Western Michigan weather brings potential hail and wind storms

Strong to severe storms will move through western Michigan this week.

According to National Weather Service forecasts, the systems bring a “small” risk of short-lived, isolated, intense storms in Benzie, Manistee, Lake, Osceola, Mecosta and other counties.

Regional forecasts indicate the possibility of damaging winds and hail expected along the west coast of the Lower Peninsula Tuesday through Wednesday.

Temperatures are also expected to drop from around 80 degrees to the 50s or 60s as a strong cold front moves through Tuesday evening, “potentially bringing a line of strong to severe storms through the area.”

“Damaging winds will again be the main hazard, although hail and a tornado cannot again be ruled out,” a National Weather Service statement read in part.

Onekama’s forecast is similar to much of Lake Michigan’s coastal areas for Tuesday, with showers and possible thunderstorms. Precipitation amounts between a quarter and a half inch are possible.

Winds are expected to increase Tuesday evening through Wednesday at speeds of 5 to 25 km per hour, with gusts up to 40 km per hour.

In the northern Lower Peninsula, the hazardous weather outlook lists Traverse City, Cadillac, Petoskey, Gaylord and Alpena as at the highest risk in that region.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the rest of the work week will see clear skies and highs around 70 degrees in the Manistee, Onekama and Frankfort areas.

The Baldwin area can expect clear skies with a high of 71 degrees on Thursday, but rain and storms are possible the rest of the week.

Reed City and Big Rapids can expect storms and showers through Wednesday with clear skies and highs in the 70s starting Thursday.

Recent rainfall may have eased the prolonged moderate drought that blanketed part of the western Lower Peninsula. According to the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor maps, there are no longer pockets of moderate drought in the Lower Peninsula.

Earlier this year, Manistee County experienced 100% under moderate drought and abnormally dry conditions.