Metro Detroit weather: Christmas Day winter weather advisory issued

Snow squalls to move through Southeast Michigan

(Tom Lynn/Getty Images)

DETROIT – Merry Christmas!

Every year, we hope for a White Christmas, but with a request for Mother Nature. Get the snow here ahead of time, then leave things dry for holiday travel. Well, Mother Nature only kept up half of the bargain this year. We got the White Christmas, but at the expense of messy travel conditions on Christmas Eve and early Christmas Day.

Based upon reports I’ve received so far Monday morning, average Christmas Eve snowfall across the area was about 4 inches, with the highest total so far being 6.8 inches in Shelby Township. This was a very challenging storm to forecast, because it literally developed as it moved south and then east of us.

If you recall from my weather articles this past week, I kept telling you about the upper level disturbance that was going to swing across the country. We meteorologists KNEW that it was coming in our general direction, and we KNEW that it would generate some snow. What we didn’t know was the exact timing of the surface low pressure’s formation, and that didn’t get nailed down by the computer models until yesterday.

Forecasting snow amounts with mature storms passing by is actually not that difficult; they are in a steady-state. But changing dynamics and storm strength as the storm moves through, as we had yesterday, makes forecasting the resulting snow very, very difficult. Alright, let’s get to our Christmas Day weather.

We started the day with some snow showers, but west-southwest winds will increase, and blow at 20 to 30 mph by afternoon. The Arctic air flowing across Lake Michigan will generate a band of intense lake effect snow that will cross our area later this morning into the early-to-mid afternoon.  Briefly heavy snow will fall which, combined with the very windy conditions, will significantly reduce visibilities and create dangerous travel conditions. Areas that remains under these snow squalls the longest could easily pick up another one to two inches of accumulation. Accordingly, the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for most of us until 7 p.m.

If you are heading up north or west, keep in mind that the lake effect squalls will be particularly intense and dangerous closer to Lake Michigan. So, the National Weather Service has issued Winter Storm Warnings for the areas near southern Lake Michigan, and northeastern Lake Michigan. Use a LOT of caution if driving toward these areas…such as I-94 around Lake Michigan, and up toward Charlevoix / Traverse City / Boyne.

Temperatures should only rise into the low to mid 20s today (-5 degrees Celsius), with wind chills in the single numbers (-15 degrees Celsius).

Today’s sunrise was at 8:01 a.m., and today’s sunset is at 5:07 p.m. Now that we’re past the winter solstice, the days are slowly getting longer now!

The snow bands will steadily diminish this evening, then becoming partly cloudy overnight, with lows near 8 degrees (-13 degrees Celsius). West-southwest wind diminishing to 10 to 15 mph.

Partly to mostly cloudy on Tuesday, with highs only in the low teens (-11 degrees Celsius).

Becoming mostly clear Tuesday night, with lows near 2 degrees (-17 degrees Celsius).

Mostly sunny to partly cloudy on Wednesday, with highs again only in the low teens (-11 degrees Celsius).

Partly cloudy to mostly clear Wednesday night, with lows again near 2 degrees (-17 degrees Celsius).

Partly cloudy on Thursday, with highs in the mid teens (-9 degrees Celsius).

We have a chance of snow on Friday and Saturday, with highs generally around 20 degrees (-7 degrees Celsius).

Right now, New Year’s Eve Day and New Year’s Eve itself look dry…stay tuned.

As you’ve just read, we have a bitter cold week ahead for the kids’ school vacation. If it’s too cold for the kids to play outside, 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, which offers 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 that the kids will enjoy).  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! Or, for a lot of fun on the cheap, take them bowling!

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