Winter storm on schedule for Metro Detroit

Conditions across Metro Detroit to deteriorate Tuesday afternoon


DETROIT – You will have no problems Tuesday morning.  In fact, the day should even start with some sunshine. 

However, clouds will increase throughout the day. I still think we'll be dry at lunchtime, but at that time all eyes will shift south ... that's the direction our weather will be coming from. 

View: Counties under Winter Storm Watches/Warnings

I expect that those of you near the Michigan-Ohio state line will see rain and/or snow developing between Noon and 3 p.m., with this area of precipitation rapidly spreading northward (you should keep checking the awesome radar maps here on our weather page tomorrow afternoon, and consider leaving work before the precipitation arrives). 

Related: Storm slams Great Plains region, again

While areas north of 8 Mile Road will probably be all snow, those of you south of 8 Mile Road will see an interesting thermodynamic process occur: any rain you initially get will actually start as snow when it falls from the clouds and then melt into raindrops on its way down into above freezing air. 

However, the process of melting cools the atmosphere, so any rain should eventually change into snow and, by evening, all of us should be getting snow. 

Go to JustWeather.com for the latest forecast and radar images.

The initial burst of snow will be very heavy...we'll probably get snow at the rate of an inch per hour for about three hours, so the Tuesday afternoon rush hour looks pretty messy at this point.  Then a steady, lighter accumulating snow will continue for the rest of Tuesday night. 

Check: School closings

Highs Tuesday in the mid 30s from Detroit southward, and only in the low 30s further north.  Wind will blow from the east-northeast and increase to 10-15 mph during the afternoon.

Total accumulation from when the snow begins through what we get Wednesday should average a solid 5-6" across the area, with the heavier amounts being the further north and east you are in Metro Detroit.

The snow we get will be a heavier, wet snow ... not the fluffy stuff we've seen most of this month.  Elderly people and those with a history of heart problems or in a high risk category for heart problems should reconsider trying to shovel this snow yourself.  Give a kid down the street a few bucks to do the job for you.

This is not the "typical" winter storm that normally affects us...there are many aspects about it that make the snow accumulation forecast particularly challenging.  Things could change, and we'll certainly keep you updated both on the air and online.

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