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Update On Severe Weather Potential For Tonight & Tomorrow In West Michigan

6:00 PM Update Summary:

The forecast for strong to severe thunderstorms this evening remains largely on track. There is still some uncertainty surrounding the local threat but models are consistently showing a squall line of strong to severe winds impacting the area in the early morning hours tonight. The risk to our west in Minnesota and Wisconsin has been upgraded to an Enhanced Risk (level 3/5) for severe weather.

Severe weather chances this afternoon are still rather uncertain and are heavily dependent on the performance tomorrow morning so no major changes to this morning's discussion surrounding that threat. The risk for excessive rainfall and attendant flash flooding has been reduced, however.

Local Discussion - Overnight Into Tomorrow Morning:

As aforementioned, the Storm Prediction Center has upgraded the overall severe risk to our west to an Enhanced Risk (level 3/5). This upgrade is being driven by a 30-44% "Hatched" Area for significant damaging winds (60-80 MPH).

This update also expanded the Slight Risk across the lake to encompass all of our lakeshore counties and the western portions of the first 'column' of inland counties. This is driven by a 15-29% risk for damaging winds.

While not immediately likely, I do think there is a low potential for that risk to expand eastward further and perhaps even introduce a 30-44% Wind delination. If this we're to be the case though, and again it is not likely, it would likely happen at the 2:00 AM SPC update.

Regardless, damaging winds are possible, if not likely as we approach daybreak tomorrow and persons should remain #WeatherAware.

Here is our forecasted storm timing map for the severe weather threat. This is valid through noon on Tuesday. Future updates to this map will be provided via social media as necessary.

Recommended Actions:

  1. Nocturnal severe weather threats are especially dangerous. Even the "lower-risk-level" event such as this one. Do NOT take this threat of severe weather lightly especially if you live in a manufactured home or are camping outdoors.

  2. Consider sleeping in a more interior part of your home on the lowest floor possible. If you are camping, especially in a tent, consider moving to a sturdy building for sleeping this evening.

  3. Be #WeatherAware - have a way to receive weather alerts. Have a NOAA Weather Radio in your home, and ensure that your mobile devices are charged, volume is on, and emergency alerts are enabled. Download a weather app on your phone.

Local Discussion - Tuesday Afternoon

The forecast with regards to severe weather potential tomorrow afternoon remains largely unchanged. The SPC did drop the tornado risk for the area but we'll hold off on discussing that until tomorrow when we have a better idea of what to expect.

What has changed, however; is the threat for excessive rainfall. The WPC has reduced the risk of excessive rainfall to a Marginal Risk (level 1/4). The new graphic is below.


Previous Discussion - Issued At 6:35 AM EDT


A somewhat complex, but rather typical, severe weather forecast is on the menu for tonight and tomorrow. A low-confidence, but widespread severe weather threat exists overnight tonight with a more localized threat tomorrow evening that is dependent on how the prior severe weather threat performs.

Overnight Tonight Into Early Tomorrow Morning:

The Storm Prediction Center has placed all of the western and central parts of the Lower Peninsula under a Marginal Risk (level 1/5) for severe weather driven by a 5-15% risk for Damaging Winds.

It appears likely that an MCS (Mesoscale Convective System - in this case; a squall line of storms with damaging wind potential) will develop over Minnesota and Wisconsin later this evening and track east/southeast towards the eastern Great Lakes region... but where? If storms develop further south near the Iowa/Minnesota/Wisconsin border then we will likely see the MCS miss lower Michigan to the southwest as it tracks largely through Illinois. However, if storms form further north, closer to the US-8 corridor in Wisconsin, then we will likely see the storms move across Lake Michigan and into lower Michigan just prior to daybreak on Tuesday.

Regardless of the track that this potential MCS takes, there remains at least, moderate uncertainty surrounding the intensity of any of these storms. A modest Cap (mechanism that prevents storms from firing) will be in place but strong winds at the mid-levels and aloft, combined with at least weak instability should support a low threat for damaging winds. However, that Cap, rather unfavorable arrival timing (away from peak daytime heating), and the lack of robust instability, may hamper the severe threat altogether.

Tuesday Late Afternoon/Evening:

After the early morning MCS potential our attention will, very quickly, turn towards the late afternoon and evening hours on Tuesday for additional severe weather potential, primarily along and south of the I-96 corridor, and especially the southwest portions of the I-94 corridor.

The Storm Prediction Center has outlined a Slight Risk (level 2/5) for severe weather driven by a 15-30% damaging wind threat, 5-15% large hail threat, and 2-5% tornado threat.

This remains a low-confidence forecast as well unfortunatley. Afternoon severe weather potential is highly dependent on if and where new storm development occurs, which in turn, is very highly dependent on how the morning MCS performs; if/when it arrives, when it moves out, what kind of environment is left behind, etc.

Some models are suggesting that new storm development will occur along a cold front, and/or perhaps an outflow boundary from the morning's storms and will track these new cells into southwest lower Michigan. Other models suggest that the cold front will be positioned to our southwest in Illinois and the storms will miss Michigan as they track from Illinois southeast into Indiana.

Regardless of the severe weather threat tomorrow evening, the risk for heavy rainfall and scattered flash flooding will also be a threat tomorrow, especially if we see a "training" effect of showers and thunderstorms.

The Weather Prediction Center has placed areas along and south of the I-94 corridor under a Slight Risk (level 2/4) for excessive rainfall - meaning there is a 15-39% chance that total rainfall amounts, or rainfall rates themselves, will exceed Flash Flood Warning criteria.

We'll hopefully have more details on these threats later this afternoon and will do our best to provide updates. It may be difficult, especially tomorrow morning - given the severe weather threat - to get a forecast discussion published for tomorrow afternoon. Make sure that you are following us on Social Media as that will be the easiest place for us to provide updates. Also, make sure you're following the National Weather Service on social media to get updates from them as well.

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