Dangerous winter storm starts with rain Thursday before snow, wind, cold hit early Friday in SE Michigan

Winter Storm Warning issued Thursday night through Saturday

4Warn Weather – The National Weather Service has placed all of SE lower Michigan and Southern Ontario under a Winter Storm Warning starting tonight through Saturday morning.

High temperatures Thursday will hit the middle and upper 30s. You might not feel the warmth, but temps will rise into the upper 30s this evening as the leading edge of the storm brings mostly rain showers in from the southwest after 5 p.m.

A few light and scattered rain or snow showers are possible this afternoon, but most of the wet weather arrives later. Some may very well see wet snowflakes mixing in with the rain through the late evening, though most of Metro Detroit will get rain.

The weather will change dramatically Friday morning. Friday brings the dangerous triple threat of wind, snow, and cold.

Tonight’s sunset is at 5:04 p.m.

Rain switches to snow

The rain will switch over to snow after 3 a.m. Friday, with temps in the middle 30s dropping into the middle 20s by sunrise. The major concerns will be travel and power problems from the cold and wind.

You should expect periods of light to moderate snow worsened with the winds whipping, blowing snow all over our roadways. There will also be stretches of heavier snow Friday into the afternoon as temps tumble into the teens.

The winds will move WSW at 20-35 mph, and will gust to 35-55 mph for several hours, creating near blizzard conditions -- and the possibility of sporadic power outages.

Remember, the Winter Storm Warning runs through Friday into Saturday morning, and is set to expire at 4 a.m. Saturday. That means more snow showers, dangerous cold, and blowing snow could continue until that time.

Snow totals

Snow totals will depend on how much rain before the snow early, and how badly the wind blows everything around. Right now, the computer models are showing snow totals of 4-8 inches around most of Metro Detroit, with some spots getting closer to a foot of snow. The highest snow totals will likely be between Jackson, Howell, Lapeer and north/west Oakland counties due to added lake effect snow bands.

Brutally cold after storm

Saturday afternoon will be a time for digging out and recovering on Christmas Eve with brutal cold temps in the single digits and low teens, and subzero wind chills. Traveling should only be done with safety in mind, bringing blankets, flashlights and medical supplies just in case. We likely won’t even see 20-degree highs Saturday afternoon, but we might see some patchy blue sky between lake effect bands and isolated snow squalls.

A white Christmas

Christmas Day will be cold and still breezy, keeping the dangerously cold conditions in play for old Santa Clause. We won’t have to deal with any terrible snow problems as we expect scattered, light snow showers and flurries at times on what will be a white Christmas in Metro Detroit. We will be watching this storm like a hawk and continue to keep you up to speed.

We can also keep you prepared with the 4Warn Weather App, where you will stay well ahead of any storms or changes in your weather. Plus, it’s free!

Remember to download the free 4Warn weather app -- it’s easily one of the best in the nation. Just search your app store under WDIV and it’s right there available for both iPhones and Androids! Or click the appropriate link below.