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Severe Weather Remains Possible Across West Michigan Today


Summary:

A Slight Risk (Level 2/5) for severe weather today. A broken line of strong to severe thunderstorms posing an "all severe hazards" risk will move through the area this afternoon. Some uncertainties remain in exactly what areas are most likely to see severe weather. An upgrade to a Level 3/5 - Enhanced Risk is not totally out of the question in my opinion.



Discussion:

Two noteworthy changes to the severe weather outlook this morning: First, the SPC has expanded the Slight Risk further North to encompass areas along and southeast of a line from near Muskegon to near Mount Pleasant. Second, the Probabilistic Tornado Outlook has changed a bit with the 2% now covering a large majority of the western and central parts of the entire Lower Peninsula extending all the way north up to the Mackinaw Bridge as compared to yesterday's Tornado Outlook that only included far southwestern Lower Michigan in its 2% Risk area. A 5% Tornado Risk has also been introduced across West-central Illinois and into Iowa so this is not of immediate concern locally but we will continue to watch this.


Yesterday's afternoon, as well as the overnight, computer weather model guidance still has a few important differences with regard to the severe weather potential today. Most models are suggesting that a broken line of strong to severe thunderstorms will develop this afternoon or evening... but where?


To understand the models we have to take a look at Doppler radar this morning: We have two primary areas of interest with the first being a broken line of rain showers that is exiting the area to the southeast along a line extending from Saginaw to Lansing to Coldwater here this morning. The second is a convective complex to our west and northwest.



What areas experience showers and storms from this convective complex as it moves onshore over the next several hours, how long those showers and storms remain in place, and how much they change the environment locally will have a huge impact on our severe weather threat later today.


Most models have this complex moving out by around 11:00 AM at the latest and subsequently convective development/propagation for areas generally south and east of Grand Rapids and especially south of the I-94 corridor. This is, likely, largely due to ongoing storms eating into the favorable environment that will be in place and leaving little time for recovery. One caveat to this is that a couple of models, including one of the more reliable and widely used models, the HRRR, are suggesting that there will be enough environmental recovery north of I-96 this afternoon ahead of the cold front that will be driving the line of showers and storms through. Because these models think that there will be enough recovery of the environment further north the storms are forecasted, in these models, to form further north this afternoon, somewhere northwest of a Muskegon to Mount Pleasant line, and then propagate southeastward from there and pose a more widespread, less-broken, severe weather risk.


In terms of what is more likely; it's 50/50 in my opinion. We will need to continue to watch trends and surface data as the day goes on today.


Should confidence in the latter scenario in which storms form further north and are less scattered/broken in nature increase, I would not be entirely surprised to see an upgrade to an Enhanced Risk (Level 3/5) later today for some of West Michigan.



In terms of storm timing today; here is our Storm Timing Map for today's severe weather risk. This is subject to change and we'll provide updates as we feel are warranted but these time ranges generally cover all possible scenarios today.



The red-shaded and green-shaded regions are the areas that we are least confident in just due to more substantial questions about whether or not storms will actually develop in these areas.


Storm Chasing Operations & Live Streaming


Currently, we do plan to storm chase today, but where and when remains questionable. Make sure that you're subscribed to our channel on YouTube and have notifications enabled to get notified when/if we go live today. We'll also be providing updates on Social Media as the day goes on so keep an eye on those as well.




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