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Today will be the calm before the storm...

Wed, Dec  19, 2012 - By NOAA, edited by Mike Muha

Today will be the calm before the storm, with partly to mostly cloudy skies and rather mild temperatures. After that, a significant winter storm will impact the region very late tonight and through the day on Friday, with widespread heavy snow and windy conditions. Hazardous travel is a certainty, and power outages are possible, especially with very wet snow and wind gusts to 45 mph. Conditions will improve through the weekend, but lake snow showers will linger. A brief period of quiet conditions will return Monday and into Christmas Day, before our next storm system makes its approach.

Forecast for Lakes of the North xc ski race

Forecast for Lakes of the North, site of the this weekend's Winterstart Michigan Cup cross country ski race.

Low pressure developing over the southern Plains is forecast to lift into the Great Lakes region on Thursday, with the storm taking a track close to the Thumb of Michigan. Historically, this scenario is a big snow-maker for just about all of the area, and this will be the case again this time, with snow accumulations in excess of 10 inches expected across northwestern and north-central lower and eastern upper Michigan. Please see our Winter Weather Page for snow accumulation graphics.

cross country ski forecast of snow

Expected snow accumulation fomr 7:00am to 7:00pm on Thursday, December 20, 2012

In addition to heavy snow, winds will become very gusty out of the northwest Thursday night into Friday, generate blowing and drifting snow, with significant lake effect snow also possible through the weekend. Power outages are also possible, as much of the snow is expected to be of the heavy, wet variety.

Those with holiday travel plans across the area late in the week, or into the weekend, should keep a close eye on later forecasts as travel across northern Michigan will become hazardous.

Weather forecast