Winter storm now moves into Metro Detroit

Meteorologist Paul Gross says Friday morning commute could be messy

By Paul Gross - Meteorologist
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DETROIT - Get ready for a messy night ahead, and your Friday morning commute looks pretty nasty right now, as snow and ice will develop later this evening and continue through most of the night.  

Right now, I see areas south of I-696 (the reason I don't mention I-96 is that it moves further north in Livingston County) probably starting with a wintry mix -- sleet and freezing rain -- and then changing to snow, with Monroe and Lenawee Counties probably struggling to get an inch or two of snow, and areas north of there up to I-696 more likely into a 2-4 inch stripe of snow. 

Related: Metro Detroit counties prepare for snow

Further north from I-696 to M-59, I'm  looking at a 3-6" stripe of mostly snow, with the higher amounts being the further north you go.  North of M-59 and into the I-69 corridor and northward is where the heaviest snow will be.  At this point, I see you folks getting 5-8" of snow, with more than 8" possible for those of you near Lake Huron, where some lake effect enhancement should occur.  

To highlight all of this, the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for St. Clair and Sanilac Counties, and a Winter Weather Advisory for the rest of southeast Michigan. 

Snow will slowly wind down during the morning Friday, and Friday itself will be a breezy day.  Temperatures overnight will only fall to around 30 degrees, and then slowly fall into the 20s during the day Friday.  Winds overnight will be from the east at 5 to 10 mph, and increase from the northwest at 15 to 20 mph on Friday. 

One important point I'd like to make is that I am basing my snow forecast on the chance for the wintry mix to get no further north than roughly I-696.  If the mix area manages to migrate further north, then the snow amounts will correspondingly drop for those of you who get the mix.

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Another thing I'd like to mention is the notion of naming winter storms.  You may have seen that The Weather Channel is now naming strong winter storms, like we've done with hurricanes for over sixty years.  This is nothing more than hype.  There is no need to "name" a winter storm.  The reason hurricanes get names is that there may be multiple hurricanes going on at any one time, and naming them keeps the public from getting confused about which storm is being talked about. 

Rarely, if ever, do we get two significant winter storm systems on the map at the same time (and if we do, they are never close enough together to confuse anybody).  The Weather Channel has not given "our" storm a name, but the Nor'easter going up the east coast tomorrow has been christened "Nemo," and I've already heard this name used on a network news program earlier today, much to my chagrin.

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