Winter storm watch in effect this weekend in SE Michigan

Freezing rain expected Saturday; flood watch also in effect for some areas


DETROIT – Several southeastern Michigan counties are under a winter storm watch starting Saturday afternoon and lasting through Sunday morning.

Hazardous winter weather is expected including freezing rain which is expected to come down Saturday afternoon.

Lapeer, Livingston, Washtenaw, Macomb, St. Clair, Oakland and Genesee counties are all under the winter storm watch.

Meanwhile, several areas including Wayne and Monroe counties are under a flood watch this weekend.

Paul Gross gives weekend forecast

First of all, while some light freezing drizzle or light freezing rain is possible along and north of the Interstate 69 corridor tonight, this is not an ice storm. At worst, some slick spots develop, which is why a WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY remains in effect Friday evening. Precipitation should start diminishing after midnight, and I anticipate that we'll start Saturday with a break in the action.

The main event is the storm coming for Saturday afternoon into Sunday morning. This storm will have a LOT of moisture with it. A FLOOD WATCH has been issued for Wayne, Monroe, and Lenawee Counties, as those areas could very well get between one and two INCHES of rain which, combined with melting snow and a frozen ground that cannot absorb water like it can in the summer, will cause considerable runoff and flooding potential.

Farther north is where the forecast gets very complicated with a best case scenario being warmer air and "just" rain, and a worst case scenario being one of those once every five to ten year severe ice storms. When I tell you that we're right on the edge, it's not a cop out: you know that 32 degrees is the freezing point for water, and that freezing line will set up somewhere across southeast Michigan. The farther south that line is, the better the chance for an ice storm. To highlight at least the potential for this, a WINTER STORM WATCH has been issued for all counties except for the Flood Watch counties listed above.

Saturday afternoon, what most likely will be just rain will move from south to north into the area. Then, it's going to be a race against time Saturday night...colder air sliding down into our area, versus the moisture leaving the area Sunday morning. If the departing moisture wins the race, we get more plain rain, and less ice. If the colder air wins the race, we get significant icing. It's not clear right now which will occur.

As of 6:45 p.m. Friday night when I am writing this, it appears that the best chance to see some solid freezing rain is west of US-23 and north of M-59. But this could change drastically based upon where that 32 degree line sets up.

Snow is not part of our weekend whatsoever. The best chance to get any snow would be snow showers sometime Sunday night into Monday as the lake effect machine gets cranked up to our west.

Story: Flood watch in effect this weekend

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