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Lake Michigan: Weather Boon and Bane

 
Lake Michigan: Weather Boon and Bane
Posted January 24th, 2014 @ 11:04am by WOOD Radio News Team

The massive amount of water in that big lake between Michigan and Wisconsin stored a lot of heat this past summer, and while the frozen lake edges may not make it seem possible, there is quit a bit of moisture getting into the cold polar air and giving us snow to play in.

It also gives us treacherous conditions, especially when the wind is heavy and gusty.  

WOOD TV's Chief Meteorologist  Bill Steffen told WOOD Radio's Justin Barclay Friday morning that a massive amount of snow blew off the lake and created catastrophic road conditions within seconds along I-94 near Michigan City, Indiana, the day before.    Steffen said that a couple from Grand Rapids --Thomas and Marilyn Wolma-- were among the three who were killed because the wind drove as much as four inches of snow per hour to the area for a brief time.   

"You're gonna be sailing along fine, then a big wind gust stirs up snow and your visibility drops quite a bit," he said.  Steffen said visibility dropped to 250 yards and, from the drivers' perspective, the road became snow covered "within yards".

He expects the heaviest winds in West Michigan between early and mid-afternoon Friday, with heavy snowfall coming between nine and ten o'clock tonight.

Then "Sunday, the next system comes our way."  He says some areas will see three -to- six inches total accumulation.

But wait-- There's more!!

Monday and Tuesday will be bitterly cold.  Steffens expects Chicago thermometers will struggle to get above zero Tuesday.  We may not be that cold in West Michigan, however, because  of the warming effect of our neighboring big lake.

 

{photo:  WOOD TV}

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