Metro Detroit forecast: Big weather changes are knocking on the door

DETROIT – All last week, the Local4Casters told you to be ready for a sharp change in the weather early this week, and that change is getting close.  But I want to be very clear about what this ISN’T.  This is not a severe Arctic blast.  This is not record-breaking cold heading our way.  And we never used the term “Polar Vortex” even once in describing this week’s weather.  What’s coming is simply a big change from the mild weather we’ve enjoyed lately, to average winter temps (technically, routinely below average cold).  Since a lot of people don’t like wind and cold, this is why we were pretty prominent in our message to take advantage of this past weekend’s mild weather.

Tonight will remain very mild, with rain showers and possibly even a couple of rumbles of December thunder crossing the area.  Temperatures should only drop to near 50 degrees (10 degrees Celsius) by late tonight.  Wind will increase from the south to 25 to 35 mph, with gusts over 40 mph possible.  Ben Bailey and I were just looking at some forecast upper air data for later tonight, and the wind aloft could be blowing at around 50 mph just 1000 feet above the surface, so those late-night rain showers should be able to tap into that and give us some window rattling wind gusts.  My friends at the National Weather  Service say that they are not issuing a Wind Advisory, but they also admit that it’s a close call.

The strong cold front crosses southeast Michigan between 5:00 and 8:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, and two things will happen immediately:  the rain showers end, and temperatures crash.  It will be much warmer when you leave for work and the kids leave for school in the morning, and much colder when you and they come home later.  Be sure to dress for the late-day weather (windy and cold).  Temperatures first thing in the morning should be in the upper 40s to near 50 degrees (9-10 degrees Celsius), and drop into the low to mid 30s (0 to 1 degree Celsius) with wind chills in the low to mid 20s (-5 degrees Celsius) by late afternoon.  The strongest wind gusts will be first thing in the morning, although it’ll remain windy all day with the south wind shifting to the southwest behind the front.

Here is a series of maps to help you plan:

Tuesay’s sunrise is at 7:47 a.m., and Tuesday’s sunset is at 5:01 p.m.

Scattered snow showers are possible Tuesday night, with lows in the low to mid 20s (-5 degrees Celsius).

Partly to mostly cloudy and breezy on Wednesday, with highs in the low 30s (0 degrees Celsius). Note:  intense lake effect snow squall bands will develop on the eastern side of the Great Lakes later Wednesday into Thursday, so plan ahead and use a lot of caution if you’ll be traveling to the western side of the state toward Lake Michigan, Lake Superior’s Michigan shoreline, the southeastern Lake Huron shoreline, and the eastern shoreline of Lakes Erie and Ontario.  The maps above show you the development of these bands of white-out conditions, so I strongly urge you to make sure you have our free Local4Casters app downloaded onto your phone so you can monitor the location of these intense bands before you run into them.  Also make sure to stash some extras in your car in case you get stranded…a blanket, high-energy food (nuts, protein bars, etc.), winter clothing…and make sure not to run your fuel down too far…you’ll need that car running for heat if you get stranded.  Finally, keep your cell phone charged so that’s available to you if you need it in an emergency (and close your apps to keep the battery charge higher).

Partly cloudy Wednesday night, with lows in the low 20s (-5 degrees Celsius).

Mostly cloudy and still breezy on Thursday, with some snow showers possible.  Highs in the low 30s (0 degrees Celsius). 

Mostly cloudy Thursday night, with lows near 20 degrees (-6 to -7 degrees Celsius).

Mostly cloudy on Friday, with highs near 30 degrees (-1 degree Celsius).

Mostly cloudy Friday night, with lows near 20 degrees (-6 to -7 degrees Celsius).

There’s another chance of snow showers on Saturday, with highs near 30 degrees (-1 degree Celsius).

Mostly cloudy Saturday night, with lows in the upper teens (-7 degrees Celsius).

Mostly cloudy on Sunday, with highs in the low 30s (0 degrees Celsius).

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