Winter storm bearing down on southeast Michigan

Meteorologist Paul Gross assesses the storm and has your detailed forecast

Author: Paul Gross, Local 4 Meteorologist, @PaulGrossLocal4
Published On: Feb 06 2013 07:04:57 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 06 2013 07:14:55 PM EST
Weather radar Michigan
DETROIT -

I've been telling you about this storm for many days now, and today it's looking to be even stronger than I thought earlier in the week.

Here's what you need to know.  First, you have nothing to worry about either tonight or tomorrow.  Although there could be some light snow along and north of I-69, this is not the "big" snow I'm watching.  In fact, most of the immediate metro area should be dry during the day tomorrow.

The snow you need to be concerned about will arrive Thursday evening...hopefully after rush hour.  Snow will quickly increase and become heavy throughout the night.  I think there's a better than reasonable chance that many school districts in the northern half of the Local 4 area will close schools Friday, giving some of your kids a three day weekend.

But the rest of us who will have to be on the roads Thursday night or Friday morning have plenty to worry about.  The tricky part of establishing how much snow to forecast is the potential for some sleet (or even freezing rain) to mix in south of 8 Mile.  There is only so much moisture in the atmosphere to turn into snow, and if some of that falls as sleet or freezing rain, then this cuts back on the snow amounts.  Right now, I see areas south of 8 Mile probably accumulating snow in the 2-4" range, with the higher amounts north of I-94, and the lesser amounts south of I-94. 

Further north into Macomb, Oakland, and Livingston Counties, I'm looking at a 4-6" stripe of mostly snow, with the higher amounts being the further north you go.  North of M-59 and into the I-69 corridor and northward is where the heaviest snow will be.  At this point, I see you folks getting 6-8" of snow, with more than 8" possible further north into Sanilac County and points west of there.  To highlight the potential for hazardous travel conditions Thursday night and Friday morning, the National Weather Service has issued a WINTER STORM WATCH for areas north of I-94.

More: Latest forecast and radar images from JustWeather.com

Temperatures during this snow will be in the 20s, and there are both positives and negatives to this.  The negative is that, unlike the powdery, fluffy snowfalls we've seen since late last week, this snow will be somewhat wetter and heavier to shovel.  You might have broomed off the snow this week (and somebody told me yesterday that he had great success using his leaf blower!), but you'll have to shovel this one. 

It is important to be very careful if you are elderly or have a heart condition when trying to shovel this snow.  My recommendation is to find a neighborhood kid to do the job for you...he or she will be happy to make a few bucks.

The positive to this snow is that kids will have a wonderful Winter Wonderland to play in this weekend (not to mention paradise for you skiers).  Also, remember that  it's snowstorms like this that bring much needed moisture to Michigan that eventually replenishes our lake levels when the snow melts.  I've said many times that if you like to play on the water in the summer, you'd better hope for snow during the winter.