Late-season winter storm is coming: Where the heaviest snow will pile up

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We’re seeing some slight changes in the forecast to Friday’s late-season winter storm. The heaviest snow bands in the forecast – up to 8 inches are forecast for some areas of mid-Michigan – could shift south a bit, bringing heavier snow toward Grand Rapids, or areas just north of there.

This afternoon’s model runs should give us a more detailed forecast, but here is what the National Weather Service (NWS) teams across Michigan are seeing so far:

After a brisk day today with below-average temperatures, the storm system is to move into Michigan late tonight and set up across the state by early Friday.

Meteorologists have been calling this a storm packing 4+ inches of snow, but there also is expected to be a heavy band of snow with this system. The most likely place for that heavy accumulation is a swath across the middle of the Lower Peninsula, from Muskegon and Oceana counties, then east into Clare, Isabella and Gratiot counties. If the track shifts south a bit, that heavier snow would fall closer to Grand Rapids.

It could mean snowfall of as much as 6 to 8 inches north of I-96 and south of U.S. 10, the NWS said.

Flint could be in the 3 to 5-inch range. Areas in metro Detroit and southern Michigan could see 1 to 3 inches of snow. Those southern-tier counties could also see a rain-snow mix later on Friday. Sleet is possible, too.

Forecast for March 22, 2024

Southeast Michigan’s snow forecast for Friday, March 22. Image provided by the National Weather Service.NWS

Northern Michigan and the eastern Upper Peninsula are not expected to see heavy snowfall with this system, especially if the storm shifts its track farther south. But the incoming snow still could lead to messy roads.

“Even if snow accumulations end up lower than expected, roads could still become slick and crummy for both the Friday morning and evening commutes,” the NWS meteorologists in Gaylord said.

Across the bulk of the Upper Peninsula, 1 to 3 inches of snow is forecast, with the higher amounts falling across the central and southern counties. “The snow may result in some hazardous driving conditions. If you’re out tonight or Friday remember to give yourself extra time, leave extra space between vehicles on the road, and drive with your headlights on,” the NWS team in Marquette said.

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