WEST MICHIGAN — All eyes at the FOX 17 Weather Center are on the system expected to hit West Michigan on Wednesday. This system can occur with a winter-like mix of rain, freezing rain, snow, and high winds. In terms of travel impact, the roads are most likely to smooth out Wednesday night through Thursday morning. However, the amount of freezing rain and ice accumulation are all affected by temperature. Even a few degrees of change in temperature can make a big difference when the road is icy.
Predictive models predict the system will develop west of Lake Michigan on Tuesday, eventually moving to southwestern Michigan early Wednesday morning. Initially, precipitation will be limited early Wednesday, with mostly rain. Wednesday’s early morning commute is likely to be in good conditions, barring an isolated smooth spot due to possible minor freezing rain near Interstate 96.
The sky dries out during the day on Wednesday before a sharp spike in humidity on Wednesday night. Heavy rain after 8 p.m. Wednesday turns to freezing rain and snow near Interstate 96 near midnight.
Thursday morning commutes are likely to be hit the hardest due to the cooler air blowing in. Areas near Interstate 96 are most likely to experience freezing rain and sleet as transitions are more likely to occur. Freezing rain or sleet can produce black ice on roads, especially when temperatures drop below freezing near the ground. The skies will dry again during the day on Thursday, with some snow showers Thursday night through Friday.
In addition to rain, ice and snow, gusts of wind will also increase! Gusts could reach 40 mph on Wednesday and Thursday. This can also make travel more difficult.
Overall, take your time while traveling during this system. Below is a breakdown of some major highways in Western Michigan Wednesday through Thursday.
The biggest impact on travel is on US-131 north of Plainwell and I-96 between Muskegon and Lansing.
For the latest updates, always download the free FOX 17 Weather app or visit: www.fox17online.com/weather/.