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      Is the heavy snow out west headed for us?

      Fall colors near Trenary on 10-4-13

      First off, the answer is no. Upper Michigan's first snow is not likely in the extended forecast. One of our models, the GFS, is saying the first snow will be on October 20-21, but that is so far out and uncertain that it's barely worth mentioning. For now, we just have to worry about rain.

      There's also a lot going on around the country. Look for links of interest after the forecast.

      October is the wettest month of the year in Upper Michigan and we should have plenty of rain this weekend. Saturday's rain will likely be a steady all-day rain with overcast skies and some fog. Rainfall may be moderate at times. September was much drier than average so we can use the rain. Highs will only be in the 50s.

      Saturday night, lows will only fall to around 50. Rain is likely to continue and again there may be moderate rainfall at times.

      On Sunday, some rain is likely to continue from overnight, but it will steadily weaken and move away east. Highs will be a bit warmer near 60.

      Sunday night, lows will cool down to the 40s to low 50s. Skies will remain mostly cloudy to overcast with some possible light rain continuing.

      Monday may also see a little more rain. Conditions look to warm up a bit toward next weekend.

      So despite the rain, our weather is not extreme, but it is extreme around other parts of the country.

      On Friday, a major winter storm produced blizzard conditions in parts of Wyoming and South Dakota. Lead, SD received 37" of snow! That area is basically shut down and covered in downed trees and power lines. Casper, WY set multiple records, including a record cold high temperature of only 31 degrees.

      Wind speeds in SD exceeded 70 mph. That's stronger than the sustained winds coming out of Tropical Storm Karen nearing landfall in the Gulf of Mexico.

      The same system that brought about the major winter storm is what is bringing us our rain, but Friday in Nebraska and Iowa it brought a lot more. A violent tornado swept through parts of both states destroying homes and injuring many. At times, it was a mile wide. The local National Weather Service offices are conducting tornado surveys to rate them on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

      A big thanks to NWS workers across the country who continue to work during the government shutdown! It's reasons like this that our forecasters are considered essential services.

      The Weather Channel has many pictures of the tornado damage and winter storm, which they have dubbed Atlas (Note that the name Atlas is not official and is not recognized by the U.S. government or climate records).

      Lastly, check out this gallery of images from this week's aurora from Many of the pictures are from Michigan.

      For more weather info, join me on Facebook and Twitter! Send me your weather pics, especially of fall colors, and use #MIwx when on Twitter.