SE Michigan weather timeline: Warming, windy, then rainy -- all before the major snow storm

Get ready for rain to turn to snow by Wednesday morning

DETROIT – We are fortunate to have some mild air moving into Metro Detroit as you head out and about into temperatures in the low and middle 20s on Tuesday morning.

The breezes are picking up as well SSE 10 gusting 10-20 mph keeping wind chills in the lower teens at times so we keep bundling up. As we get past sunrise our temps and winds will both start to take off which is counter productive to warming up today, so keep the thicker coats and the winter garb going even as we hit our warmest day of the week. Clouds will mix with a little bit of sunshine this morning and midday but the clouds will rule most of the day.

Sunrise is at 7:47 a.m.

Let the pseudo warmup begin! Most of SE Lower Michigan and Southern Ontario will see temperatures warming into the upper 30s to low 40s with more clouds than sun, but at least we have a touch of that free Vitamin D. Just don’t expect too much in the way of sunshine. In fact, we’d have a shot at 50 degrees today if we could get into more sunshine.

Instead, afternoon clouds will increase and thicken with the first wave of our Big Winter Storm taking shape. We will be dry through the mid to even late afternoon, but then with temps in the low 40s, the moisture moving in later today will be rain around Metro Detroit. Keep the umbrella handy later because you may need this as you’re walking out of work tonight or running errands. That means we also may be slowed by rain as we hit the Tuesday evening commute although the rain chances do get better and better after 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. this evening.

Sunset is at 5:48 p.m.

The rain

Rain showers will be the precipitation type for most of Metro Detroit Tuesday night with a better chance for more of a wintry mix or light snow in our North Zone late this evening, tonight, and overnight. Again, most of us will be too warm or mild for snow as Detroit Area temps will stay in the upper 30s to near 40F until midnight and then slowly begin to cool.

The change to snow

We will see mid 30s by 3 a.m., and freezing temps by 6 a.m. Wednesday which will be our move into the “all snow” category for just about the entire area if not a little sooner than that.

Our Winter Storm Watch will likely be upgraded to a Winter Storm Warning shortly, but the details haven’t really changed. This Storm Warning will be in effect Wednesday morning through Thursday evening with the threat of a foot to a foot and a half of snow. It will be quite snowy, messy, and tricky getting around all day Wednesday here in SE Lower Michigan. Temperatures will hover around freezing or slightly cooler through the morning and early afternoon. With a good 5-9 inches of new snow Wednesday, temps will begin to really drop dramatically as arctic air sweeps in and will settle in for a while.

Make sure you don’t overdo it with the shoveling! Try to remove snow in shifts or hire the kids on your street to do it for you. Traveling around will be quite slippery and dangerous and we are all being advised to not travel unless we have to, or travel at your own risk both Wednesday and Thursday.

The Winter Storm Warning will still be going Thursday and temps are tumbling with pesky breezes adding insult to injury. Expect mid to upper teens Thursday morning with steady snow still coming down, and then afternoon highs only in the lower 20s with either snow, blowing snow, or both. Right now, computer model data is split on what will become of the snow on Thursday as some models keep more snow coming in after a brief mid morning break from the flakes.

Another model has most of the snow pulling east during the morning leaving us more dry than snowy although those cold winds will be whipping NNW 10-20mph blowing snow and keeping our roads in rough shape. We should anticipate more snow in the late morning and afternoon for most of Metro Detroit and that may be another 4-8 inches of new snow on Thursday bringing some area snow totals over one foot for the two days.

Snow forecast model data

The very latest computer model data on snow totals for Metro Detroit for all day Wednesday and all day Thursday:

First, the European Snow Model hasn’t changed much from the last few model runs which happen every six hours. So The Euro Snow Model calls for 10-15 inches of snow with about a foot of snow total on average. Several American computer models are now updated as well.

The NAM Snow Model is the most aggressive with 14-18 inches of snow along and south of I-94 to the Ohio border. The NAM also has the heart of our area seeing 13-16 inches while our North Zone gets 10 inches.

The GFS Snow Model has been less aggressive but the newest model run has upped the anti with 7-10 inches for North Zone, 11-14 inches for most of the area, and up to 16 inches in our South Zone.

Finally, the IBM Graf model gives most of Metro Detroit snow totals of 11-15 inches with the higher totals south.

Friday and the weekend

We will see dry weather return to Metro Detroit Friday through the weekend. Friday will be very, very chilly again with a sharp breeze. So, we will wake up to single digits Friday morning and subzero wind chills with more clouds than sun on a dry day Friday.

The sun will battle back late Friday afternoon and highs halt in the mid to upper teens. Saturday morning may very well be a subzero start followed by tons of sun and highs in the upper teens to near 20F. Sunday will be single digits early with highs in the mid to upper 20s under partly sunny skies.

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