Metro Detroit Weather: Back to reality

Rain continues, cooler air ahead


DETROIT – As expected, we’ve had an all-day rain across most of the area. While it certainly has been a crummy day from an esthetic standpoint, these occasional, long term, steady rain events (as long as they are not heavy enough to cause flooding, which this didn’t) are actually beneficial in helping to recharge our soil moisture.

I’ve explained before that we need to get some moisture into our soil before the ground freezes for the winter because, once that happens, any rain we get in the winter just runs off. It doesn’t soak in.

If the ground freezes when the soil below is dry, and we end up with a dry spring with no moisture reserve in the soil to help us out, then we’re in big trouble and off-and-running toward drought conditions during the sporadic summer thunderstorm season.

Rain will gradually taper off tonight, although those of you downwind from Lake Huron may pick up a few additional, scattered lake effect rain showers. Lows in the mid to upper 40s (that’s 8-9 degrees Celsius for our Canadian friends). North-northwest winds at 10-15 mph will keep things brisk.


Friday will start cloudy, and those of your particularly in our northern zone may still have some spotty lake effect drizzle or showers to deal with through early afternoon. Any lingering showers should end by mid-afternoon, and a few breaks of sun should develop.

Any sun we do get, however, will be purely cosmetic, as colder air streaming in will cap afternoon temperatures in the low 50s (10-11 degrees Celsius). Northwest winds at 10-15 mph means that it’ll feel chillier on Friday.

Friday’s sunrise is at 7:54 a.m., and Friday’s sunset is at 6:41 p.m.

Becoming partly cloudy Friday night, with lows in the mid to upper 30s (2-4 degrees Celsius). I don’t think the wind will die off enough to allow frost to form in our coldest rural areas, but I’ll need to keep an eye on this.

Partly cloudy on Saturday, with highs in the low to mid 50s (11-12 degrees Celsius).

Mostly clear Saturday night, with lows near 40 degrees (4 degrees Celsius).

Mostly sunny to partly cloudy on Sunday, and warmer, too! Highs should approach 60 degrees (16 degrees Celsius), perhaps even a smidge warmer in our warmest locations.

Monday through Wednesday all look dry at this point, with high temperatures hovering close to average for this time of year in the mid to upper 50s (6-9 degrees Celsius).

Halloween Outlook

I’m continuing to watch the super-long range computer models for you, and they remain consistent with a large area of high pressure dominating the eastern third of the nation on Oct. 31. As long as this pattern holds, we should have a dry Halloween for the trick or treaters, with seasonably cool evening temperatures in the mid to upper 40s.

Wind even looks light at this point. One caveat is that weather patterns can change considerably this far in advance, so this is only a preliminary forecast. If I end up being right on this one, you can sing my praises. If I’m wrong, well, let’s not think about that right now.

Winter Outlook

NOAA issued its winter outlook Thursday, and I was part of their conference call. Their general outlook calls for a colder winter than last winter (that’s obviously not saying much, given the very warm winter we had) but not necessarily a bitter cold one. Now, that doesn’t mean that we won’t have some solid cold snaps.  It just means that the odds don’t tilt toward a winter-long visit from the old polar vortex.

As for precipitation, odds tilt for more snow than average, but my interpretation is that this is due to the very warm Great Lakes temperatures from the hot summer and mild fall we’ve had, which would mean more lake effect snow. But as you know, lake effect snow generally doesn’t produce most of our season’s worth of snow here in southeast Michigan. Basically, while everything remains on the table as far as what we could get, this all suggests a “typical” winter ahead for us.

I’m finishing up my own analysis of various atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns and will let you know when I have something more specific to share.

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