Metro Detroit weather: Dangerous cold continues, latest on Tuesday storm

By Paul Gross - Meteorologist

DETROIT - It’s been a bitterly cold day as we settle into the firm grip of our first Arctic blast of the season -- and Mother Nature will only tighten her grip tonight.

Mostly clear and bitterly cold overnight. Lows between -4 and -8 (-22 to -20 degrees Celsius). Unfortunately, high pressure that was supposed to settle in tonight and drop our winds has slowed down, which will keep some wind around, and that will drive wind chills down to -15 to -24 degrees (-32 to -26 degrees Celsius). The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Advisory from 6 p.m. through noon Monday for the entire area. 

Lake effect snow bands that have plagued parts of the Thumb today will continue tonight, but the greatest impact appears to be for the northern part of the county. Still, the National Weather Service has continued the Winter Weather Advisory for Sanilac and Huron Counties until 7 a.m., after which the bands should start shifting offshore (but you folks in Ontario southeast of Lake Huron will continue to get pounded until late in the day).

On the bright side, the clearing skies means that we’ll be able to see tonight’s lunar eclipse! This one is affectionately being called the “Super Blood Wolf Moon.”

Here’s why:

  • “Super” because the moon is near the closest point in its orbit around Earth -- is a little bigger in the sky
  • “Blood” because it turns a brownish-reddish color at maximum eclipse
  • “Wolf” because January’s full moon is the Wolf Moon.

The entire eclipse runs from 10:34 p.m. to 1:51 a.m., and totality is from 11:41 p.m. to 12:43 p.m. You don’t need a telescope or binoculars -- and it’s safe to view without any eye protection, unlike solar eclipses. So what’s happening? Quite simply, Earth will be exactly between the moon and the sun, with the moon passing right through the earth’s shadow.

While lunar eclipses aren’t rare, they aren’t common, either -- the last one was in September 2015, and the next one won’t be until May 2021. It’ll be cold outside, but it’s worth stepping out even for a moment and taking a look!

Monday, the Martin Luther King holiday, will be dry, with mostly sunny skies, but highs once again only in the low to mid teens (-12 to -11 degrees Celsius). Any wind at all, of course, will keep wind chills around zero (-18 degrees Celsius even in the afternoon sunshine.

The next storm

This afternoon’s computer models are providing more insight into Tuesday’s storm. At this point, we’re going to keep the day dry, and even with partly cloudy skies for a few hours.

Snow develops right after the Tuesday afternoon rush hour, but the snow will transition to rain without much snow accumulation (probably under an inch). Most of Tuesday night should be rain.

This will be a nice snow storm for the northern half of the lower peninsula (3” to 6”), so the snow dances everybody at the ski resorts up north have been doing are going to work! Rain continues into Wednesday morning, before a cold front crosses the area and kicks out the rain, but also drops our afternoon temperatures.

Finally, the super long range computer models show another Arctic air mass invading the Great Lakes next weekend -- with periodic light snow or snow showers. Winter is here!

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