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West Michigan Weather Is Now Tracking Multiple Severe Weather Threat Days


An active, summer-like pattern will continue for the next several days with multiple chances for rain showers, thunderstorms, and severe weather threats. Locally, the greatest risk for severe weather appears to be on Tuesday but, with the exception of today, each day in the sequence will have severe weather potential.

Today (05/19/2024):

Today will be a continuation of yesterday's unseasonably beautiful summer-like weather but it will be more humid and even slightly hotter than yesterday.

With the increased moisture we will see increased chances for isolated showers and thunderstorms to develop. We expect this activity, should it develop, to stay largely South and East of our coverage area; closer to the Detroit Metro but we'll leave very low probabilities in place across our coverage area.

These showers and storms are not expected to be severe and will be of the standard summertime afternoon thunderstorm variety. Remember that any thunderstorm has dangerous lightning, heavy rain, and perhaps gusty winds and small hail.

Monday (05/20/2024):

Monday will be even warmer and more humid than today with highs in the upper 80's and very humid conditions. Monday will also feature our first chances for severe weather.

The Storm Prediction Center has outlined a Marginal Risk (Level 1/5) for severe weather across the entire area. This is to account for the low-end "all-hazards" risk that may be realized during the afternoon and evening hours as winds increase across the area and could act as a forcing mechanism to "spark" convective development.

This would be a rather isolated, short-lived, and overall weaker severe threat but all severe hazards are in place, including the threat of a brief tornado, given the environment that any storm that develops would be able to take full advantage of.

All eyes are closely focused on Tuesday without a doubt but we will certainly be keeping an eye on Monday's potential and will provide updates as needed.

Tuesday (05/21/2024):

For West Michigan, the day of most concern is certainly Tuesday. The SPC has highlighted a Slight Risk (Level 2/5) for severe weather across much of West Michigan with a broad level 1/5 risk to the East and a broad level 3/5 risk to our West and Southwest.

All-hazards are once again on the table with this relatively more robust severe weather threat. There are two "scenarios" if you will surrounding the threat for Tuesday that computer weather models are outputting. We'll discuss them in order of likelihood.

  1. The most likely scenario is that we will see isolated showers and storms develop during the late afternoon hours in some areas along the warm front that will be moving into the area. These isolated storms will try to take advantage of the environment that is in place and may pose a localized severe threat. Additional shower and storm development, sparked by the cold front moving through the area, will then occur late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. This shower and storm development will likely be more widespread and hence a more widespread strong to severe storm threat may be realized Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. The caveat to this scenario however is that nighttime cooling will be substantially limiting the amount of instability that is present in the environment across West Michigan. The caveat to this caveat is that if storms are already strong to severe as they move across the Lake from Wisconsin and Northern Illinois, there will likely be strong enough winds to sustain a severe storm threat across the region as the low-level jet increases as night falls. So this more likely scenario does not necessarily mean that a more 'low-end' threat will be realized.

  2. The second scenario is that the cold front speeds up and arrives in West Michigan during the late afternoon and evening hours here in West Michigan. This scenario would support a much more widespread, more significant, severe weather threat across the area given that much more ample instability will be in place during this time frame as compared to the aforementioned more likely scenario. This scenario is not likely, however, as computer weather models continue to hint at an even slower progression of the cold front and associated surface low-pressure system as time goes on.

The threat of very heavy rainfall and localized flash flooding will also be a concern for Tuesday. The Weather Prediction Center has outlined a Marginal (Level 1/4 - 5%) Risk for heavy rainfall to exceed Flash Flood Warning criteria across much of Northern and Western Lower Michigan on Tuesday.

As it stands, we will likely face an all-hazards severe weather threat late Tuesday evening and into Wednesday morning. The best thing to do right now is to prepare. Have multiple ways to receive weather alerts, especially if you think you may be sleeping during the most likely time frame for severe weather. Consider purchasing a weather radio.

Stay tuned to the latest forecasts from the NWS and follow West Michigan Weather on social media! Be #WeatherAware! These trends will be monitored closely and we'll be able to provide much clearer guidance by tomorrow evening.

Wednesday 05/22/2024:

After the cold front moves through early Wednesday morning we'll see more seasonable weather across much of the area with highs in the mid 70's instead of the mid to upper 80's.

Still, a threat for severe weather, largely focused to the Southeast of our coverage area, will be possible once again Wednesday afternoon and evening.

The threat does clip the extreme Southeastern corner of Branch County in the far Southeast portion of our coverage area so we'll be continuing to watch this threat as well. Once again, all hazards will be in play for this risk as the cold front prompts additional shower and thunderstorm development in the wake of the previous night's shower and thunderstorm activity.

Details surrounding this risk will be heavily dependent on the evolution of Monday's, and especially Tuesday's, shower and thunderstorm activity. We'll hold off on a more specific discussion surrounding Wednesday for that reason.

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