Metro Detroit weather: Staying cold, but adding snowflakes to the mix

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DETROIT – We are now firmly entrenched in the latest batch of Arctic air to cross the region, and it’s going to be a very cold night ahead. Clearing skies, slackening wind, and the cold, dry air overhead mean that what little daytime heat we get during the day will very efficiently radiate upward overnight.

This maximum surface cooling potential is called radiational cooling. It will lead to lows well down into the single digits, around 7 degrees (-14 degrees Celsius) in urban areas and possibly near zero (-18 degrees Celsius) in our typically colder rural spots.

Thursday evening’s sunset is at 5:32 p.m., and Friday morning’s sunrise is at 7:56 a.m.


We will end the work week with lots of sunshine, or free Vitamin D, as Brandon Roux likes to call it. Even though Friday’s highs will only reach the low 20s (-5 degrees Celsius), if you are out running errands, that sun shining in the windows will certainly help warm your car, not to mention if you leave the drapes or blinds open on the sun side of the house. And with a light and variable wind, at least we won’t have much wind chill to worry about, either.

Clouds increase overnight Friday night, with lows in the low teens (-11 degrees Celsius).

Weekend forecast

A cold front crossing the state later Saturday into Saturday night will trigger some light snow showers, but I don’t expect much accumulation, perhaps a dusting at most. However, we’ll warm up a bit ahead of the front, with highs Saturday in the upper 20s (-2 degrees Celsius).

Snow showers still linger Saturday night, with lows in the upper teens (-7 degrees Celsius).

Mostly cloudy on Sunday with a few harmless flakes possible as the next little storm system passes to our south. Any farther northward nudge of this system would push light accumulating snow across the state line into southern Lenawee and Monroe Counties so, if you live in that area, keep an eye on our app’s real-time radar Sunday to make sure that little blob of snow is staying south of us. Highs in the mid-20s (-4 degrees Celsius).

Snow next week

The storm system I’ve been watching most intently this week approaches Monday into Monday night. The computer models still do not agree on its exact track, and that’s no surprise since the upper-level disturbance that will trigger this surface cyclone is still out over the Pacific where our land-based weather balloons (called radiosondes) cannot get us data about it.

Once the system crosses the west coast this weekend, that critical upper-level data will then be accessible and inputted into the computer models.

The bottom line is that, while I’m confident about snow developing Monday into Monday night, I am not confident about the amounts. We’ll likely get something to shovel out of it, but I don’t know if that’ll be an inch or so, or three to five inches. I’ll give you my updated thinking in my Friday afternoon weather article.

But one thing I can say with great confidence is that some of the coldest air of the season will follow this Monday night system and, by the middle of next week, we could have wind chills that come close to wind chill advisory criteria. Stay tuned.

You know I’ll keep you posted here on, on Local 4 and on the Local4Casters weather app.

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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.

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