Metro Detroit weather: Tracking storms today, severe storms possible

DETROIT – Mostly cloudy today (perhaps partly cloudy for a bit) with scattered showers and thunderstorms starting to pop up around or shortly after lunchtime and becoming most numerous during the afternoon as a cold front approaches.  

The front's timing coinciding with the day's period of peak heating and some moderately stronger winds aloft approaching this afternoon as well, gives us a small chance for some severe storms, with 50-60 mph wind gusts and quarter-size hail being the greatest threats.  

Severe storm threat

Whether or not we get severe storms will be highly dependent upon the amount of sunshine we get: more sun means we get warmer and a more unstable atmosphere (and a better chance for strong storms), while less sun means less instability (and a much smaller chance for strong storms).  If you have outdoor plans this afternoon, I strongly urge you to check the radar often on our FREE Local4Casters app -- remember that even a "regular" thunderstorm has lightning, and lightning kills.  

Of course, those of you who follow me on Twitter (@PGLocal4) will get personalized updates if any storms get out of hand.  Highs in the upper 70s to near 80 degrees (26-27 degrees Celsius).  South to southwest wind at 10-20 mph.  

Today's sunrise is at 6:37 a.m., and today's sunset is at 8:39 p.m.

Scattered showers and thunderstorms end by about 7 p.m. so I think we'll be fine for the Tigers game at Comerica Park (even if late afternoon storms cause a delay due to a delay in pre-game preparations, it would be a short delay).  Temperatures during the game fall through the 70s (26 to 24 degrees Celsuis).  Lows near 60 degrees (15 degrees Celsius).

Scattered showers Saturday

Mostly cloudy on Saturday, with a few scattered showers possible.  The best chance to see a shower is north of M-59, although all of us could see one.  It'll be a cooler day, with highs in the mid 70s (24 degrees Celsius).

Becoming partly cloudy Saturday night (the models disagree on this).  Hopefully, enough clearing will take place to see the Perseid Meteor Shower (details later in the article).  Lows in the mid to upper 50s (13-15 degrees Celsius).

Partly cloudy on Sunday, with highs in the upper 70s to near 80 degrees (26-27 degrees Celsius).

Mostly clear Sunday night, with lows in the mid to upper 50s (14-15 degrees Celsius).

Partly cloudy on Monday, with highs near 80 degrees (27 degrees Celsius).

Mostly sunny Tuesday and Wednesday, with highs in the mid 80s (29-30 degrees Celsius), and overnight lows in the low 60s (16-17 degrees Celsius).

If you don't get any rain today, then you'll probably have to wait all the way until the end of next week for our next chance.  The computer models haven not come into agreement upon whether that'll be Thursday or Friday).

Perseid Meteor Shower details

This weekend is the annual Perseid Meteor Shower, which is one of the year's most popular since it occurs during the summer.  However, we have a couple of things working against us this year.  First, the meteor shower's peak occurs during the day on Saturday, which obviously favors the other side of the world since it'll be during their nighttime.  Second, we'll have a bright moon in the sky during the time to watch, so moonlight will wash out the fainter meteors.  However, we definitely will be able to see any bright Perseids that occur.

So, when to look?  Both Friday night and Saturday night between midnight and dawn are the times to watch, although there's a question as to if enough clouds will move out in time Friday night.  Why so late at night?  That's because the radiant, which is the point in the sky where the meteors originate from, rises in the northeast around midnight.  Can you see anything before midnight?  It's possible to see one or two, but the best chances occur after midnight.  Just face northeast and look halfway up.  Don't focus on any particular star…keep a broad visual perspective.

The most astounding thing about these meteors is that they are a piece of rock about the size of a Grape Nuts cereal nugget hitting our atmosphere at over 133,000 miles per hour and burning up due to friction!  Once a year, the earth passes through a trail of "nugget debris" left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle, and the result is the famous Perseid Meteor Shower.  There are other comet debris trails throughout the year that give us other meteor showers, such as the Leonids in November.  The best conditions are no clouds and a dark sky.  So, no moonlight and a viewing location away from the light pollution created by our big cities gives you the best opportunity to see some…but we'll have that moonlight this year.

And by the way, there's a rumor going around the Internet that this year's Perseids will be the best in ninety-six years.  That is emphatically not true.  Yes, it's fake space news ...

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