Major snowstorm may cause post-Christmas travel trouble in Michigan

Meteorologist Paul Gross has latest update on Wednesday's snow situation

Author: Paul Gross, Local 4 Meteorologist, @PaulGrossLocal4
Published On: Dec 25 2012 09:37:03 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 25 2012 09:47:46 PM EST
Snow
DETROIT -

After a quiet night on Christmas and a dry start to the day Wednesday, snow will start moving from south to north across southeast Michigan.

Snow should cross the Michigan - Ohio state line by mid-to-late morning, but areas near the I-69 corridor will see the snow hold off until mid-afternoon, and those of you north of there may not see your first flakes until late afternoon.

Snow will intensify during the afternoon and early evening and this, combined with 15-25 mph gusty winds from the northeast, will create blowing and drifting snow.  Travel conditions will deteriorate rapidly during this period. 

If you are traveling south and east from Detroit, conditions will be even worse in northern Indiana and Ohio. 

If you are planning a driving trip toward these areas tomorrow, I would seriously reconsider those plans. 

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for all of southeast Michigan for the duration of this storm.

Here's how the storm looks on one of my computer models. 

This first image below, centered at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, shows the darker shade of blue over the heart of the Metro Area - a heavier band of accumulating snow.  Also notice the isobars (pressure lines) in yellow...they are relatively close together, which means it'll be windy. 

We'll be feeling the full fury of the storm by this time.

Winter storm

The second image, at 7:00 a.m. Thursday, shows that the heavier snow is now off to our east, although we still have light snow falling in our area, and it'll still be windy. 

However, that wind blowing off Lake Huron will still generate some healthy snow squalls for those of you immediately downwind of the lake.

Winter storm 7 a.m. Thursday

This final image below, at 3:00 p.m. Thursday, shows that our wind has shifted just a tad to the northwest, which should take most of the lake effect snow east of Michigan. 

Folks in Lambton County, Ontario will probably still be seeing snow squalls.

Winter storm 3 p.m. Thursday

As for snow totals, heaviest accumulation will be on the east-side.  Right now, I think we'll see totals in the 4 to 6 inch range there, with some locally heavier amounts downwind of Lake Huron.  Further west, accumulation will decrease, to the point where areas such as Howell may only see 2 to 3 inches.  Of course, blowing snow will create higher drifts in some areas.

Although this storm means significant travel trouble for post-Christmas travelers, on the bright side, a lot of people are off work this week and don't have to drive in the snow if they don't want to. 

I know a lot of kids who can't wait to go sledding (after not being able to most of last winter), and skiing conditions are FANTASTIC all across the state this week. 

Finally, don't forget that this type of winter storm brings us snow that eventually will melt and replenish our lake levels. 

If you like playing on the water in the summer, you'd better hope for snow in the winter.

That's the latest about our approaching storm.  I'll be here in the weather office all night long and overnight as well, so nobody has a better handle on this storm than me. 

I'll have the latest for you on Local 4 News at 11, and on Local News Morning beginning at 4:30 a.m.

Don't forget that JustWeather.com is the nation's best weather website, and our travel page has everything you need to know before you travel, including a national map that has delay information for all airports. Check it out!