Metro Detroit weather: We won’t get the snow, but we’ll get the cold

Big winter storm developing to our west

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Everything is panning out exactly as expected with the big winter storm that’s now developing to our west. The low-pressure center is now located in northwest Iowa, and it’s diving southeast toward the Gulf coast, taking the snow with it.

Once the low gets farther south, it’ll tap that Gulf moisture, and you know what happens when you throw moisture into cold air. Of greatest concern to me is the potential for an ice storm in parts of the Carolinas. Aside from the ice, a solid band with eight-to-twelve inches of snow will develop from western North Carolina all the way up into western New York state.

Needless to say, this storm will cause significant travel hazards for motorists and flight delays that will have repercussions all across the nation.

As for us, the big storm will pass far enough south and east of us that we won’t get any of its snow. But we will get another shot of Arctic air, which is already filtering southward across the state. Skies overnight will be mostly cloudy but, despite the blanket of cloud cover, temperatures will still drop to near 10 degrees (-12 degrees Celsius), with a north wind at 5 to 10 mph making it feel like near zero (-18 degrees Celsius) by dawn.

Tonight

This evening’s sunset is at 5:25 p.m., and Saturday morning’s sunrise is at 7:59 a.m. – before 8:00 a.m.! We’re gradually getting more daylight, have you noticed?

Weekend forecast

Saturday starts cloudy, then drier air moving in will break up the clouds during the afternoon. Despite any sunshine we get, highs will only reach the upper teens (-7 degrees Celsius), with a north-northeast wind at 5 to 10 mph, likely keeping afternoon wind chills below 10 degrees (-12 degrees Celsius).

Mostly clear Saturday night, and the combination of clear skies, light wind, and dry air means it’ll be a good radiational cooling night, a very efficient loss of daytime heating. As such, temps will drop into the single digits, between 8 degrees (-13 degrees Celsius) in urban areas and 2 degrees (-17 degrees Celsius) in our typically colder rural areas.

Mostly sunny on Sunday, with highs rebounding into the upper 20s (-2 degrees Celsius).

Next Week

Increasing clouds Sunday night, with lows near 20 degrees (-6 degrees Celsius).

Cloudy on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday with a few flurries or very light snow showers possible. Highs in the low 30s (-1 degree Celsius).

Most of next week looks dry; our best chance of snow is some light accumulation possible Tuesday night or early Wednesday, but it really doesn’t look to be a big deal. After highs that just sneak above freezing on Tuesday and Wednesday, more Arctic air is poised to head this way for the rest of the week.

Weather extra

While nobody that I know likes Arctic air, there actually is one important positive purpose to it. The milder winters we’ve been having as a result of the warming climate have allowed some of the summertime pests that we don’t like to survive the winter in more significant numbers. So periodic Arctic blasts impact the attrition of these pests, such as ticks. Think about this if you are outside shivering today or this weekend!


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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.