Metro Detroit weather: Pleasant Thursday night ahead

Plus the latest on Tropical Storm Barry

By Paul Gross - Meteorologist

DETROIT - Lower dewpoint temperatures moving in behind a cold front that crossed the area late at night has made for a much more comfortable afternoon.

Yes, temperatures are cooler than they were on Wednesday afternoon, but the drier air is what’s really making the difference. Skies will clear overnight, and that dry air will allow temperatures to drop into the low 60s (16 to 17 degrees Celsius) in our Urban Heat Island closer to Detroit, and even into the upper 50s (14 to 15 degrees Celsius) in rural areas away from the big lakes on the east side. Northwest wind will diminish to 3 to 6 mph overnight.

Friday (TGIF!) will be an absolutely spectacular day, with lots of sunshine and highs in the low to mid 80s (28 to 29 degrees Celsius) -- warm enough to hit the beach or pool, but not oppressive due to continued dry air overhead. Wind will also remain light, shifting from northwest to southwest at 3 to 6 mph.

Friday’s sunrise is at 6:08 a.m., and Friday’s sunset is at 9:10 p.m.

Mostly clear Friday night, with lows in the mid 60s (18 degrees Celsius).

Weekend Update

A weak cold front is still on track to cross the area Saturday afternoon. While many of us may get away with a partly cloudy, dry day, we still have to respect any cold front moving through during the warmest part of a summer afternoon, so be aware that some widely scattered thunderstorms are possible. It’ll be a good idea to keep an eye on the radar on our free weather app if you outdoor plans -- just in case anything pops. Highs will reach the mid to upper 80s (30 to 31 degrees Celsius).

Becoming mostly clear Saturday night, with lows in the mid 60s (17 to 18 degrees Celsius).

Mostly sunny on Sunday, a great weekend day, with highs in the mid 80s (29 degrees Celsius).

Next Week: Incoming Heat Wave

It appears that another hot, humid air mass will overspread the area next week, and it’s going to stick around for a while. Monday looks dry, with highs in the upper 80s (31 to 32 degrees Celsius). Tuesday also looks dry, with highs in the low 90s (33 degrees Celsius), and the humid returning to very uncomfortable levels. Then Wednesday through next weekend looks hot and humid with a thunderstorm chance each day, and highs near 90 degrees (32 degrees Celsius) and lows in the low to mid 70s (22 to 23 degrees Celsius).

Tropical Storm Barry

The disturbance we’ve been following in the Gulf of Mexico has indeed become organized enough to be classified as Tropical Storm Barry. The storm will move into more favorable conditions for development over the next thirty-six hours, and should become a Category 1 hurricane just before landfall somewhere on the Louisiana coast. Here is the ECMWF model’s projection of the storm’s timing, and you’ll notice that some of its moisture could give us some thunderstorms here by the middle of next week:

The ECMWF model has very consistently handled Barry over the past few days, and continues to be the model that we are most leaning toward. However, keep in mind that there is a tremendous difference in some of the other models’ handling of the storm. One model, the UKMET, actually takes the storm due westward into Texas! So that’s why we always offer the caveat that, even when we get increasingly confident about a storm’s track, we always have to be cognizant of other possible outcomes.

Here is the ECMWF’s timing for when the increased wind will reach the coast:

As much as people like to focus on a hurricane’s wind, in Barry’s case, the storm will be known more for its water. The storm will drop copious amounts of rain on already swollen rivers. There is the potential for catastrophic flooding, and especially in areas where that falling water is exacerbated by storm surge – ocean water being pushed inland by onshore winds. Take a look at the ECMWF projected rain totals:

One last thing that those in the storm’s path need to be aware of: hurricanes and tropical storms sometimes generate tornadoes in their rainbands -- especially ahead of and to the right of the storm’s path. Enduring a hurricane is bad enough, but imagine also dealing with a tornado in the middle of all that…

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