Dry spell to continue in Metro Detroit

Chance for showers, thunderstorms


DETROIT – We still have the chance for some showers and thunderstorms during the heat of the afternoon, but it appears that any activity that does pop up will be scattered…perhaps even widely scattered…which means that many of us won’t get that soaking downpour we need.  I’ve heard from a lot of you…either your water bill is going up because you can’t turn off the sprinklers, you don’t have a sprinkler and you have to water manually, or you’re not watering and your lawn is turning brown.  Although we are not officially in drought conditions, the U.S. Drought Monitor does have parts of southeast Michigan in the Abnormally Dry category.  We need rain.  And, unfortunately, there isn’t much in the forecast.

Most (if not all) of the showers and storms that pop up this afternoon will fade away around sunset.  The rest of the night should be partly cloudy, with lows in the mid 60s (18 degrees Celsius).  North wind at 4 to 8 mph.

We’ll probably start our Friday with at least partial morning sunshine.  There are no fronts coming through, but we still have the chance for some scattered afternoon showers and thunderstorms.  How can this be with no front in the area?  This is one of those instances where we meteorologists have to look aloft…a solid 18,000 feet aloft.   A strengthening upper level disturbance will drop southeast right over us during the day, and that will trigger the scattered rain.  Now, you’ve heard me talk about upper level disturbances many times over the years, but it’s tough to show you one.  In this case, however, the compact nature of this disturbance along with its sharpness does give me that opportunity!  Take a look at the wind maps below.  These represent the wind flow at the 500 millibar level (18,000 feet aloft) – a very important level above the surface that meteorologists study when forecasting the weather.  See the dip in the wind flow that I’ve highlighted?  See how that drops right over us during the warmest part of the day on Friday?  That dip represents a batch of colder air aloft at that level.  And this colder air drifting over the relatively warm air here at the surface creates an unstable atmosphere.  Now, if this disturbance was coming through at night, I might not even forecast a shower chance.  But its transit during the afternoon means there’s a much greater difference between the warmer surface temps and the colder temps aloft – and that is enough to make a huge difference.


Not everybody will get a brief shower or thunderstorm Friday afternoon.  And even those who do probably won’t get enough rain to make much of a difference in our dry conditions.  But be prepared anyway if you have outdoor plans – check the radar on our FREE Local4Casters app and watch for the developing pop-ups.  Remember that even a few scattered thunderstorms means that there is lightning, and lightning kills.  Just yesterday, the nation’s tenth 2017 lightning fatality was recorded when a 16-year-old boy in Alabama was struck under a tree.  Always keep this mantra in mind:  “when thunder roars, go indoors.”   Highs should reach the upper 70s (26 degrees Celsius), but perhaps only in the low 70s well northward into the Thumb (22-23 degrees Celsius).  North wind at 8 to 13 mph.

Friday’s sunrise is at 6:22 a.m., and Friday’s sunset is at 8:57 p.m.

Becoming mostly clear Friday night, with very comfortable lows in the mid to upper 50s (14 degrees Celsius).

And then we get to start our spectacular weekend…the nicest one of the summer as far as I’m concerned.  Expect lots of sunshine on Saturday, with highs near 80 degrees (27 degrees Celsius).

Clear skies continue Saturday night, with lows near 60 degrees (15 degrees Celsius).

Sunny skies on Sunday make for another awesome summer day, with highs in the low to mid 80s (29 degrees Celsius).

Clear again Sunday night, with lows in the mid 60s (17-18 degrees Celsius).

Mostly sunny skies continue Monday through Tuesday, with highs fairly steady in the mid 80s (30 degrees Celsius), and overnight lows in the mid to upper 60s (19-20 degrees Celsius).

The next chance for rain is a definite maybe.  The models today are projecting a weak cold front sometime in the late-Wednesday or Thursday timeframe, which could produce some showers and thunderstorms.  Or not.   After that, it appears that dry conditions return, although the long range models do disagree on the developing weather pattern.

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