Winter storm takes aim at SE Michigan this weekend: Honing in on expected snow

4-7 inches of snow possible Saturday into Sunday

A snow plow clears the road of snow December 9, 2005 near Lincoln, Massachusetts. The fast moving storm, shut down some schools and snarled traffic on its way to dumping up to seven inches of snow across the Northeast. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

DETROIT – After an active start to the week, we finally have a couple of relatively quiet days before the weekend storm arrives.

Clouds will hang tough tonight, with temperatures not dropping much…holding nearly steady in the low to mid 30s (-1 to 1 degrees Celsius). Light east winds will shift to the south later tonight.

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

We’ll start the final Friday of 2021 with lots of clouds but, with a bit of luck, perhaps then see some breaks of sun develop. Boy do we need that sun! It’ll be a milder day with highs reaching the low to mid 40s (6 to 7 degrees Celsius). Light south winds become southeast later in the day.

New Year’s Eve originally looked dry, but some high-resolution computer models now suggest that a few light rain showers could develop. Not everybody will necessarily get one, but just be aware that there could be a few around, so check the real-time radar on the Local4Casters weather app to stay ahead of the weather. Temperatures on New Year’s Eve won’t fall much, and probably still be around 40 degrees (5 degrees Celsius) when the ball drops, so at least it’ll be much milder than in most years.

The Weekend Storm

Alright, let’s get to the weekend storm. At this point, I think we’ll likely start Saturday dry, and perhaps remain mostly dry through early afternoon. I cannot rule out a few showers during the first half of the day, but I don’t think we’ll see much on our app’s radar when we wake up.

Then rain and snow will move in during the afternoon, with any areas getting rain changing over to snow within a few hours. The snow will then become heavier through Saturday night.

I want to re-emphasize something I wrote about yesterday in my article: the upper-level “embryo” that will spur development of the weekend storm is still out in the Pacific west of southern California. As such, it is not within range of our land-based weather balloons (called radiosondes), which are launched twice a day to measure temperature, humidity, wind, and pressure from the surface all the way up above where jet airplanes fly.

This data is critical to our computers’ ability to model the storm’s development, evolution and track. And that track will determine the exact proximity of the storm’s heaviest snow band.

The upper-level disturbance will probably cross the coast late Friday, so Friday evening’s models will (hopefully) start getting a better handle on things.

With that being said, it appears that the storm’s heaviest snow band may develop across southeast Michigan, with the potential for four to seven inches of snow within that band. Snowfall amounts will be lower outside of that narrow band.

Updated: New Year’s Day winter storm in Southeast Michigan: Timing, how much snow

Temperatures on Saturday will fall from around 40 degrees (5 degrees Celsius) at midnight into the low-to-mid 30s by late afternoon. And it will become breezy as well.

Snow continues Saturday night, and then starts to diminish late at night, with lows in the low 20s (-5 degrees Celsius).

Snow showers are possible at least Sunday morning, and it will be a breezy, cold day – our coldest day of the season thus far – with temperatures only rising into the mid 20s (-3 degrees Celsius), and this cold air sticking around into Monday before we warm up again for the midweek period.

Mother Nature starts 2022 with a bang!

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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.