Metro Detroit under high wind advisory as storm heads to west Michigan

Hani Barghouthi
The Detroit News

A wind advisory has been issued for a wide swath of southern Michigan ahead of a winter storm that is expected to bring blizzard conditions and up to a foot of snow to parts of west Michigan.

The National Weather Service issued the advisory from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday for southwest winds from 20 mph to 30 mph with gusts reaching 50 mph expected 

The advisory stretches from Midland and Bay City to the north and Monroe and Lenawee counties to the south and includes the Interstate-96 corridor from Howell to Detroit.

A wind advisory is in effect Wednesday through most of the day for southeast Michigan.

The weather service said the winds could blow around unsecured objects and are expected to be strong enough to bring down tree limbs and cause power outages.

Minor snow accumulation around a quarter of an inch is possible in the region south of Pontiac, said Kevin Kacan, a meteorologist with the weather service in White Lake Township, and the advisory said the light snow and high winds could make visibility an issue for drivers in and around southeast Michigan.

Temperatures are expected to drop starting Wednesday but will remain in the double digits for southeast Michigan through Monday, at least, the weather service forecasts. 

In west Michigan, however, a winter storm warning is in effect from 4 a.m. Wednesday to 7 a.m. Thursday. The warning is in effect for Mason, Lake, Oceana, Newaygo, Muskegon, Ottawa, Kent and Allegan counties. Forecasters Tuesday night were projecting snowfall totals of 9 to 12 inches in Muskegon, 8 to 12 inches in Ludington and 6 to 9 inches in Grand Rapids.

A winter weather advisory is in effect further south to Kalamazoo, where 1 to 6 inches of snow is expected.

The weather service said the snow combined with high winds are expected to create near blizzard conditions with whiteouts across the lakeshore.

Heavy snow will start around sunrise and last through the day along the lakeshore in west Michigan.

"To keep it simple, tomorrow's gonna be a dangerous travel day for the lakeshore," the weather service's Grand Rapids office posted to Twitter Tuesday evening. "Heavy snow will start around sunrise and last through the day. Winds will gust to 40-45mph with visibility near zero at times. Please use extreme caution if you are on the road tomorrow!"

In another tweet, the agency wrote, "Travel will be dangerous along and west of US-131. Stay home if you can."

Temperatures in the region may drop to single digits Wednesday, with a low of 6 that night. 

A gale warning is in effect on Lake Huron starting 4 a.m. Wednesday, with 13-foot waves possible until 4 a.m. Thursday. Maximum winds are expected around 3 p.m. Wednesday with the largest waves expected around 5 p.m.