Possible thunderstorms could develop ahead of weekend in Southeast Michigan: What to know

Friday highs in upper 80s, Saturday highs in 70s

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DETROIT – It’s been a lovely day thus far, but mid-afternoon satellite imagery shows some agitated cloud cover across Lake Michigan into northeast Illinois, moving eastward. High-resolution computer models suggest that a small area of showers or possibly even a thunderstorm could develop and cross southern Michigan through the early evening. Most of us will remain dry, but those south of 8 Mile Road may want to monitor the Local4Casters weather app’s real-time radar if you have outdoor plans early this evening.

Otherwise, the rest of the overnight hours appears partly cloudy and dry, with lows mainly in the mid-60s (17 to 18 degrees Celsius). Southeast wind at 5 to 10 mph. Note: a couple of models suggest that a shower or thunderstorm is possible late Thursday night or early Friday morning as that warm front arrives, but more models suggest we’ll remain dry.

This evening’s sunset is at 8:52 p.m., and Friday morning’s sunrise is at 6:08 a.m.

Friday

We may have some clouds first thing Friday morning as a warm front comes through (but see caveat above), but we’ll then become partly cloudy and breezy for the remainder of the day, with highs in the mid-to-upper-80s (30 to 31 degrees Celsius). Southwest winds at 15 to 25 mph, with higher gusts.

Friday night is where the forecast gets more difficult. An approaching cold front will stall over western Michigan, and the best chance to get any thunderstorms (which could be severe) is closer to that front. However, a strong temperature inversion aloft – meaning an area where the temperature rises instead of falling as it usually does when you head upward from the surface – will put a “cap” or “lid” on the atmosphere and squash some of that storm development. It’s going to be a very tight battle between ingredients wanting to fire some strong storms and that inversion, and even the high-resolution models disagree about this. My gut feeling is that the inversion, combined with the overnight timing when it’s cooler and less unstable, will ultimately limit our storm risk Friday night, but we’re not out of the woods, so remain alert.

It’ll be a warm night with lows in the mid-to-upper-60s (18 to 20 degrees Celsius).

Weekend forecast

The uncertainty I wrote about yesterday regarding Saturday’s weather continues today. We have a much better chance of thunderstorms, with a batch potentially coming through in the morning. But it may not rain all day. We could salvage part of the day. The models disagree about this, as well, so I suggest frequently checking the app’s radar if you have outdoor plans. Highs Saturday should reach the upper-70s to near 80 degrees (25 to 27 degrees Celsius), as long as we get a few cracks of sun at some point.

Shower and thunderstorm chances increase Saturday night, with lows in the upper-50s to near 60 degrees (15 degrees Celsius).

Showers likely continue into at least part of Sunday morning before ending. It’ll be breezy and cooler, with highs in the mid-to-upper-60s (18 to 19 degrees Celsius).


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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.