Winter storm in Southeast Michigan on Thursday: 5-8 inches of snow, but possibly more. Oh, and ice!

Most of the area should see between 5 and 8 inches of snow on Thursday

The Local 4Casters track the latest weather alerts in Metro Detroit and Southeast Michigan. Get the most updated information here:

DETROIT – Everything seems to be falling into place with the approaching winter storm. Brandon had a great handle on things this morning, and this update will fine tune the details based upon new high-resolution computer model data that has come in this afternoon.

Let’s break this down into bite-size chunks so you get what you need itemized and easy to find, and in the order that they will occur:


Whether you’ve been outside or not today, you’ve certainly noticed the wind, which gusted to between 30 and 40 mph. The windy conditions will continue into this evening, then settle down to normal breezy conditions for the remainder of the night. As such, the Wind Advisory is scheduled to expire at 8:00 p.m.


Rain will increase this evening and overnight. Some of us may even hear a rumble of overnight thunder. The big concern is the potential for 0.75″ to 1.00″ of rain, and associated flooding. First, in addition to the falling rain, we also have melting snow adding to that amount of water. Second, the ground is frozen so, unlike in the summer when some of this water can soak into the ground, all water tonight will run off.

There is one thing you can do to help mitigate the flood concerns: make sure that the storm drains on your street are clear of debris and snow. If all of this water cannot flow into those drains, then it will start flooding streets and basements. Furthermore, the runoff will cause local streams and rivers to rise, so be aware of this if you live along one of them. The Flood Advisory begins overnight tonight and is scheduled to expire at 4:00 p.m. Thursday.


If you’ve been out today, you no doubt felt the warmth…temperatures near 50 degrees (10 degrees Celsius) may have had you thinking about spring. But those thoughts will be dashed on Thursday, as a potent cold front will cross the area from north to south late at night and crash our temperatures. The front will probably be splitting the area around dawn, with areas to the north already falling to near freezing, and areas to the south still in the 40s (8 degrees Celsius). Those temperatures will fall through the day, and we’ll be in the 20s (-4 degrees Celsius) by dinnertime.

Ice and Snow

If there’s any moisture left behind the cold front, then the northern half of the area could see some light freezing rain or sleet develop Thursday morning. I do not expect much of this but, if you’re temps get to freezing, then some slick spots could develop. So use cause if you head out Thursday morning.

The next point I want to make is still somewhat of a question mark. Most computer models give us a small break from the precipitation late morning into the early afternoon. It may end completely in some spots, while others still get some patchy light freezing rain or a few light snowflakes. However, moisture will come roaring back by mid-afternoon, and this time it’ll be cold enough for snow…with the possible exception for the southeast half of Monroe County, which could see another stretch with some freezing rain during this snow part of the event. The snow will become heavy at times, with snowfall rates of one inch per hour possible.

Snowfall predictions

Snowfall amounts are always tricky in situations like this, but right now I’m thinking that areas generally southeast of a line from Port Huron to Howell to Jackson will see between 5 and 8 inches of snow, with diminishing amounts northwest of that line, and also perhaps an inch less snow in parts of Monroe County (and maybe even southeast Lenawee County) due to any ice that mixes in.

A Winter Storm Warning begins at 3:00 p.m. Thursday and is scheduled to expire at 3:00 a.m. Friday morning. All snow should end by midnight Thursday night.

This will be a highly impactful storm. I have reasonable confidence in the details I’ve outlined above, but there’s one final uncertainty: an area of low pressure tracking northeastward along the aforementioned cold front could enhance the snowfall somewhat.

I’ll be monitoring this feature very carefully tonight and Thursday. Join me on Local 4 News at 4 (online and Local 4+), 5, 6, 10 (online and Local 4+) and a special 10:30 p.m. newscast for the very latest, and definitely wake up with Brandon on Local 4 News today for the weather information you need to start the day.

Weather links:

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.