Forecast: Wild Thursday ahead for SE Michigan

Winter Weather Advisory, High Wind Watch issued for Thursday


DETROIT – Everything thus far appears to be playing out as expected with Thursday's storm.

But first and foremost, be assured that Wednesday night will be quiet, and you'll have no weather problems with your morning commute to work.

Follow me on Twitter: @PaulGrossLocal4 -- I will post updates as the storm moves through.

Freezing rain will move into Lenawee County probably around 10 a.m. Thursday, and rapidly spread northeastward across the rest of the area. Areas south of 8 Mile Road will see less icing due to a quicker changeover to rain as temperatures nudge above freezing. North of 8 Mile Road, however, it'll take longer for the temperature to crack freezing, so the rain that falls will freeze longer, which is why the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for all of you north of 8 Mile.

The way I see this playing out is an initial heavy downpour of freezing rain, then a transition to rain from south to north as the afternoon progresses. So, for example, areas from southern Livingston, Oakland and Macomb counties will change over quicker than those of you in the northern part of these counties, and the same is true for you folks farther north toward Interstate 69. The warmer air streaming in also will generate a lot of fog Thursday afternoon and evening (warm, moist air over cold snow is a prime recipe for fog). Temperatures should rise to near 40 during the afternoon, and then into the mid 40s Thursday evening.

The next order of business is water: Some computer models project more than 3/4 of an inch of rain falling Thursday which, combined with melting snow, will generate a lot of water. There's even the chance for a sneaky thunderstorm Thursday evening! If you have storm drains on your street, I urge you to get out there and clear the snow off of them, you'll thank me later.

Related: Michigan Gov. Snyder: State preparing for possible flooding

Wind will ramp up Thursday evening and, as I told you on Tuesday, there are two opportunities for some severe wind gusts. First, the cold front itself (probably around midnight) could come through with a bang -- wind gusts possibly approaching 60 mph. Then, following the frontal passage, rapidly rising pressure will generate strong sustained wind around 40 mph, with gusts between 50 and 60 mph possible. Because of the possibility for damaging wind, the National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Watch for all of southeast Michigan from Thursday evening through Friday morning.

Friday will continue windy (although the wind should diminish a bit by late afternoon), with some scattered snow showers possible. Highs in the upper 30s.

Temperatures will then begin a steady slide downward as another piece of that Polar Vortex you heard so much about in January rears its ugly head again. Now keep in mind that 15-20 degree below normal temperatures in January are much colder than 15-20 degree below normal temps at the end of February.

This time, we'll have highs dropping from near 30 on Saturday to the mid 20s on Sunday and then in the teens to near 20 Monday through Wednesday, with overnight lows next week back down into the single numbers.

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