DETROIT - As expected, part one of an approaching storm system produced a general 2- to 5-inch snowfall Monday night across the area, with the lowest amounts to the south and the highest amounts to the north.
Part two is the rain that's now in the area.
Part three will be the wind, which will increase markedly Tuesday afternoon and into the evening and could produce gusts approaching 60 mph in some areas. Wind gusts from a severe thunderstorm are at or above 58 mph, so Tuesday's approaching wind gusts have the potential to cause damage, including downing limbs and power lines.
There will no doubt be some power outages resulting from Tuesday's wind event. Why are we so confident about strong wind gusts materializing? Forecast computer model data is projecting wind aloft, which suggests 70 to 80 mph winds only 2,000 feet above the ground. Any shower can tap into that and bring the strong wind to the surface (which is then slowed by surface friction because of trees, terrain and buildings).
If the models are correct, it shouldn’t be hard to generate powerful surface wind gusts. Make sure that garbage pails, recycling bins and any other items that could blow away are in the garage or weighted down.
It will be very windy through the first half of the night, with the most dangerous wind gusts late Tuesday afternoon and into the evening. Gusts should diminish later at night.
Rain showers will end once the cold front passes, and skies should at least partially clear. Lows will drop to near freezing in the heart of our urban heat island, but below freezing into the upper 20s to near 30 degrees (minus 2 to minus 1 degree Celsius) outside the heat island.
There's a lot of water on area roads because of the rain and snowmelt. If temperatures drop below freezing before the water evaporates, widespread ice could develop later Tuesday night. Drivers should be cautious.
Wednesday might start with some sunshine, but clouds will increase and rain showers are possible by late afternoon or evening. High temperatures in the low to mid-40s (7 to 8 degrees Celsius) will occur in the evening. Wind will blow from the south-southeast at 10 to 15 mph.
Wednesday’s sunrise is at 8:01 a.m., and Wednesday’s sunset is at 5:22 p.m.
Rain showers are likely Wednesday night, with lows in the upper 30s (4 degrees Celsius).
Rain showers might mix with freezing rain or snow showers on Thursday, with temperatures slowly falling throughout the day.
It will become partly cloudy Thursday night, with lows in the mid- to upper teens (minus 8 degrees Celsius).
Friday will be partly cloudy and much colder, with highs in the mid-20s (minus 4 degrees Celsius).
It will be mostly cloudy on Saturday, with highs in the upper 20s (minus 2 degrees Celsius). One long-range model suggests the possibility of some light snow showers, but right now, the day looks dry.
Sunday will be partly cloudy, with highs in the low 30s (0 degrees Celsius).
The forecast for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday is a bit up in the air, but it looks to feature increasing clouds with the chance of a rain shower later in the day. Highs will be in the low 40s (5 degrees Celsius).