Forecast: Dry weekend ahead in metro Detroit

But get ready for a week of dreary weather

By Paul Gross - Meteorologist

DETROIT - Before getting into the forecast, just a quick word about how razor-thin the margin of error sometimes is when I prepare a weather forecast.

If you recall from my forecast yesterday, I mentioned that sunshine would return by late afternoon, and we'd have a high near 60 degrees IF the sun came out by 4 p.m. Well, we were still cloudy at 4 p.m., with temperatures mired in the mid 40s. However, the sun came out at Grand Rapids, and their temperature at the same time was 59 degrees.

That late afternoon sun can make all the difference in the world, and it's amazing how much of a temperature difference there can be with just ninety minutes difference in the time clouds move out.

Skies will clear out for a while tonight, and then become partly cloudy late at night. Lows in the low 40s, with a west wind at 7 to 12 mph.

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Weekend forecast:

Partly cloudy to start our Saturday, then becoming mostly sunny. Highs in the mid 50s (upper 40s in the Thumb region where a bit more cloud cover may hang tough during the day). Northwest wind at 10-15 mph. Mostly clear Saturday night, with lows in the mid 30s. Then partly cloudy on Sunday, with highs in the mid 50s.

Next week's forecast:

As I've discussed all week long, a strong, deep upper level low pressure area will develop and slowly meander from the Central Plains to the Great Lakes -- and it's going to take all week (literally) for it to move, because this low is cut-off from the main jet stream steering currents aloft.

That's why some genius many years ago decided to name it a Cut-off Low. We will have rain chances from Monday through Friday, and possibly even Saturday. Now, having said this, it's not going to rain continuously from Monday through the end of the week. Rather, little spokes of what we meteorologists call vorticity will rotate around the low, and each one that moves through southeast Michigan will bring a period of rain with it. In between those ribbons of vorticity, we'll have some dry periods.

As I sit here at my computer Friday afternoon and study all of the computer models, it's impossible for me to time each batch of rain for the coming week…that timing I'll have to handle on a day to day basis next week, and I'll get as specific as I can as far in advance as possible. I know that many of you have outdoor plans, most notably our schools' sport team coaches and little league coaches, so I know how frustrating this is for you. Highs next week will generally be in the low (possibly mid) 50s, with overnight lows in the low to mid 40s. And, adding insult to injury, some of the days (probably Monday and Tuesday) will be breezy, too.

However, I really want to leave you with some good news. So, I'll mention that one of my super long range computer models finally suggests the long-awaited transition to warmer, more seasonable spring temperatures the week after next. Nothing is guaranteed this far in advance, of course, but this is certainly something we can all look forward to and hope for. My attitude heading into next week is that Mother Nature is going to give us one more stiff test before we get to that light at the end of the tunnel.

Have a great weekend!

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