Metro Detroit weather: We could see some freezing rain, icy conditions this weekend

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DETROIT – There’s a change in this weekend’s forecast details, but first, how about that sunshine today!

Every Michigan resident knows that we get a lot of winter cloud cover because of cold air flowing across the warm Great Lakes. On some winter days, we’re socked in with clouds while, just across Lake Michigan, they’re enjoying nothing but blue skies. It sometimes makes us jealous, but I wouldn’t trade our Pure Michigan lakes for anything.

Skies overnight will vary between mostly clear and partly cloudy combined with a very dry airmass (which will become even more important, as you’ll read later) and light wind, which means that temperatures will once again fall into the single digits (-16 to -13 degrees Celsius) in many areas, and hold around 10 degrees (-12 degrees Celsius) in our Urban Heat Island closer to Detroit.

This evening’s sunset is at 5:18 p.m., and Saturday morning’s sunrise is at 8:02 a.m.

This weekend

Partly cloudy to mostly sunny skies will greet us on Saturday. It’ll become a bit breezy in the afternoon, with a south wind at 10 to 15 mph, but sunshine and afternoon highs near 30 degrees (-1 degree Celsius) is sure better than what we’ve had most of this week! Clouds, however, will increase from west to east by mid-to-late afternoon.

Those south winds will keep our temperatures rising through Saturday night. However, remember that earlier mention about dry air? That’s an important player here. As light rain approaches from the southwest (which you will be able to track on our app’s real-time radar), it’ll fall into that dry air and, at first, start evaporating.

Evaporation causes cooling; that’s why you feel cold when you step out of the shower because water is evaporating off your skin. So, that evaporative cooling, as it’s called, will stop the warming for a while and possibly even cool temperatures a degree or two, which will keep temperatures below freezing when that rain finally starts making it to the ground; that’s called freezing rain.

So, if you have Saturday evening plans, be aware that icy conditions could temporarily develop until temperatures resume their rise and we get above freezing, thus transitioning to ordinary light rain showers for the rest of the night. By the time you wake up Sunday morning, temperatures will be in the mid-30s (3 degrees Celsius).

Most, if not all, of the rain will be gone by dawn Sunday. We’ll keep the clouds around until a cold front crosses the area late-morning, which will then scour out the clouds. It will also drop temperatures into the upper 20s (-2 degrees Celsius) by dinnertime, so be aware that it’ll be warmer when you wake up than it will be later in the day. Making it feel even colder will be breezy conditions that develop behind the cold front.

Next week

It’s then back into the deep freeze Monday into Tuesday, with highs both days only near 20 degrees (-7 degrees Celsius). In fact, lows Tuesday morning will probably range from 0 degrees (-18 degrees Celsius) to 5 degrees (-15 degrees Celsius), and possibly even colder than this depending upon the wind and cloud cover.

There’s also the chance for some flakes Monday, depending upon the exact track an upper-level disturbance takes.

Temperatures should rebound into the mid-to-upper 30s (2 to 4 degrees Celsius) for the middle of the week.

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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.