Metro Detroit weather: Record rainfall totals over last two days

Heavy rain not expected overnight

Flooding in Dearborn Heights on May 1, 2019. (Zach Lawler/WDIV)
Flooding in Dearborn Heights on May 1, 2019. (Zach Lawler/WDIV)

DETROIT – As expected, heavy rain crossed the area Tuesday night, and this combined with near saturated ground from our recent wet spell caused considerable runoff, with a lot of flooding as a result.

The 2.10 inches of rain officially recorded at Metro Airport on Tuesday obliterated the old April 30th daily rainfall record of 0.97 inches, set in 1962.

We’ve compiled this comprehensive list of two-day rain totals so you can see how much rain fell near your area:

  • Romulus (DTW) -- 3.55 inches
  • Tecumseh -- 3.16 inches
  • Tipton -- 3.03 inches
  • Saline -- 2.94 inches
  • Dearborn -- 2.80 inches
  • Milan -- 2.80 inches
  • Grosse Pointe Farms -- 2.44 inches
  • Adrian -- 2.40 inches
  • Detroit -- 2.26 inches
  • Ann Arbor -- 1.66 inches
  • Morenci -- 1.59 inches
  • Harrison Twp (Selfridge) -- 1.53 inches
  • Dundee -- 1.42 inches
  • Farmington -- 1.31 inches
  • White Lake (NWS) -- 1.25 inches
  • Owosso -- 1.19 inches
  • Waterford -- 1.16 inches
  • Flint -- 0.97 inches
  • Lapeer -- 0.94 inches
  • Yale -- 0.94 inches
  • Lexington -- 0.94 inches
  • Goodrich -- 0.90 inches
  • Richmond -- 0.84 inches
  • Monroe -- 0.61 inches

Furthermore, Tuesday’s record rainfall at Metro Airport pushed our official monthly total to 5.82 inches, which means that you just lived through the third wettest April in recorded Detroit weather history (records began in 1874).

Although some showers are crossing the area this afternoon, heavy rain is not expected and the night ahead should be mostly dry with mostly cloudy skies. As such, the flash flood warning in effect for Wayne County will be allowed to expire at 6:45 p.m. 

Temperatures tonight should drop into the mid to upper 40s (7 to 8 degrees Celsius) by dawn, with a light wind eventually shifting from the southwest to the northwest.

Mostly cloudy (meaning a few breaks of sun are possible) Thursday morning into the early afternoon, then clouds increase and showers and thunderstorms are possible any time after 3 p.m., although it appears that the bulk of the rain will hold off until Thursday evening. Most of us should stay under one inch of rain, but a few spots that receive the heaviest downpours could approach or even top one inch.

We will not get any severe weather (damaging wind or large hail) from these storms. Regardless, our soil is saturated, and cannot soak up any more rain, so whatever falls will runoff, and this problem is most troublesome in urban areas. Furthermore, river levels are already running high, so the runoff will also cause river level rises.

As such, the National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch for Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, Monroe and Lenawee Counties from 4:00 p.m. Thursday until 10 a.m. Friday.

One important point we’d like to make is that our news crews today shot video of many cars stranded on flooded streets and, in many of those cases, the people tried driving through the flood waters. Don't do that! You don’t know if the flood waters have compromised the road beneath that water.

What if there’s a big sinkhole there?

If you drive into that, your bad day could turn into a deadly one.  Furthermore, when you do get stranded, you then also put the lives of first responders rescuing you in danger.

The bottom line is: turn around, don't drown.

Highs Thursday in the mid 60s (18 degrees Celsius).  East-southeast wind at 5 to 10 mph.

Thursday’s sunrise is at 6:28 a.m., and Thursday’s sunset is at 8:34 p.m.

Thursday evening thunderstorms will end, but showers are still possible the rest of the night.  Lows near 50 degrees (10 degrees Celsius).

Friday could start with some showers, but those should end quickly and at least partial sunshine should develop during the afternoon. Highs in the low 60s (16 degrees Celsius).

Mostly cloudy Friday night, with lows in the mid 40s (7 to 8 degrees Celsius).

Weekend update

The Saturday forecast has actually become a little trickier.

The majority of this afternoon’s computer models (ECMWF, GEM, RPM, UKMET) keep the next batch of rain south of Michigan. However, the GFS model -- no slouch when it comes to models -- brings that rain farther northward. At this point, we see no compelling reason to side with that one model, and are going with the clear majority and will keep the Saturday forecast dry.

Now, it may be mostly cloudy across the southern half of the area, but increasing sunshine as you head farther north will make it a better day the farther you get from the state line. Highs Saturday should generally be in the low 60s (16 degrees Celsius).

It does look dry for our Date Night plans, so no weather problems if you plan on taking your sweetie out.

Sunday looks fantastic, with either mostly sunny or partly cloudy skies, and highs in the upper 60s (20 degrees Celsius).

Quick outlook for next week

Believe it or not, a similar pattern to what we had this week could manifest itself next week. It does not appear that we’ll see anything resembling the amount of rain we got this week, but we have periodic rain chances most of the week, with everything moving out just in time for next weekend.

Mother Nature had better turn off the spigot soon, as farmers will have a lot of trouble getting out into the fields if this wet pattern continues beyond next week.

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