Metro Detroit weather: New look at projected snow totals, how winter storm could play out

Winter storm warning issued for Southeast Michigan this week

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DETROIT – New computer model data is offering an updated look at this week’s winter storm, including projected snow totals and the timeline of how it could play out.

We get new computer model data about every six hours, and your Local4Casters will keep you posted as soon as we get those new updates.

There are some wild swings in our weather ahead.

Warmer Tuesday

Tuesday will be hands-down the warmest day in Metro Detroit this week, with lunchtime temperatures already in the mid-30s to near 40 degrees, and afternoon highs will hit the lower 40s.

One thing to watch is the wind, which has been picking up as our temps rise SSE 7-17, gusting 20-25 mph, at times. So, that walk with the dog won’t be quite as warm as the thermometer reads, and you’ll need to dress for the upper 20s to low 30s.

Tuesday is also the day to get as much done as you can when it comes to errands or whatever you might need through this incoming storm Wednesday and Thursday.

Rain develops

The first phase of this storm actually begins Tuesday, in the form of rain. Rain chances increase after 4-5 p.m., and will be heavier and more widespread after 6-7 p.m.

Get set for a rainy evening, with some minor hydroplaning concerns for anyone traveling late evening and early overnight.

Sunset is at 5:48 p.m. Tuesday.

Winter storm watch begins Wednesday

Our winter storm watch has officially been upgraded to a winter storm warning. That really just puts all of the concerns of a watch into a more eminent warning. Nothing really changes other than that, as we will see rain switch over to snow overnight. Then, the real fun begins.

The winter storm warning is in effect at the following times:

  • Genesee County: 4 a.m. Wednesday to 7 a.m. Thursday.
  • Lapeer County: 4 a.m. Wednesday to 7 a.m. Thursday.
  • Lenawee County: 6 a.m. Wednesday to 10 p.m. Thursday.
  • Livingston County: 4 a.m. Wednesday to 7 a.m. Thursday.
  • Macomb County: 4 a.m. Wednesday to 7 a.m. Thursday.
  • Monroe County: 6 a.m. Wednesday to 10 p.m. Thursday.
  • Oakland County: 4 a.m. Wednesday to 7 a.m. Thursday.
  • Sanilac County: 4 a.m. Wednesday to 7 a.m. Thursday.
  • St. Clair County: 4 a.m. Wednesday to 7 a.m. Thursday.
  • Washtenaw County: 6 a.m. Wednesday to 10 p.m. Thursday.
  • Wayne County: 6 a.m. Wednesday to 10 p.m. Thursday.

Here’s how we see each day playing out and the snow totals you can expect:

Wednesday snowfall

Wednesday will be snowy all day, with moderate snow becoming heavy at times, especially in the afternoon, when we could see an inch of new snow per hour for a short while.

We should have about 4-5 inches on the ground for most of Metro Detroit by 4 p.m. Then, afternoon and evening snow showers will bring our snow accumulations up to about 8-9 inches.

There will be a break from the flakes Wednesday night late through part of the overnight before the snow gets going again.

Temps will start near freezing early Wednesday and fall into the upper 20s by late afternoon or evening.

Snow continues Thursday

Thursday morning may not be totally treacherous on our Metro Detroit roads, highways and byways. Plan on very slick and dangerous conditions anyhow, and really only travel at your own risk.

The snow will get going again by the time the morning commute begins, and we will see several more inches of snow stacking up through the afternoon and early evening. The Arctic front that is the spark for this storm will bring that air into all of Pure Michigan on Thursday, with mid-teens early and lower 20s into the afternoon.

A bit more of a biting wind NW 10-20 mph adds blowing snow and drifting to our concerns on the roads.

It is very important that you listen to your body as you try to remove your snow. Try to shovel in 20-30 minute shifts, taking as many breaks as you can because it will be a heavy snow that can be very hard on your body and your heart.

New snow totals

Here’s what you’ve all been waiting for: the Metro Detroit snow totals from brand new model data midday Tuesday.

The European Snow Model has a two-day total between 10 and 15 inches, with 10 inches north of M-59 and the higher amounts of 12-15 closer to Downtown Detroit and the Ohio border.

The GFS Snow Model has been up and down on snow totals, and the latest calls for 6-9 inches north of I-69, a solid 10-12 inches for the heart of Metro Detroit and 14-16 inches possible in our South Zone.

Finally, the NAM Snow Model, which had been spitting out a foot and a half of total snow near the Ohio border, has backed down just a bit. This model calls for 7-9 inches North of M-59, about 12 inches for the heart of Metro Detroit and about 14 inches in our South Zone.

Friday aftermath

Friday will be dry, but likely very icy, and it will be rough going on our area roadways.

We will awake to single-digit temps that feel subzero, bringing that dangerous cold for the end of this week and the weekend ahead.

Partly sunny skies gradually clear Friday, with highs in the mid- to upper teens and the threat of frostbite and hypothermia to anyone not layered up and protected. Be kind to your neighbors and the folks at the grocery store, remember to shovel in shifts and know that traveling on Wednesday and Thursday is at your own risk. 

The Local4Casters app is your absolute best weapon and tool to stay ahead of any kind of weather in Pure Michigan and around the world. Plus, it’s free!

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