Metro Detroit weather forecast: Honing in on the weekend storm


DETROIT – The overnight snow showers diminished toward dawn and, aside from a few flurries today, the real reminder that we’re back to some real winter weather was how it felt when you stepped outside.

By mid-afternoon, temperatures struggled into the mid 20s (-4 to -3 degrees Celsius), but wind chills in the mid teens (-9 degrees Celsius) really caught your attention.

We’ll see partial clearing overnight and, as long as we see enough of that clearing, actual temperatures will drop into the mid-teens (-9 degrees Celsius). Fortunately, our northwest wind will be very light.

Partial sunshine Friday (TGIF!) morning should yield to increasing afternoon clouds. Highs will be in the upper 20s (-2 degrees Celsius), with a light and variable wind not adding much to the wind chill factor.

Friday’s sunrise is at 8:01 a.m., and Friday’s sunset is at 5:22 p.m.

Thickening clouds Friday night, with lows in the low 20s (-6 degrees Celsius).

The Weekend Storm

Now that the upper level disturbance that will cause this weekend’s storm has crossed the west coast and has been sampled by our land-based upper air balloon (“radiosonde”) network, that data ingested into the computer models is giving us better confidence in the storm’s path, which still appears to remain well south of Michigan, and should only brush our South Zone (perhaps up to I-94) with light snow that should stay under one inch.

The snow (in that area) won’t begin until roughly early afternoon, so the morning will be dry if you are trying to plan that early morning jog or some errands. The rest of us should just remain cloudy on Saturday, with highs in the low 30s (0 degrees Celsius).

The snow (south) ends Saturday night, with lows in the low 20s (-5 degrees Celsius).

Then becoming mostly sunny on Sunday, with highs again in the low 30s (0 degrees Celsius).

Here is a series of maps showing you the expected progression of this weekend’s snow:


Pets and the Cold Weather

After such a long stretch of relatively milder weather, we’re back to typical winter conditions and, while you and I can bundle up, our outdoor pets have fewer options. Here are some great tips from the Michigan Animal Adoption Network / Animal Care Network:

•    If you know anyone who keeps pets outdoors, persuade them to bring them inside.
•    Low temperatures, winds and precipitation can lead to illness, hypothermia and death.
•    Dogs and cats can suffer from frostbite in a matter of minutes, mainly on feet, ears and tails.
•    Local laws require that if dogs are kept outdoors, the owner must supply the dog with "proper" shelter:
o    If kept outside, use a dog house that is not oversized, since the dog needs to retain body heat.
o    Put a wind flap on the dog house door.
o    Provide plenty of clean, dry straw (at least 2/3 full).
o    Blankets and towels freeze when used in a dog house. Do not use.
o    Dog houses must be elevated off the ground so they don't freeze on the bottom.
o    If animals must be kept outside, face dog house away from wind.

•    Double up on food intake during cold weather. Extra weight keeps animals kept outside warmer.
•    Snow is not sufficient to hydrate animals. Water bowls freeze. Animals need access, to clean, fresh, unfrozen water.
•    Feral cats need proper shelter and protection from the elements as well.
•    Cats who spend time outside can freeze, get lost, injured or climb into the bottom of warm cars for warmth.
•    Salt and other chemicals can irritate the pads of animal's feet.
•    When you are cold enough to go inside, pets most likely are too!
•    If you see a dog or cat in need of a help, become that animal's advocate. Speak with the owner, and if that fails to improve the situation, contact your local animal shelter, humane society or animal control office.

Symptoms and Signs of Hypothermia:

The main sign of mild hypothermia in dogs in excessive shivering. Dogs shiver in order to produce body heat, thus, continuous shivering may mean the dog's body temperature is too cold. A dog with hypothermia will also breath abnormally slow and breathing patterns will become very shallow. The dog's heart rate will slow considerably and because of muscle stiffness, the dog may become clumsy, losing all coordination. Dogs may also appear lethargic. Moderate to severe hypothermia occurs when the dog's temperature falls below 95 degrees. In some cases, the dog's eyes may become very dilated and fixed, and their gums may turn very pale or blueish in color. In extreme cases, the dog may collapse and/or enter into a coma.

Treatment of Hypothermia:

Immediate treatment of hypothermia is crucial. The primary goals in the treatment and handling of a hypothermic animal are: keep the animal alive by warming, avoid any further exposure to cold, and then transport the animal to a site of complete veterinary care. If a dog is not treated in the appropriate time period, its temperature may become so low that it cannot be restored to normal levels, making it fatal. Take the dog immediately to a veterinarian if you suspect it has severe hypothermia or warming methods do not seem to be helping the dog.


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