Winter snowstorm heads for SE Michigan: Here’s what to prepare for

Total of 10 inches over two days possible in some areas

24-hour probability of snowfall accumulating -- Feb. 15-16, 2021. This map shows the probability of 6 inches or more of snow. (National Weather Service)

DETROIT – Everything appears to be playing out as expected this week, with the transition to a highly energetic jet stream pattern that shifted the storm track for significant winter storms much closer to our area than it has been all winter.

The first storm really isn’t a storm -- it’s an upper level disturbance that brought our Sunday night snow. This appears to be a general 1-to-2-inch snowfall for us, and the flakes should start winding down during the morning, leaving us mainly dry with perhaps a few flurries or light snow showers this afternoon.

Accordingly, the National Weather Service will end the winter weather advisory -- now upgraded to a winter storm warning -- at noon. Highs in the upper teens (-8 degrees Celsius). North wind at 10 to 15 mph will make it feel colder, of course.

Snow Monday evening, night

A bigger storm heading this way from Texas will redevelop snow Monday evening, which will become heavy at times Monday night before winding down Tuesday morning. This should easily be a 6-to-8-inch snowfall, so total snow from what falls both Sunday night/Monday morning and Monday night/Tuesday morning could approach 10 inches in some areas.

Here is the weather forecast for Detroit.
  • A winter storm warning is in effect until noon Tuesday for Genesee, Lapeer, Lenawee, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Sanilac, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.

Lows Monday night in the low teens (-11 degrees Celsius), and highs Tuesday near 20 degrees (-7 degrees Celsius).

We get a break Wednesday, with perhaps some sun to start the day before clouds increase. As long as we get at least partial Tuesday night clearing, we’ll see lows drop to near zero (-18 degrees Celsius) by dawn Wednesday, with highs Wednesday afternoon near 20 degrees (-7 degrees Celsius).

The next storm also heads this way from Texas -- another one of those Panhandle Hookers that drops southeast from the Rockies, then hooks up to the northeast toward us. These storms (both Monday night’s and Thursday’s storms) tap into moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, which makes them prolific snow producers.

While there are still some details to work out, it appears that several more inches of snow are possible Thursday into Friday.

About the Author:

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.