Winter storm impacting southeast Michigan

Conditions will worsen tonight


DETROIT – Copious amounts of moisture streamed into our area first thing this morning as a strengthening storm system gathered steam heading from the deep south toward Ohio. 

If you were following this via the awesome radar display on our free Local4Casters Weather App (just search WDIV in the app store), you probably saw the large area of rain approaching the state line, and then quickly changing into the initial burst of heavy snow that many of us saw. 

What happened?  As expected, the air over us was relatively dry, and as that rain started falling into that dry air, it evaporated at first.  So why did that cause snow?  Because evaporation causes cooling.  You experience this personally every time you step out of the shower or a pool:  your skin feels cool because of the water evaporating off of it.  So, that evaporation this morning cooled the air column below freezing, which then changed the rain to snow!

As warm air continued its push into southeast Michigan, some of us changed to rain...especially parts of Lenawee, Monroe, Wayne and Macomb Counties, and to our south and east into Ontario.  Areas getting rain will see that change back to snow by this evening. 

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"As far as accumulations go, the all-snow parts of Metro Detroit will probably average somewhere between 6" and 10", with the highest amounts likely north of M-59." Areas that got mostly rain today will probably see somewhere in the range of 2" to 4" overnight.

Temperatures near freezing this afternoon will slip a degree or two overnight, which will help the snow stick.  Wind is also going to pick up, likely gusting near or over 30 mph.

PLEASE remember that this is a heavy, wet snow...you will use a lot of exertion shoveling it.  If you are elderly, or have health problems (especially heart or respiratory issues), you shouldn't remove this snow yourself.  The father of a close friend of mine ignored this advice several years ago and started shoveling his own sidewalk after a heavy snow, and had a fatal heart attack.  Don't become another statistic...pay the kid down the street a few bucks to have him or her do it.  And let's all look out for our elderly neighbors and help them out.

Finally, twice today I saw people driving with completely snow covered rear windshields (it astounds me that people can be that stupid).  If you don't have time to clear the snow from ALL of your windows and headlights/taillights, then you have no business being on the road.  And by the way, the police will pull you over and ticket you for driving with an obstructed view.  Try talking your way out of THAT ticket.

Snow will start our day on Thursday, but should steadily end from west to east by lunchtime or so.  It'll continue to be a windy day, with temperatures nearly steady in the low to mid 30s (0°-1° Celsius for our Canadian neighbors).  We may even see a peek of sun before the end of the afternoon.

Friday and Saturday look dry, with at least partial sunshine.  After a chilly day Friday with highs in the upper 20s (-2° Celsius), highs rebound to near 40° (4° Celsius) on Saturday...although Saturday will become windy.

Clouds will increase on Sunday, and it'll continue windy, with highs in the mid 40s (7° Celsius).

Sunday night is a little tricky, but it looks as if we'll see snow showers (possibly beginning as rain showers), with some snow accumulation possible...not a ton of snow, but enough to grease up the Monday morning rush hour.

Then, Monday and Tuesday look dry, with highs in the mid 30s (1° Celsius).

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Get more information on the storm here.

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