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Metro Detroit weather: Bitter cold Christmas on the horizon

Temperatures in mid-40s around Metro Detroit

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DETROIT – Take a look at the temperature map above.  While most of us reached the mid 40s this afternoon (8 degrees Celsius), Metro Airport – where our official weather records are recorded – hit 50 degrees (10 degrees Celsius).

So, today will officially go down in the weather database as one of those December 50 degree days.  The well above freezing temperatures (which even remained above freezing last night) caused a lot of snow melt, and that water will freeze into ice tonight as temperatures drop well below freezing into the mid 20s (-4 degrees Celsius).

Watch out for ice when you head out later tonight.  Winds will still be a bit breezy overnight…from the west at 10 to 15 mph.  So, wind chills when you head to work and the kids head off to school Wednesday morning will be solidly in the teens (-8 degrees Celsius).

Mostly sunny to start our Wednesday, then clouds start increasing during the afternoon.  Highs in the low to mid 30s (1 degree Celsius).  Northwest wind at 4 to 8 mph.

Wednesday’s sunrise is at 7:58 a.m., and Wednesday’s sunset is at 5:04 p.m.

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

Mostly cloudy on Thursday, with highs in the mid 30s (2 degrees Celsius).

Mostly cloudy Thursday night, with lows near 30 degrees (-1 degree Celsius).

Mostly cloudy on Friday, with highs near 40 degrees (4-5 degrees Celsius).

Today’s computer models now put the Friday storm I told you about yesterday on a slower track…we probably won’t see any material impacts until Friday night.  But one thing I want to caution you about:  the upper level disturbance that will generate this storm is still over the Gulf of Alaska.  Our upper air weather balloon network will not be able to study this storm’s physics until it crosses over onto the continent…I’ve explained this many times in the past.  Until it does, there could be important changes in the storm’s eventual path, which is why we typically see large day-to-day changes in the models this far in advance.  Today, not only is the storm slower, but the models are also taking it on a track that’s farther east than yesterday, which pushes the warmer air east of us, as well.  Here’s how I see the weekend playing out and, remember, this could change.

Rain showers possibly mixed with wet snow are likely Friday night, with lows in the low to mid 30s (0 to 1 degree Celsius).

Rain and snow showers are likely to start the day on the east side, but those of us farther west may miss out entirely on the Saturday precipitation…AS LONG AS THE STORM’S PATH DOESN’T SHIFT BACK FARTHER WEST.  Highs in the mid to upper 30s (2 to 3 degrees Celsius) may end up occurring in the morning, with temperatures falling during the afternoon as much colder air dives in behind the departing storm.  It’ll become windy Saturday afternoon, too.  Happy Festivus!

A few snow showers are possible Saturday night, with lows near 20 degrees (-6 to -7 degrees Celsius).

Mostly cloudy and windy on Sunday, with scattered snow showers possible.  Highs in the mid to upper 20s (-3 degrees Celsius).

Christmas Eve looks cold with snow shower chances continuing.  Evening temperatures should be in the low to mid 20s (-5 degrees Celsius), with overnight lows when you wake up Christmas morning in the low to mid teens (-10 to -11 degrees Celsius).  Today’s computer models have diminished the impact of the possible Sunday night secondary area of low pressure I told you about yesterday but, again, things could change since we’re still so far out.  Stay tuned.

Christmas Day will be bitterly cold, with snow showers still possible.  Highs will only be in the low to mid 20s (-5 degrees Celsius), but wind chills will likely only be in the single numbers (-12 to -15 degrees Celsius).

Tuesday looks windy with snow showers, and even colder as you head back to the malls to return the stuff that doesn’t fit and hunt around for post-Christmas sales.  Highs near 20 degrees (-6 to-7 degrees Celsius).

The well-below normal temperatures look to continue through the end of the week.  That’s great news for local ski resorts, which will be able to make snow for you to use those skis you received.

If it’s too cold for the kids to play outside (or there’s not enough snow left), there are a LOT of things to do with them on their holiday break from school.  If they’re into science, try the Michigan Science Center, the Cranbrook Institute of Science, or the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum…all promise a great time.  There’s the Detroit Historical Museum to give them a taste of Detroit history.

There’s the Detroit Institute of Arts - so much to see and do there (and remember that it’s more than “just” paintings…they have medieval suits of armor, ancient Egyptian artifacts, and all sorts of neat stuff).  If they’re into music, how about taking them to the Motown Museum for some Detroit music history?  And check the Pistons and Red Wings schedules…Little Caesars Arena is a great place to watch a game.  And while you’re downtown, take them on the new Q-Line!  So much to do in The D!

Christmas travel weather

Here’s an update to the national travel weather maps I included yesterday.  After the rain system across the mid-south moves out the next couple of days, all attention turns to the storm systems I discussed above.  Once the bitter cold air moves in early next week, lake effect snow will be a travel headache on the eastern sides of the Great Lakes…be careful if you’ll be driving in those areas.

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