What is a Weather Alert Day?

The Doppler 9&10 Weather Team defines a Weather Alert Day as one with significant weather. MAJOR problems are forecast with concerns for life, structure, and/or Travel. It could be hours to days ahead of the event.

A Weather Alert Day can be related to:

  • Severe Thunderstorms
  • Winter Storms
  • High Winds
  • Flooding Rains

If we expect an event will have a major impact on Northern Michigan, plan on a Weather Alert Day.

Bill Helsel CadillacThe Doppler 9&10 Weather Team defines a Weather Alert Day as one with significant weather.

MAJOR problems are forecast with concerns for life, structure, and/or Travel.

It could be hours to days ahead of the event.

A Weather Alert Day can be related to: Severe Thunderstorms – Winter Storms – High Winds – Flooding Rains

If we expect an event will have a major impact on Northern Michigan, plan on a Weather Alert Day.

Picture by: Bill Helsel

Why do we Issue them?

The Doppler 9&10 Weather Team issues them when your safety is of high concern. Our focus is on severe weather events that are forecast to create significant problems. A good example is lake effect snow or a small system dropping several inches of snow. That is nothing out of the ordinary for Northern Michigan, so no Weather Alert. But, a storm producing more than 6" for the region would have a Winter Weather Alert as significant problems are expected and your safety is of concern.

The Doppler 9&10 Weather Team issues them when your safety is of high concern.

Our focus is on severe weather events that are forecast to create significant problems.

A good example is lake effect snow or a small system dropping several inches of snow.

That is nothing out of the ordinary for Northern Michigan, so no Weather Alert.

But, a storm producing more than 6″ for the region would have a Winter Weather Alert as significant problems are expected and your safety is of concern.

What Does it Look Like?

Alert Day Today

Here is what you’ll see when we issue Weather Alert Days.Alert Day For Web

In the upper right-hand corner is a small icon on the banner.

And our forecast pages’ weather forecast are highlighted in red.

They are displayed like this only when the alert day is Today, Tonight, or Tomorrow.

If the Alert day is later in the week, the day of concern is highlighted in red on the 7 Day, like the example below. This not the current forecast.

Some of our Winter Criteria

In the winter, deciding what a weather alert day is not simple. For some, a few inches happens a lot and Northern Michiganders can handle the snow quite well.

So, Just a few inches of snow doesn’t qualify for A Winter Alert Day, the exception is when it’s the first of the season. Those are the days everyone needs a heads up and plan on extra time to get their winter driving skills back.

Just having strong winds in the winter can mean a Weather Alert Day. When strong winds are forecast, blowing and drifting snow can create major issues. Roads can become treacherous quickly along with bitterly cold wind chills.

There’s no question that blizzard conditions warrant a Weather Alert Day.  The combination of wind and snow forecast can make for whiteouts and horrible driving conditions. Essentially, the day’s travel is not recommended.

Some of our Summer Criteria

Flooding MidlandWhen we are talking about Severe Storms, the criteria are more defined.  The Doppler 9&10 Weather Team look at the set up for severe weather.

If we expect a line or wave of severe storms with damaging winds over 58 mph, you can expect a Weather Alert Day.  The key thing is we expect more than just an isolated severe storm.

When it comes to severe weather it just doesn’t have to be wind. This includes large hail or flooding rains.  Flooding concerns are especially high in the spring and early summer.

That’s due to the melting snow and heavy spring storms. It’s even more of a problem if Northern Michigan has had a lot of rain and the ground just can’t handle more of it.

When flooding rains are forecast, plan on a Weather Alert Day.

Other Weather Alert Day Criteria

Sunset Saturday

When temperatures or wind chills drop in the winter, concerns about keeping warm rise quickly.

Temperatures of -5 to 20 are cold but are not out of the ordinary. Problems really come up when temperatures drop below -10.

If the mercury drops down to those levels or below, a Weather Alert Day will be issued even if it may only impact one to two parts of our region.

The same concern goes for the summer heat! When temperatures or heat indices rise above 100 degrees your health is a high priority and an Alert Day will be issued.

Fire weather conditions are another concern. We are lucky fire weather doesn’t get that bad, too often.

But, when things have been dry for a while, there are strong gusty winds, and it’s warm,  plan on a Weather Alert Day.

 

We want to make sure you’re on top of things when it comes to severe weather, no matter the season.

All of the criteria above was not developed by the National Weather Service but by The Doppler 9&10 Weather Team.

We decided the above criteria had the most impact, requiring your utmost attention for you and your family’s safety.