Metro Detroit weather forecast: Snow has moved out, winter advisory expires


DETROIT – It is now officially the aftermath of our first real snowstorm of the season.

Early reports indicate that this was a general 3” to 7” snowfall -- totals were a bit higher than expected in some spots, but certainly within the usual margin of error. The one exception to the overnight dry conditions is that the cold northeast to north winds flowing over Lake Huron will generate some lake effect snow bands.

These bands are typically narrow  -- you can be getting snow while areas a few miles either side of you are getting nothing  -- but where they set up could bring another inch or two of snow. Areas most likely to see some of this are Sanilac and St. Clair Counties, and possibly even extreme eastern Macomb County. Bitterly cold overnight, with lows near 10 degrees (-12 degrees Celsius) and wind chills down to -5 to -10 degrees (-23 to -21 degrees Celsius) by dawn.

Even if we start our Sunday with some clouds, the trend through the day will be for increasing sunshine. But any sun we get will be purely cosmetic, with highs in the mid teens (-10 degrees Celsius), and wind chills around -10 degrees (-23 degrees Celsius).

Up in the Thumb, those lake effect snow bands will continue, although those will diminish for most Sunday night.

Mostly clear and bitterly cold Sunday night. Lows between zero and -10 (-21 to -18 degrees Celsius). Fortunately, wind should be light  -- but even light wind generates bitter cold wind chills in temps this low  -- possibly down to -15 degrees (-26 degrees Celsius). On the bright side, the clearing skies means that we’ll be able to see Sunday night’s lunar eclipse! This one is affectionately being called the “Super Blood Wolf Moon.” Here’s why:

  • “Super” because the moon is near the closest point in its orbit around Earth  -- is a little bigger in the sky
  • “Blood” because it turns a brownish-reddish color at maximum eclipse
  • “Wolf” because January’s full moon is the Wolf Moon.

The entire eclipse runs from 10:34 p.m. to 1:51 a.m., and totality is from 11:41 p.m. to 12:43 p.m. You don’t need a telescope or binoculars  -- and it’s safe to view without any eye protection, unlike solar eclipses.

So what’s happening? Quite simply, Earth will be exactly between the moon and the sun, with the moon passing right through the earth’s shadow. While lunar eclipses aren’t rare, they aren’t common, either  -- the next one won’t be until May 26th, 2021. It’ll be cold outside, but it’s worth stepping out even for a moment and taking a look!

The holiday, then the next storm

Monday, the Martin Luther King holiday, will be dry, with mostly sunny skies, but highs once again only in the mid teens (-10 degrees Celsius). Any wind at all, of course, will drive wind chills back down to zero (-18 degrees Celsuis) or below.

Tuesday starts dry, but precipitation develops late. At this point, it appears that there may be some light snow arriving in time for the afternoon rush hour and, in fact, two computer models suggest exactly this (but the other one doesn’t, so we’ll ride with those two until something convinces us otherwise over the next couple of days). That snow will transition (briefly) to some ice, and then to rain  -- and most of Tuesday night should be rain. This will be a big snow storm for the northern half of the lower peninsula, so the snow dances everybody at the ski resorts up north have been doing are going to work!

Finally, the super long range computer models suggest an air mass equally cold, if not worse than the one coming tomorrow, to invade the Great Lakes next weekend. Winter is here!

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