Metro Detroit weather: Significant early spring storm to hit Michigan

Temperatures rise into 50s

Detroit, Mich. (WDIV)

DETROIT – We’ve been telling you since last week to expect a warm-up, and today was moving day as temperatures finally hit the 50s -- we haven’t been this warm since a little over two weeks ago. This warmth is streaming northward ahead of a developing winter-type storm that will have dramatic impacts on the Great Lake State.

Clouds will thicken and increase overnight, with rain developing after midnight as a warm front approaches. A rumble of thunder isn’t out of the question, but chances are pretty low. Lows in the low 40s (6 degrees Celsius). Southeast wind at 5 to 10 mph.

Rain ends from southwest to northeast Thursday morning, with partial sunshine developing behind the warm front as the day progresses. It’ll become windy and warm, with highs in the mid 60s (17 to 18 degrees Celsius). Wind becoming southwest at 20 to 30 mph by afternoon, with gusts to 40 mph possible.

Thursday’s sunrise is at 6:57 a.m., and Thursday’s sunset is at 8:11 p.m.

Mostly cloudy Thursday night, with a stray shower possible. Lows in the low 40s (6 degrees Celsius).

Friday should be mostly cloudy, and mostly dry. A few showers can’t be ruled out, as we’ll have a front potentially splitting the area during the day, but today’s computer models aren’t spitting out much precipitation.

Temperatures will be the big weather story on Friday, because south of that front temps will rise to possibly near 70 degrees (19 to 21 degrees Celsius), while north of the front temps will hold in the 50s (12 to 13 degrees Celsius). We can’t tell you yet exactly where the front will set up shop on Friday, but just be aware that there will be a crazy temperature difference from part of our area to another.

Friday night will remain warm, but rain will move in at some point.  Temperatures should be in the mid 50s (13 degrees Celsius) by dawn Saturday.

The weekend

We won’t sugarcoat this:  the weekend is going to be miserable from a weather standpoint.  Plan to clean out a closet.  Organize your desk.  Go bowling.  Whatever you plan, don’t plan for it to be outdoors.  Most computer models today suggest a lot of rain this weekend.  Temperatures on Saturday should fall from the mid 50s (13 degrees Celsius) at dawn into the 40s (7 degrees Celsius) by afternoon as that front sags south.  Sunday doesn’t look any better, with rain likely, and highs in the upper 40s (9 degrees Celsius).

Total rainfall between Wednesday night and Sunday could reach two-to-three inches.  Fortunately, this won’t all come at once.

Up north

This storm will create havoc in the colder air in central lower Michigan and northward, where the air will be colder.  Although details still need to be worked out, there is the possibility for a mid-Michigan ice storm Friday night into Saturday.  Please be aware of this if you have plans to drive up north this weekend.

Michigan Severe Weather Awareness Week

Today a statewide test tornado warning was conducted at 1:00 p.m. Some of you heard your sirens go off at that time but, unfortunately, some cities and counties chose not to sound their sirens. As was explained in yesterday’s article, this was their choice.

It’s pretty difficult to call it a statewide test tornado warning when part of the state doesn’t participate. Next year, my goal is to contact the emergency managers (at least for the counties in our area) and try to get them all on board with participating in this test.

Today, we also commemorate the 1965 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak, which generated widespread destructive tornadoes. Here in lower Michigan, the most remarkable thing happened: two F4 tornadoes touched down forty minutes apart, and traveled over the exact same path through Hillsdale and Lenawee Counties.

What wasn’t destroyed by the first tornado was taken care of by the second one. Forty-four people died, 597 were injured, and 1026 buildings were destroyed. This is an important reminder that the big, bad tornadoes that many of you think only happen in Oklahoma do sometimes happen here.

Always know your tornado safety plan, and be ready to take cover immediately when the tornado warning is issued. Fortunately, today’s Doppler radars will identify these violent tornado producing storms before the tornadoes even touch down, so you’ll have more notice than ever before.

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