Metro Detroit weather: Cloudy, breezy with highs in mid-50s

DETROIT – Before getting to the forecast, just a quick word about Thursday.

Model upper air data all day long showed a tornado potential with the storms that would develop during the afternoon. All of this was predicated upon a warm front (the front edge of warmer air) moving northward across our area, which would usher in a much more unstable air mass before the cold front arrived. As of noon, that warm front had just crossed north of the state line, but its progress after that was quite limited. 

The reason? North of that front was an easterly wind bringing in a very cool, dense marine layer of air off of Lakes Huron and Erie -- an air mass that would be tough to budge. This is a common early spring occurrence, but Thursday’s models suggested that strong forcing moving in during the afternoon would overcome that, and “shove” the warm front northward. 

That didn’t happen for most of us.  And boy are we lucky.  Numerous thunderstorms, some strong, developed north of the front in that cooler air.  Had the warm front made it farther north and those storms developed in the warm sector, then there would have been greater low-level wind shear ingested into the base of those storms, which would have caused some rotating updrafts, and a significantly greater severe threat, including tornadoes.

As things turned out, most of those storms were elevated (meaning that air flow into the base of the storms wasn’t coming from all the way down at the ground).  As a result, even the stronger wind aloft didn’t make it to the surface.  We should consider ourselves very, very fortunate.

Friday forecast

Things have quieted down considerably.  Expect a mostly cloudy, breezy and colder day today, with highs in the low to mid 50s (11-12 degrees Celsius).

Today’s sunrise is at 6:43 a.m., and today’s sunset is at 8:22 p.m.

Becoming partly cloudy later tonight, with lows in the upper 30s to near 40 degrees (4 degrees Celsius).

Partly cloudy on Saturday, with highs in the mid 50s (14 degrees Celsius).  A storm system passing to our south should stay far enough away as to not significantly impact our weather, but we do need to monitor the clouds on the storm’s northern flank.

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

Mostly sunny on Sunday, with highs in the low to mid 60s (16-17 degrees Celsius).

Mostly clear Sunday night, with lows in the low 40s (6 degrees Celsius).

Mostly sunny on Monday, with highs in the mid 60s (18 degrees Celsius).

Increasing clouds on Tuesday, with highs near 70 degrees (21 degrees Celsius).

Then we start another warm-up, with highs rising through the 70s Wednesday through Saturday, although shower and thunderstorms chances return, too.

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