issued well in advance advising residents to make necessary preparations and to reconsider travel plans. Subsequent Winter Storm Warnings and Blizzard Warnings were issued as the event began to further discourage travel and protect life and property.

This forecast was verified almost to the letter and many lives we're likely protected as a result because residents avoided travel despite the busy holiday season.


Storm Chasing Operations:

Both West Michigan Weather storm chasers were chasing this event.

For safety reasons, West Michigan Weather does not engage in our traditional storm-chasing strategies for winter events. Typically, WMIWX Storm Chasers deploy anywhere within our 12,000 square mile coverage area to cover events. For winter events, however, especially one of this severity and magnitude, we absolutely do not travel across the state to cover the event. We stay very close to our Headquarters in Pierson, MI because it is an area that we are very familiar with, we are close to relatives should we need help, and the road networks and traffic are much more manageable for us.

With that said, we did deploy around the noon hour on Friday and again on Saturday morning to monitor conditions and provide reports to the NWS.

We came across many accidents, a ruptured gas main, and very hazardous travel conditions. Check out the photo and video gallery below!



This blizzard was very impactful for all of central and western lower Michigan.

Thankfully, due to advance warnings and extremely accurate forecasts, a large majority of weather-related injuries, deaths, and property loss were avoided.

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