Metro Detroit's first taste of winter is just hours away

Rain, snow develop Friday morning

By Paul Gross - Meteorologist

View of Detroit from the Windsor sky camera on Nov. 8, 2018 at 4:09 p.m.

DETROIT - Yes, we Local4Casters have been hearing the chatter -- everybody’s talking about Friday’s snow, and we hope to set the record straight in this article.

First of all, despite the more widespread than expected cloud cover Thursday afternoon, we’ll remain dry through the afternoon rush hour and evening. In fact, we should be dry for most of the overnight hours, although a few areas of light rain and snow may develop very late at night.

Overnight lows are important, and will likely remain just above freezing (1 degree Celsius) in the urban heat island – roughly east of I-275 and south of 8 Mile. North and west of there, lows may drop to freezing (0 degrees Celsius). A light northeast wind will develop.

Rain and snow will develop Friday morning -- the morning rush hour could be impacted, so our advice is to leave early. Outside of the heat island, people will see wet snow most of the morning, whereas the precipitation may fall as mostly rain in the heat island. Rain should mix in with and, in some places, change from snow over to all rain during the afternoon – with the precipitation becoming spottier.  

Although temperatures won’t rise much during the day, they will rise above freezing into the upper 30s (4 degrees Celsius), so snow accumulations should be minor. In fact, a lot of the snow may end up melting in the afternoon due to the above-freezing temperatures and rain.

By the way, if you want to IMMEDIATELY know the very latest on road conditions Friday morning before and during the rush hour, you really need to check out the Local 4 CarCast. Starting at 7 a.m., Brandon Roux and Kim DeGiulio will broadcast continuously with the very latest on the incoming weather, and its impact on traffic.

You can easily access the CarCast on ClickOnDetroit.com and on the Local 4 Facebook page -- this can really help you out: You get a lot more information than we have time to show you on TV.  

Even in your car driving to work, boot us up on your cellphone -- take us to work with you! Brandon and Kim will be great company if you’re stuck in traffic.

Friday’s sunrise is at 7:16 a.m., and Friday’s sunset is at 5:17 p.m.

Here is a series of maps showing you our high-resolution RPM’s handling of Friday’s precipitation.

Keep in mind that this is only one model but, as of the time this article was written, it looked reasonable:


Here is the RPM’s projection of Friday’s snow accumulation.  Keep in mind that some of this may melt -- whatever snow you get in the morning may not be there in its entirety later in the day:

Given all of this, we’re going to rate this snow as “Meh+” on the Local 4 Snow Meter.  If it was the middle of the winter right now, we’d just call Friday’s snow “Meh” but, given that it’s the first meaningful flakes of the season, we’ll be generous and call it “Meh+.”

Scattered snow showers are possible Friday night but, late at night, a trough (line) of low pressure will bring a band of possibly robust snow showers across the area.  

Since lows Friday night will be in the mid 20s (-4 degrees Celsius), we certainly can receive a dusting to an inch or so of accumulation (the best chance for any accumulation is north of I-696).  

Here’s the RPM’s projection of TOTAL SNOW for Friday through Saturday morning. Subtract the totals between the two maps to get an estimate for the Saturday early morning snow.

Once the early morning snow showers move out, partial sunshine should develop for Saturday afternoon.  It’ll be a very cold November day if you want to be brave and try and get any yard work done (or sit outside at the game in East Lansing).  Highs will only be in the mid 30s (3 degrees Celsius), and a west to northwest wind at 20 to 30 mph will keep wind chills in the low 20s (-5 degrees Celsius).

Partly cloudy Saturday night, with lows in the low 20s (-5 degrees Celsius).

Partly cloudy on Sunday, with highs in the upper 30s (4 degrees Celsius).

Staying cold for a while

Mostly cloudy on Monday, with highs near 40 degrees (5 degrees Celsius).

We have a chance for some snow on Tuesday as a big nor’easter move northward up the Appalachians, but it looks right now to be far enough east of us to just give us a glancing blow.  Any further westward drift, however, would give us a chance for more meaningful snow -- we’ll keep our eyes on it.  

Regardless, the coldest air of the season will be here on Tuesday and Wednesday, with highs only in the low to mid 30s (0 to 1 degrees Celsius), and overnight lows in the low 20s (-5 to -6 degrees Celsius). At least partly cloudy skies developing on Wednesday should give us a little sunshine to get excited about. Or not.

Partly cloudy on Thursday and mostly cloudy on Friday, with highs in the upper 30s (4 degrees Celsius).

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