Metro Detroit weather: Honing in on the weekend forecast

Rain in store for Metro Detroit this weekend

Paul Gross takes a look at the upcoming Metro Detroit weather forecast for July 19, 2018. (WDIV)
Paul Gross takes a look at the upcoming Metro Detroit weather forecast for July 19, 2018. (WDIV)

DETROIT – Local4Caster Brandon Roux said it best this morning: “Good rain, bad timing.”

Some of us, particularly those who didn’t get any of those Monday night downpours, desperately need some rain. The good news is that rain is on the way. The bad news is that most of it will fall Friday and Saturday.

Officially, Metro Airport has only picked up 0.46 inches of rain since June 25. Average rain for that period is 2.64 inches, so we have only received seventeen percent of our average rainfall over the past three weeks.

This is being reflected in the new drought monitor map, which was just released Thursday morning. As you can see, not only do drought conditions persist over the northern Thumb, but parts of our south and west zones have now been downgraded into the abnormally dry category.


As for the recreational part of the forecast, and there are a lot of graduation parties and weddings this weekend, not to mention the Ann Arbor Art Fair and the Tigers series against the Red Sox at Comerica Park, some of the rain’s timing is coming into better focus.

Rain is not in the cards for tonight, however. We’ll simply have a very pleasant evening, with increasing high clouds overnight. Lows in the mid 60s (18 to 19 degrees Celsius) will be warmer than past nights, but tolerable. There won’t be much of a breeze coming in the windows, though, with a southeast wind at only 3 to 8 mph.

Friday (TGIF!) will start with at least partial sunshine, then a band of scattered showers and possible thunderstorms will approach our south zone by mid to late morning, and work its way northeast across the area during the middle part of the day.

It is important to remember that the activity will be scattered -- not everybody will necessarily get rain, but we all have the risk. Outside of this band, we may even be able to hang onto partial sunshine so, it appears that we’ll be able to salvage part of the day.

If you have outdoor plans, such as at the Ann Arbor Art Fair or the Tigers game, it would be a good idea to check the radar often on our free app to stay ahead of the weather.

Highs Friday should reach the low to mid 80s (28 to 29 degrees Celsius), and it’ll become breezy with southeast winds at 15 to 25 mph with higher gusts by afternoon.

Friday’s sunrise is at 6:15 a.m., and Friday’s sunset is at 9:04 p.m.

There’s a better chance for more widespread showers and thunderstorms Friday evening and overnight. Muggy lows in the upper 60s (20 degrees Celsius) means that the uncomfortable sleeping weather has returned.

It appears that scattered showers will be around Saturday morning but, if you are tracking them on our app’s radar, you may be able to work around them if you have outdoor plans. However, showers and storms will become much more numerous in the afternoon -- be ready for that. Highs near 80 degrees (27 degrees Celsius).

Scattered showers will still persist Saturday night, with lows in the upper 60s (20 degrees Celsius).

Sunday is starting to look not as bad as advertised by the computer models in recent days. Yes, there still could be scattered showers around, but hopefully enough space in between them that we can enjoy some of the day. Again, and we hate to sound like a broken record, keep checking our app’s radar if you have weather-sensitive plans. Highs in the low 80s (28 degrees Celsius).

Special tornado siren test

If you live in the Canton area, be aware that Canton Public Safety is in the process of upgrading the outdoor warning siren system. Over the next several days crews from West Shore Services will be working on the siren system and may be testing individual sirens. These tests will cause the activation of individual sirens for approximately six seconds. In the event of potential severe weather next week no testing will be conducted. In the event of an actual weather emergency, the siren will sound for three minutes.

 Potential problem for    Chicago-to-Mackinac race

Last weekend in the Port Huron-to-Mackinac Race, the problem was lack of wind, with the negative consequence mainly being just frustration for the sailors. This weekend for the Chicago-to-Mackinac Race, the problem could be too much wind, with much more serious ramifications. Here is what the wind direction should be for the race:


Wind speeds on Saturday will increase to 30 to 35 mph, with higher gusts, and if you noticed the wind direction in the maps above, they are blowing straight down the lake, which will enhance the wave action.

It’s possible that the strong wind on Saturday combined with the north-northeastly direction will generate four to seven foot waves -- perhaps even reaching eight feet at times. And with that wind blowing from the direction that the boats are heading, they will have to take a zig-zag path up Lake Michigan -- tacking back and forth.

This will be an extremely rigorous race -- there will be very little “off time” for the sailors because, when they are not manning the helm or grinding lines to trim the sails, they will be sitting on the rail of the side of the boat leaning up in the air to act as a counterbalance.

Every time the boat tacks (turns) to zig or zag, those on the rail will quickly switch to the other side of the boat to provide counterweight as that end of the boat rises higher. If you know anybody racing in this weekend’s event, make sure they are aware of this.

It’ll be a tough race -- even time to eat or go to the bathroom will be at a premium. It’ll be one of those races where you just put food in your pocket and eat when you can, and there will be very little sleep.  It’ll be a rough test for our area yacht racers.

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