Storm likely to bring significant flood threat to Southeast Michigan this weekend

NWS Precipitation map for Friday, Jan. 10.
NWS Precipitation map for Friday, Jan. 10. (WDIV)

The weather scenario for this upcoming weekend has not changed, and it looks increasingly likely that Southeast Michigan will see a widespread flood event this weekend.

Fortunately, today will be a dry day, so there is still some time to prepare. We’ll have at least partial sunshine for a while, before clouds increase by mid to late afternoon. Highs in the low to mid 40s (5 to 6 degrees Celsius) will be offset by a southeast wind at 10 to 20 mph that will make it feel cooler.

Showers develop Thursday night, with near steady temperatures around 40 degrees (4 to 5 degrees Celsius). South wind at 10 to 15 mph.

Showers are likely on Friday, with temperatures soaring to near 50 degrees (10 degrees Celsius).

Rain increases Friday night, and becomes heavy late at night. Temperatures hold nearly steady around 50 degrees (10 degrees Celsius).

Weekend storm update

Heavy rain will fall most of the daytime hours on Saturday. Parts of our area could easily pick up three inches of total rain. One caveat: colder air will slowly filter in from northwest to southeast during the day, so there is a possibility for some mix with ice or snow the farther north and northwest you are in our area.

Remember that, in the summer, the ground is able to soak up a lot of rain. In the winter however, the ground is frozen (even if the surface is mushy, it’s frozen below). So more of the rain will run off this weekend than typically would if this was a summer event, and there will be many areas of flooding, including on streets and freeway, from rising rivers, and in basements. There are some things you can do to help mitigate its impacts on you. Here are the four things you need to do NOW before the heavy rain arrives:

  1. If you didn’t do it in the fall, make sure your gutters are clear (or hire somebody to do it).
  2. Make sure that your downspouts drain away from your house. If those downspouts discharge all of that rain close to your home, then you are essentially doubling the amount of rain affecting you. It’s easy to buy pieces of downspout at your hardware store and extend your downspouts away from the house.
  3. Put important items in your basement up on tables, or move them upstairs.
  4. If you have storm drains on your street, make sure the grate is clear and free of debris so that water can flow freely into those drains.

Temperatures on Saturday will be very mild (around 50 degrees -- 10 degrees Celsius) first thing in the morning, but will then fall into the mid 30s by late afternoon.

Areas still getting rain late Saturday may change to sleet or freezing rain, and then snow, Saturday night but, at this point, it appears that any accumulations will be minor here in southeast Michigan as a dry slot behind the approaching storm will cut off a lot of the moisture before temperatures get cold enough. Regardless, with lows projected to drop below freezing, there will be areas of ice developing.

Even if some of us start Sunday with some lingering light snow, that should end rather quickly and partial sunshine should develop. It’s going to be a windy day, with highs in the mid 30s (1 degree Celsius).

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