Winter Weather Advisory in effect

School closings likely next week in Metro Detroit

By Paul Gross - Meteorologist

DETROIT - The 1 to 3 inches of overnight snow should taper off by mid-morning Saturday as yet another cold front crashes through.

While it's possible that some lake effect snow showers may break off from the western side of the state and make it to our area, any additional accumulations here in southeast Michigan Saturday afternoon should be relatively minor.

Saturday will start with temperatures in the upper teens to near 20, then fall steadily, especially during the afternoon, to around 10 by dinnertime. West-northwest wind at 15 to 20 mph will generate wind chills between zero and 10 below.

Sunday will start dry, then snow should develop around midday and continue into the evening. Another 1 to 3 inches of accumulation is likely. By Sunday night, January 2014 will become one of only five months in recorded Detroit weather history with more than 30 inches of total snow! Highs in the upper teens.

Bitterly cold on Monday with scattered light snow showers. Temperatures holding steady in the single numbers all day long, then falling to between -5 and -10 Monday night. Wind chills by Tuesday morning will drop to around -25, meaning that many schools will likely close Tuesday.

Partly cloudy and bitterly cold on Tuesday. Highs near 6 (potentially breaking the record for lowest high temperature for this date), with lows Tuesday night once again between -5 and -10. Wind chills will again fall to near -25 Tuesday night, so more schools will likely close on Wednesday.

Partly cloudy and still bitterly cold on Wednesday. Highs near 8, with lows Wednesday night falling to near or below zero. It's going to be a close call with wind chills by Thursday morning…they could drop to around -20, so this will be a tough call for schools deciding whether to have school or not on Thursday.

A chance of snow showers on Thursday, and we finally reach double digits with highs in the mid to upper teens.

I've had many, many people ask me how this type of extended severe cold snap can happen at the same time that our planet's climate is warming. Here's the short answer: The warming climate does not mean an end to winter. Rather, it means an increase in heat extremes (which we have been experiencing), and a decrease in cold extremes (which we are also seeing). IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT WE WILL NOT HAVE SEVERE COLD -- JUST LESS OF IT. We haven't seen this type of winter cold in a long time.

And now, here's something that will surprise you: Global warming is actually causing us to have snowier winters. As the climate warms, more ocean water evaporates into the atmosphere, which then becomes available for storms to use in generating precipitation. It's documented fact that the planet's atmospheric humidity is increasing, and we're seeing more extreme precipitation events as a result.

So, when we have a winter where the storm track sticks around the Great Lakes (like this winter), we get more snow than we used to. Don't believe me? Four of Detroit's top ten all-time snowiest winters (dating back to 1874) have occurred in the past 10 years! In fact, we set an all-time record for snow in back-to-back winters in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009.

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter at @PaulGrossLocal4.

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