Storm Team 8: Falling temps turn rain to wintry mix

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Storm Team 8 has been talking about the potential for messy wintry weather all week and the storm system is finally here.

Winter weather warnings and advisories are in effect for all of West Michigan until Sunday morning.

The morning started off with moderate to heavy rain. Below is a list of some of the rainfall totals we saw from this morning — pretty incredible considering normally in January we only see around 2 inches of liquid precipitation total. Be on the lookout for flooded roads if you’re going to be out this afternoon.

Temperatures will continue to fall as the day progresses. Temperature futurecast shows most areas at or below freezing by 5 p.m., though it will likely still be just above freezing right along the Michigan-Indiana border.

The falling temperatures will continue to transition rain to freezing rain, then to sleet, then to snow.

The line between rain and frozen precipitation has been dropping south through the day and will continue to do so. Areas around and south of I-94 may not see any wintry precipitation until late afternoon or early evening Saturday due to the temperatures staying warmer longer.

The precipitation will become lighter and less widespread during the early afternoon. It will likely pick up again in intensity by early evening.

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The majority of the snow and ice accumulation will occur Saturday evening and overnight. By daybreak Sunday, only light snow will be left. The light snow will exit Sunday morning, and the afternoon could actually have some sunshine.

As Consumers Energy is preparing for possible outages, the threat of ice and snow has caused several schools, churches and businesses to cancel Saturday events. See the updating list of closings here on woodtv.com.

So how much precipitation are we going to see? The answer is not simple: It really depends on where you are. Areas north of I-96 that see the transition from rain to a wintry mix/snow earlier will have a better chance of higher snowfall accumulations. Newaygo, Muskegon, Oceana, and Montcalm counties stand the best chance of seeing 4 to 8 inches of snow.

In the I-96 corridor, 2 to 4 inches of snowfall will be possible, along with at least a few tenths of an inch of ice accumulation. Ionia County to the east into the thumb region could have isolated areas that see more than half an inch of ice.

Southern Michigan will see less snow and more rain. There could still be a few inches of snowfall there by Sunday morning, along with some ice accumulation.

Another thing to note is that winds will be increasing through Saturday. Sustained winds will be around 15-25 mph by Saturday evening and winds could gust over 30 mph in the evening and overnight.

A few degrees can make all the difference between a few inches of snow versus a few tenths of an inch of ice versus plain old rain.

Stay with Storm Team 8 throughout the day as we track the storm.

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