Snow could slow the afternoon rush

Plus, updating next week's big storm

Sean Gallup (Getty Images)
Sean Gallup (Getty Images)

DETROIT – Please read to the end of this article, as I have an important message later that I want to share. But I want to begin with this afternoon’s snow, since this is what most of you want to know first.

An approaching cold front will generate a band of snow that will cross southeast Michigan just in time to slow down the afternoon rush hour.  In this instance, it’s not so much the amount of snow coming ... I think accumulations will only be between one-half and one inch ... but the timing. 

As you know, all it has to do is rain and we have a slow rush hour, so a dusting of snow will have the same effect.

The snow will steadily diminish this evening, so I don’t expect any problems with tomorrow morning’s commute.  Lows in the low 20s (-6° Celsius for our Canadian friends across the river), will feel colder due to the northwest wind at 10 to 20 mph.

Even if our Friday starts mostly cloudy, I think we’ll get some sunshine during the day, so grab your sunglasses when you head out the door to work or school.  It’s going to be a chilly day, with highs only in the upper 20s (-2° Celsius), but the sunshine will certainly help.  West-southwest wind at 8 to 12 mph. 

Friday’s sunrise is at 7:50 AM, and Friday’s sunset is at 5:43 PM.  Are you noticing the days slowly getting longer?

Increasing clouds Friday night, with temps initially dropping into the mid 20s (-5° Celsius), then rising later at night back into the upper 20s (-2° Celsius).

It’s possible that we could see some light snow or snow showers Saturday morning (little or no accumulation), with the best chance to see any snowflakes being the farther north you live.  However, any snow that does materialize will move out by midday, and we may even see a peek of sun during the afternoon.  It’s going to be a warmer day, with highs in the low 40s (5° Celsius).

Partly cloudy Saturday night, with lows in the mid 30s (1° Celsius).

Sunday will start dry, but light rain showers should develop during the afternoon.  Highs in the mid 40s (8° Celsius).

Rain showers are likely Sunday night, with lows in the mid 30s (2° Celsius).

Even if we start Monday with a couple of showers, those should move out during the morning, and the rest of the day should be dry.  Highs in the low 40s (5° Celsius).

Mostly cloudy Monday night, with lows in the low 30s (0° Celsius).

Alright, time for my daily update about next week’s big storm.  As I discussed yesterday, my evaluation of the various computer models involves two things:  how consistent are they handling the weather pattern as each new run of each particular model comes in, and how consistent are the models with each other.  I have good news to report today:  the models’ overnight runs look pretty similar to their new runs this morning.  Furthermore, they are converging into some agreement on the big storm’s track…which continues to keep us on the warm side (meaning rain) and keeping near blizzard conditions well off to our west.

Here’s the map for Tuesday morning -- the low is over southwest Missouri -- much like the models depicted yesterday.

By Tuesday evening, the low has tracked well to our west, to just southwest of Chicago…with rain over us (keep in mind that this long range model does not show you various colors for rain, ice, and snow…all precipitation is the same color).  Meanwhile, heavy snow and windy conditions will move into parts of Wisconsin and Iowa.

On Wednesday morning, the low has moved to Alpena.  Its attendant cold front will have already swept through our area ...taking the rain with it.  It’ll become windy, and temperatures will fall.

Some snow showers are likely at some point Wednesday, but we won’t see anything like the heavy snow they’ll be seeing in the Upper Peninsula (and under the lake effect snow bands that will develop as those cold winds sweep across the warmer Great Lakes).

And this brings me to something very important I want to share with you. 

As usual, yesterday we posted on the Local 4 Facebook page that my daily weather article had just been posted on ClickOnDetroit.com. 

Some people started commenting on the post, including one person who attached an image supposedly showing a computer model that was projecting heavy snow for us from this storm.  I immediately posted a comment that no operational computer model that I had seen yesterday, or Tuesday, or Monday showed anything close to that. 

Listen, folks, the Internet gives us almost unlimited ability to get all sorts of weather information. However, there are also a bunch of people out there who like to pretend that they know something about weather, and they post stuff that has no connection to reality.  In fact, I hear regularly from colleagues of mine around the country who see the same thing ...some people actually post a computer model image from a storm that happened weeks or months ago as a joke. 

Well, the weather is not a joke.  And furthermore, just a couple of weeks ago, one of you e-mailed me about an AccuWeather forecaster’s video saying that southeast Michigan was going to get heavy snow from a storm ... when I didn’t see ANYTHING in the computer guidance suggesting this (and we ended up not getting anything significant). 

I even mentioned this to Ben Bailey, and he was equally incredulous. 

You’ve heard me say this before:  the only forecast I trust is my own.  If you are a weather enthusiast who likes to go around and look at online weather data or other forecasts, go right ahead and knock yourself out.  It’s fun.  But don’t assume that everything you see or hear is accurate…or even legitimate.  And especially if you see or hear something extreme, don’t just go around and telling others until you hear confirmation from whichever local meteorologist you trust. 

I would have a lot more free time at work if I didn’t have to answer tweets, e-mails and phone calls from people asking about a big storm coming that isn’t going to happen.

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