Snow piles up in Michigan during arctic blast

National News

United States Postal Service letter carrier Keith Caniff sorts mail on his route in East Grand Rapids, Mich., Monday, Jan. 28, 2019. (Neil Blake/The Grand Rapids Press via AP)

The bitter cold is just part of the story in West Michigan. The region is also dealing with lake effect snow.

The temperature in Grand Rapids, Michigan is -3 degrees at 10 a.m. Wednesday. The wind chill is at -23.

A skycam in South Haven, Michigan shows clouds and lake effect snow over the eastern shores of Lake Michigan. A skycam over Chicago, Illinois on the other side of the lake shows sunny skies.

Lake effect snow forms when the bitter cold passes over nearly 85 miles of Lake Michigan between Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Muskegon, Michigan. The bitter cold picks up moisture – forms clouds – and dumps it on the land over West Michigan. Right now – only 34% of Lake Michigan is frozen over so there is plenty of open water. The lake effect snow is causing whiteout conditions with blowing and drifting snow. On Tuesday, the Grand Rapids area saw several multi-vehicle crashes due to the whiteout conditions.

The lake effect snow dumped between one to six inches over West Michigan on Tuesday. Another one to six is expected on Wednesday.

The season to date shows the impact of lake effect snow. Milwaukee has 28 inches of snow so far this season. Grand Rapids has nearly 45 inches.

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