To any lover of sunshine (and who isn't a member of that club?), the phrase "cut off low" should send chills down the spine. In meteorological venacular, the term refers to an area of low pressure in the upper atmosphere that becomes cut off -- or separated -- from the jet stream. Because the air around these low pressure centers is unstable, the surrounding atmosphere is cool and damp; the weather is gloomy.
Typically, low pressure centers are carried around the globe by the jet stream. As a result, they don't hang around one locale for more than a day or two. The cool, gloomy, wet weather pattern changes, as the low is moved along by the jet. But when a low becomes cut off from the jet stream, it often meanders about one region, in worst-case scenarios, for as long as several days. Those unfortunate enough to be stuck under a cut off low can expect an extended period of gray skies.
It looks like that's our fate for much of next week. Forecast models show an upper low swinging out of the Southwest early next week, bringing a round of wintry weather to West Michigan Tuesday. The low then becomes separated from the jet spinning over southern Quebec/the Northeast for a few days. At this time, it looks like the low will remain cut off from the jet stream from Wednesday through next weekend. That will keep our air quite chilly for the end of February and beginning of March, and keep a pretty good chance for lake effect snow showers going for several days. So, it seems that after spending the first half of winter wondering if/when we would get some cold and snowy weather, we now know that Mother Nature was saving her "best" for last!