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Metro Detroit weather: Honing in on weekend snow chances

Arctic blast on the way

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Didn’t that sunshine look great this morning?  

Although clouds increased right on schedule midday, it still ended up being a pretty acceptable winter day. The clouds over us now should start moving out overnight and, by dawn, we should be mostly sunny. But before those clouds move out, we may even see a few flurries.  

Temperatures should drop into the mid-teens (-10 degrees Celsius) in our Urban Heat Island, and down near 10 degrees (-12 degrees Celsius) in the colder rural spots. Fortunately, a very light wind means virtually no wind chill.

Friday

Mostly sunny Friday (TGIF!) morning, then becoming partly cloudy in the afternoon. Highs in the mid 30s (2 degrees Celsius) won’t be too hard to take, especially with a very light northeast wind.

Friday’s sunrise is at 7:09 a.m., and Friday’s sunset is at 6:23 p.m. By the way, the long-term average high for February 28th is 39 degrees (4 degrees Celsius). March 1st, that average high hits the 40 degree milestone. We’re making progress!

Increasing clouds Friday night, with some light snow possible later at night (our Friday evening plans will remain dry). Lows in the mid 20s (-4 degrees Celsius).

Weekend snow chances

Light snow continues for a bit Saturday morning, and then ends by lunchtime.  At this point, accumulations look negligible…barely a few tenths of an inch for most of us, with perhaps a half-inch across the far northern part of our area.  

Highs will once again reach the mid 30s (3 degrees Celsius)…this could be a good day to take in some ice skating on the rink at Campus Martius!

Mostly cloudy Saturday night…our date night plans will be dry…with overnight lows in the low 20s (-6 degrees Celsius).

As we’ve been mentioning all week long, we’re keeping a close eye on yet another impactful winter storm for the end of the weekend.  While there are minor differences in the computer models, those small details actually are a big deal for our particular area.  You can see this for yourself below.

Here is the ECMWF model forecast for 7:00 p.m. Sunday:

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Here is the GFS model forecast for 7:00 p.m. Sunday:

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Here is the NAM model forecast for 7:00 p.m. Sunday:

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As you can see, the overall structure of this storm is being handled comparably by the three models.

However, there is a small detail of placement that impacts where the northern end of the snow shield ends.  

The NAM keeps the snow well south of us.  The GFS has it closer…and just barely to our south.  Meanwhile, the ECMWF gives us some of that snow…probably to the tune of 1” to 3”, with the most falling near the state line.  

The models probably won’t start converging upon a common solution until the upper level disturbance that will cause this storm moves from the Pacific over California…and that won’t happen until Saturday.

Believe it or not, riding along the strong jet stream that exists right now, that disturbance will travel from California to Kentucky in only thirty hours!!!

Bottom line

The bottom line for Sunday is that, no matter which model verifies, Sunday morning will be dry.  IF we get any snow, it won’t arrive until afternoon.

Regardless of whether or not we get the snow, a cold Arctic air mass will be spilling overhead, with highs Sunday only reaching the mid 20s (-4 degrees Celsius), and we remain colder than that all the way into midweek (overnight lows will be in the single digits...-14 to -13 degrees Celsius).

After that, the big dip in the jet stream over us relaxes and moves north, gradually returning us to more normal early March temperatures.
 


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