Winter storm in Metro Detroit: Heaviest snow on the way, conditions deteriorating rapidly

Most of the area should see between 4 and 7 inches of snow on Thursday

Michigan radar on Feb. 17, 2022. (WDIV)

DETROIT – This highly impactful winter storm is playing out exactly as expected thus far. Heavy rain fell overnight, and we now have Flood Warnings in effect for the Black River and surrounding tributaries in St. Clair County, and the Rouge River at Detroit.

After the expected lull late this morning, moisture has surged back in this afternoon and rain, freezing rain and sleet is changing to snow as I write this (3:30 p.m.). The snow will become heavy, and continue well into the evening before ending from west to east between 10:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m.

Most of the area should receive between 4 and 7 inches of snow (possibly a tad more if any particularly heavy bands set up and remain over the same area), hence the Winter Storm Warning. Farther north where amounts will be a little less, a Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for Genesee, Lapeer and Sanilac Counties.

Lows tonight will drop to near 10 degrees (-12 degrees Celsius), with even colder temps in our typically coldest rural areas.

Wind will blow from the north, then the northwest, at 15 to 25 mph.

This evening’s sunset is at 6:08 p.m., and Friday morning’s sunrise is at 7:25 a.m.

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Friday will be a cold day, with highs only in the mid 20s (-4 degrees Celsius), but at least we’ll get some sunshine...most in the morning. Northwest winds will shift to the south during the afternoon, at 10 to 15 mph. I’m sure you can find some hot chocolate at Winter Blast in Royal Oak!

Friday night brings another weather concern. A strong cold front will cross the area in the middle of the night. It’ll bring a band of snow showers that will produce less than an inch of accumulation, but that’s not my focus. Rather, wind just 5000 to 6000 feet above the ground will blow at 60 mph, so any robust snow shower could produce some strong wind gusts. Pay extra attention to this part of the forecast over the next day.

Weekend Update

Saturday should bring some sun, but more clouds I’m sorry to say. Highs should reach the low to mid 20s (-5 degrees Celsius), and it’ll be another breezy day. And don’t worry: they won’t run out of hot chocolate at Winter Blast.

Partly cloudy Saturday night, with lows in the mid teens (-10 to-9 degrees Celsius).

Then mostly sunny, breezy and warmer on Sunday, with highs near 40 degrees (4 to 5 degrees Celsius). Somebody put those ice sculptures in the shade at Winter Blast!

Next Storm to Watch

I’m watching a storm that should impact us with another wintry mix of weather in the Monday night / Tuesday timeframe. It doesn’t appear to be nearly as impactful as the storm moving through today, but still needs to be monitored. We’ll keep you updated on our app, on and, of course, on Local 4 and Local 4 Plus.

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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.