Significant winter storm to affect Michigan, much of Midwest

Meteorologist Paul Gross offers complete forecast for rain, snow this week in Michigan, Metro Detroit

Author: Paul Gross, Local 4 Meteorologist, @PaulGrossLocal4
Published On: Dec 19 2012 06:07:38 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 19 2012 06:45:41 PM EST
DETROIT -

The center of the storm is thus far developing exactly as projected by my computer models and, as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, is located over northwest Oklahoma. 

Read more: Snowstorm hits Rockies, heads to Midwest, Michigan

Believe it or not, that low pressure area will travel from Oklahoma to Michigan by Thursday night!

Read more: What to expect from snowstorm headed for Michigan

What's happening right now

Heavy snow is breaking out north of the storm, with extremely heavy snow now falling across much of Nebraska and into northwest Kansas.  That snow band will expand and move northeast, and northern Michigan will get into the act by tomorrow afternoon and tomorrow night.  But before it gets here, parts of Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Kansas will experience true blizzard conditions.

Rather than just describe the details, I'd like to SHOW them to you. 

Go to JustWeather.com for the latest snow advisories and forecast.

Noon Thursday

This first image is our computer model's latest projection for noon Thursday.  The low pressure area is southwest of Chicago.  Notice two things: The band of heavy rain moving into southeast Michigan, which should give us between 1/2 inch and 1 inch of rain, and the dark blue further north which is heavy snow.

8 p.m. Thursday

Here in this next image for 8 p.m. Thursday, the low has moved into southwest Michigan, and you see just scattered light rain here in southeast Michigan (a bit of a lull for us), and even some rain up north.  However, heavy snow is continuing in the Traverse City/Charlevoix area. 

7 a.m. Friday

By 7 a.m. Friday, the low has turned east and is centered over the Port Huron / Sarnia area.  All rain in Michigan has changed to snow, with the more significant snow blowing in off the Great Lakes.  Also notice the yellow pressure lines ... just to our west they get closer and closer together.  This is an indicator of the strong wind on the back side of the low that will be moving in.

3 p.m. Friday

In this final image, which is 3 p.m. Friday, those tightly packed pressure lines are over us, and our wind should be blowing a solid 20-30 mph, with gusts possibly approaching 40 mph for a brief time Friday. Snow is still falling in many areas, and the wind will be blowing that snow around.  Although forecasting accumulations is tough in a situation like this, it appears that some of you may get an inch or two, with lesser amounts the further south and east you get in southeast Michigan.

This will be our first real taste of winter this season, and how appropriate that winter officially begins at 6:12 a.m. Friday!