Metro Detroit weather: Tracking potential snow for the weekend

Storm 3 arrives Wednesday night, but storm 4 we need to monitor

We started the week with two storms in two days, and now the third storm of the week approaches tonight. We need a break, and fortunately, this storm will be the least impactful of the week.

DETROIT – We started the week with two storms in two days, and now the third storm of the week approaches tonight. We need a break, and fortunately, this storm will be the least impactful of the week.

We’ll remain dry through the evening hours, then some areas of light snow will move through between midnight and dawn. At this point, accumulation appears minimal, just a dusting at most.

Lows Wednesday night should be near 30 degrees (-1 degree Celsius), so watch for icy spots on untreated surfaces Thursday morning. Light west wind this evening will shift to the north overnight.

This evening’s sunset is at 5:10 p.m., and Thursday morning’s sunrise is at 8:02 a.m.

Rest of week

Pick your favorite shade of grey, as Thursday will be a cloudy day. But those clouds shouldn’t leak unless any lingering flakes from overnight extend just past dawn. Highs in the upper 30s (3 to 4 degrees Celsius). Northeast wind at 4 to 7 mph.

Clouds persist into Thursday night, with lows in the mid-30s (1 degree Celsius).

Mostly cloudy on Friday, with highs in the mid-40s (7 to 8 degrees Celsius).

Cloudy skies prevail on New Year’s Eve. However, it still appears dry as temperatures hold nearly steady in the low 40s (5 degrees Celsius) and then fall into the upper 30s (3 to 4 degrees Celsius) by the time we wake up Saturday morning.

If you’ll be out celebrating, please don’t drive if you’ll be drinking.

Either have a designated sober driver or call an Uber or Lyft. There’s no excuse for drinking and driving. Also, don’t fire guns in the air at midnight.

Did you know that those bullets travel at over 100 mph when they fall back to earth? Years ago, a viewer emailed me the hole he found in the hood of his car on New Year’s morning after a bullet fell through it. I’ve seen stories about holes in roofs of homes from falling New Year’s Eve bullets. And should one of those bullets hits a person, he or she (or you) will be injured.

This weekend (Tracking potential for severe storms)

The long-range computer models continue to have significant problems trying to resolve the evolving weather pattern for Saturday into Saturday night. But that’s not surprising since the upper air disturbance that is essentially the embryo of the system that will move our way is still over the east Pacific Ocean.

It won’t be moving until it crosses the west coast and is over the continent. Our land-based weather balloon network (called radiosondes) can provide us with dynamic and thermodynamic details of its structure which is critical data that is imported into our computer models. So let’s discuss what I know and don’t know.

First, I am certain that this system will have a lot of moisture to work with, so it’s going to generate a lot of precipitation. That includes severe storms and potential flooding across the southeastern U.S. and very heavy snow on the storm’s northern flank.

Put simply, this storm Saturday into Saturday night will greatly disrupt travel. If you or anybody you know has travel plans over the weekend, you’d better let them know about what I’m telling you here.

The great uncertainty with this system is its exact placement which is critical to the atmosphere’s thermal profile (which, in turn, determines who gets rain, ice, and snow).

The models have surface lows Saturday morning, ranging from southwest Missouri to Colorado. How can I possibly make a detailed forecast when there is that much difference? Put simply, I can’t.

However, I can tell you that some parts of the lower peninsula may get over ten inches of snow Saturday into Sunday. The $64,000 question is: where will that band be set up?

From what I’ve seen today, it would appear that the more likely scenario is central lower Michigan, but that means that we are not out of the woods yet. So stay with me on this. I’ll update you on Local 4, our weather app, and over the next couple of days.

Following this storm, we’ll have the coldest air of the season invade for Sunday and Monday highs in the mid-to-upper 20s (-3 to -2 degrees Celsius).

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.