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Metro Detroit weather: Big changes on the way

Weather whiplash coming

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DETROIT – As expected, the sleet and freezing rain we received earlier today was more of a nuisance than anything else.  

Neighborhood streets were a mess, so many school districts had to cancel school.  But the road crews did a great job salting the main roads, and we managed to get through the day in pretty good shape.

The sleet that fell was very important -- that cut back on the amount of freezing rain.  Also, the light wind was a HUGE benefit: stronger wind on ice-laden trees and power lines significantly increases the load and, therefore, increases the amount of failure of those limbs and lines.

Now, we turn our attention to the next storm coming our way -- and dramatic weather changes along with it.

Tonight and Thursday

Tonight should be mostly dry…there may be a light shower or bit of freezing rain (north) developing late at night.  Temperatures should drop just a bit…to near freezing…with a light north wind.

If any freezing rain develops late tonight / Thursday morning, it will quickly change to regular rain (or just melt), as temperatures rise above freezing during the morning.  The one exception will be the far north, where you’ll stay at or below freezing the longest.  

As such, the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Sanilac County and westward toward Saginaw from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  Be aware of this if you’re traveling in that direction Thursday morning.  

Rain will increase and fall heaviest during the afternoon…with the biggest batch of rain moving out perhaps just in time for the afternoon rush hour…it’ll be close.  

Temperatures will be crazy on Thursday: Most of us will rise slowly into the upper 30s (3 to 4 degrees Celsius) by lunchtime, and then into the low to mid 40s (6 degrees Celsius) by the time you leave work to head home. However, temperatures will then keep rising…into the mid 50s (12 degrees Celsius) in the evening!

Thursday’s sunrise is at 7:40 a.m., and Thursday’s sunset is at 5:55 p.m.

Scattered rain showers (possibly with a rumble of thunder) are possible Thursday evening in advance of a potent cold front.  The front should cross the area late-evening, and we will immediately transition from spring back to winter.  

In fact, the temperature contrast ahead of and behind the front is so great that temps will drop from the 50s to below freezing in only five to six hours!  And that creates a big concern:  all of the standing water from Thursday’s rain will freeze, since we’ll crash all the way into the low 20s (-5 degrees Celsius) by dawn Friday.  

Wind gusts will increase dramatically immediately behind the front.

Friday

Friday will be a windy, cold day. Temperatures will keep falling…into the mid teens (-9 degrees Celsius) by the time you head home from work.  Wind chills will drop to near zero (-18 degrees Celsius) by that time, as well.  

Adding insult to injury is that we may see some snow showers, as lake effect snow bands from Lake Michigan try to extend eastward across the state. Wind could gust to 40 mph.

Mostly cloudy early Friday night, with some clearing later at night. Lows near 10 degrees (-12 degrees Celsius).

Weekend

Becoming mostly sunny on Saturday, with lighter wind…looks like a great day to head down to Winter Blast!  Highs in the mid 20s (-4 to -3 degrees Celsius).

Mostly clear Saturday night, with lows in the low teens (-11 degrees Celsius).

After some sunshine to start the day on Sunday, clouds increase and snow develops at some point during the afternoon, and continues into Sunday night.  

Right now, this looks like a 1.0 to 1.5 inch snowfall. Highs in the low 30s (0 degrees Celsius).


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