Metro Detroit weather: Dangerous weekend storm coming

Here is the forecast for the winter storm.

DETROIT – Everything remains on track for a dangerous and significantly disruptive weekend storm.

Today will feature increasing rain coverage, with highs near 50 degrees (10 degrees Celsius). South-southwest wind at 10 to 15 mph.

Rain increases Friday night with a chance of thunderstorms. Temperatures rising into the low to mid 50s (11 to 13 degrees Celsius). South wind at 10 to 20 mph, with gusts to 30 mph possible.

Friday is just the beginning of a winter storm in Metro Detroit. It starts with rain.

Rain becomes heavy on Saturday with thunderstorms possible, but a potent cold front crossing the area during the morning will drop temperatures from those 50s to or a little below freezing generally north of I-696. The farther north you are, especially north of M-59, the quicker the resulting changeover to freezing rain, and the heavier your ice accumulation will be.

Winter Storm Watch, flooding concerns

A Winter Storm Watch is in effect Saturday through Sunday morning for these areas, as ice thicknesses could be near one-half inch, which would be a crippling ice storm. Regardless of the timing of your change to ice, 2-to-3 inches of rain is likely, with widespread flood concerns across our area. If you have a basement and live in a flood prone area, you should strongly consider moving important items in your basement either to a higher floor, or onto tables.

Rain continues into Saturday night, with some areas receiving freezing rain possibly changing back to a period of rain but, by that point, the damage will be done. Even if you don’t get ice, keep in mind that temperatures will drop into the mid 20s (-4 degrees Celsius) by Sunday morning, so areas of water will freeze into ice. Some of us, particularly to the north, could start Sunday with some snow, but that will quickly come to an end.

Highs Sunday only near 30 degrees (-1 degrees Celsius). It will becoming increasingly windy later Saturday night into first thing Sunday morning, with gusts above 40 mph possible. That would significantly increase the load on ice-laden tree limbs and power lines.

One final note about the weekend wind: southwest winds into Friday night will cause flood concerns across the shoreline areas of northern Lake St. Clair. After the Saturday cold front comes through, those winds will shift to the northeast and create a Lake Huron lakeshore flood issue for the Thumb. Then, as winds swing back around to the southwest for a period Sunday night, those concerns shift back to northern Lake St. Clair. Finally, west winds on Sunday will end the lakeshore flood threat on the U.S. side of the lakes.

You can monitor every aspect of this weekend’s changing weather -- wind, temperature, and precipitation type -- on the FREE Local4Casters Weather App. If you ever needed the nation’s best weather app, this is the weekend to make sure it’s downloaded onto your phone. Just search the app store under WDIV -- it’s right there.


About the Authors:

Local 4 meteorologist Paul Gross was born in Detroit and has spent his entire life and career right here in southeast Michigan. Paul has researched, written and produced eight half-hour documentaries for WDIV, as well as many science, historical and environmental stories.