DETROIT – Well, we’ve survived this week’s polar vortex, and as the bitter cold Arctic air mass moves out, there’s another piece of good news: Thursday’s average high of 32 degrees (0 degrees Celsius) has moved up to 33 degrees Friday.
This means that we’ve passed the statistical coldest part of winter and are starting the climb upward. Obviously, progress will be slow but, by the end of February, our average high will increase to 39 degrees (4 degrees Celsius). Baby steps -- be patient!
Sunny skies today sure made it look nice outside, and those clear skies will extend into the evening hours as well. Temperatures will initially drop into the low teens (-12 degrees Celsius), and then start rising into the mid teens (-8 degrees Celsius) by dawn. Southeast wind will become south at 4 to 8 mph.
We should have at least partial sunshine first thing Saturday morning, before clouds rapidly increase. Highs will be noticeably warmer, rising into the mid to upper 30s (3 degrees Celsius). Southwest wind at 10 to 15 mph will be pushing that warmer air our way.
Saturday’s sunrise is at 7:46 a.m., and Saturday’s sunset is at 5:49 p.m.
Our only concern about the weekend forecast is the possibility for some patchy drizzle or a few very light rain showers Saturday evening and night. In fact, developing fog (possibly dense fog as the warm air flows over the cold snow) could moisten the pavement.
Even though temperatures should remain a little above freezing, we need to be cognizant of the fact that we’ve just come out of a brutally cold stretch, so pavement will be very cold, as well.
Therefore, even with an above freezing AIR temperature, there could be a bit of glaze developing on wet pavement. Remember what you’re reading here if you’re out Saturday evening and notice a bit of mist or some damp pavement, and use extra caution just in case. Things may end up just fine, but assume that there’s some black ice. Better to be safe than sorry.
Mostly cloudy on Sunday, with the chance for some drizzle or a few showers. Even the fog might persist. Temperatures continue their rise into the mid-40s (8 degrees Celsius).
Mostly cloudy Sunday night, with lows in the upper 30s (3 to 4 degrees Celsius).
Monday starts dry, but an approaching cold front will overspread the area with showers during the afternoon. Highs will approach 50 degrees (10 degrees Celsius).
Rain showers end after midnight Monday night, with lows around 30 degrees (-1 degree Celsius).
Becoming partly cloudy on Tuesday, with cooler highs in the mid-30s (1 to 2 degrees Celsius).
Possibility of next storm
Already, people have been peppering us with questions about the middle of next week. In fact, some are even sending us weather maps they saw elsewhere, suggesting that a significant storm is coming.
First of all, we want to emphasize that the computer models do not typically have a very good handle on weather systems six days out. Strength, timing, and location all can vary quite a bit by the time things come to fruition. Then, add on the complexity of the finer-scale thermodynamics, and trying to predict the specific type of precipitation this far in advance is nearly impossible.
With all of this in mind, this afternoon’s models suggest a couple of modest systems possibly affecting us on Wednesday and Thursday with some sort of precipitation, and we cannot say yet if it’ll be rain, snow, ice, or a combination.
The Wednesday system appears to be light amounts, and the Thursday system appears wetter -- probably more rain than snow. But there is a lot of disagreement among the computer models about all aspects of these systems. Do not buy into any hype, and do not change any plans. We will monitor these systems closely and, as always, update you daily with our latest thoughts.
The long-range models agree on a consistent return to colder winter temperatures at least into mid-February, but no polar vortex.