Metro Detroit weather: Friday sun before weekend snow storm

Expect snow to start Saturday night

DETROIT – Some Friday sunshine will certainly help the cause today, with highs reaching the mid 20s (-3 degrees Celsius).

Wind shouldn’t be too bad -- blowing from the northwest at 5 to 10 mph, but will still add a bit of additional chill to the air.

Today’s sunrise is at 7:49 a.m., and today’s sunset is at 5:44 p.m.

Mostly clear Friday night, and it’ll be another cold night -- perhaps even colder than Thursday night, with lows in the low teens (-11 degrees Celsius), and even colder in rural areas. Light northwest wind will diminish eventually to calm air.

Saturday, Sunday snow forecast

We’ll also start our Saturday with some sunshine, but at least partial cloud cover will roll in during the afternoon. Still, it’ll be a great winter day with highs near 30 degrees (-1 degree Celsius).

Now let’s talk about the approaching storm.

First of all, yes, this is the same upper level system that is slamming California. But no, it won’t have the same impact here. Remember that the mountains in California force incoming air upwards, and that enhanced lift generates ridiculous amounts of precipitation. At lower elevations where it’s rain, that means flash flooding and mudslides.

At higher elevations, that means snow, and I’m not just talking about a foot or so. I’m talking about MANY FEET of snow. But that’s good news for them, because that snowpack melting in the spring and summer is what replenishes their reservoirs and provides much-needed water during the dry season.

That same upper level system will generate a low pressure area on the eastern side of the Rockies (we call that lee-side cyclogenesis -- it’s a common occurrence), and the low will take a track eastward eventually across the Ohio River.

Snow will develop for us after midnight Saturday night and continue into Sunday morning, with the heaviest snow south of I-94, where you could pick up a couple or three inches.

Snow amounts diminish the farther north of I-94 you go, with the Thumb possibly not seeing any at all. Any snow in the area should become more scattered during the afternoon, with perhaps Lenawee and Monroe Counties still hanging on to some steadier light snow.

Temperatures Saturday night only fall into the mid 20s (-4 degrees Celsius), and rise into the low 30s (0 degrees Celsius) on Sunday. So it’ll be a great day for the kids (and some adults) to get out for some sledding.

Outlook for next week

There may be some lingering snow showers on Monday, but I don’t expect much accumulation, if any, at this point. Highs near 30 degrees (-1 degree Celsius).

Partly cloudy to mostly sunny on Tuesday and Wednesday, with highs in low 30s (0 degrees Celsius) -- those looks like a couple of nice winter days.

The next sizable storm approaches on Thursday, but this one will track west of us, so we’ll be on the warm side. As such, rain will develop (possibly starting as a few flakes, but the vast majority of the precipitation will fall as rain). Windy highs in the upper 30s to near 40 degrees (4 degrees Celsius).

Rain showers continue Thursday night ahead of the cold front, and then Friday will be windy and colder with possible snow showers.

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