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A dangerous winter storm starts with rain Thursday before snow, wind and cold hit southeast Michigan early Friday

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4 Warn the weatherGood Thursday morning.

Concerns about the impending winter storm begin later tonight.

First of all, we are leaving for a new dry start this morning. Metro Detroit temps start in the upper 20s to upper 30s with a light breeze, making it feel a good five degrees chilly – so bundle up. We will see mostly cloudy to partly cloudy skies this morning, with more clouds forming later in the day ahead of this storm.

Today’s sunrise is at 7:59 a.m.

The National Weather Service has classified all of southeastern lower Michigan and southern Ontario under a Winter storm warning tonight through Saturday morning.

High temperatures on Thursday will reach the mid to upper 30s. You may not feel the heat, but temperatures will hit the upper 30s tonight as the leading edge of the storm brings mostly rain showers 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 with rain well into the late evening, although most of the Detroit metro area will receive rain.

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

Sunset tonight is at 5:04 p.m.

The rain turns to snow

The rain will turn to snow after 3 a.m. Friday, with temperatures in the mid-30s dropping to the mid-20s by sunrise. The main concerns will be travel and electrical issues due to cold and wind.

You should expect periods of light to moderate snow getting worse with the whipping winds blowing snow all over our roads. There will also be patches of heavier snow on Friday afternoon as temperatures drop in the teens.

Winds will move WSW at 20-35 mph and blow at 35-55 mph for several hours, creating near-blizzard conditions – and the possibility of sporadic power outages.

Remember that the winter storm warning runs from Friday through Saturday morning and is due to expire at 4 a.m. Saturday. That means more flurries, dangerous cold and blowing snow could continue until then.

Snow Totals

Snow totals will depend on the amount of rain before the early snowfall and the strength of the wind blowing all around. Right now, computer models show snow totals of 4 to 8 inches around most of Metro Detroit, with some spots approaching a foot of snowfall. The highest snow totals are likely to be between Jackson, Howell, Lapeer and north/west Oakland counties due to the addition of lake effect snow bands.

Brutally cold after the storm

Saturday afternoon will be a time to dig in and recover on Christmas Eve with brutal single-digit cold temperatures and low teens, and sub-zero wind chills. Trips should only be made with safety in mind, bringing blankets, flashlights and medical supplies just in case. We probably won’t even see highs of 20 degrees on Saturday afternoon, but we could see patchy blue skies between bands of lake effect and isolated snow squalls.

A White Christmas

Christmas Day will be chilly and still windy, keeping dangerously cold conditions in play for old Santa. We won’t face any terrible snow issues as we expect light scattered snow showers and snow showers at times on what will be a White Christmas in the Detroit metro area. We will watch this storm like a hawk and continue to update you.

We can also keep you ready with the 4Warn weather app, where you’ll stay well ahead of storms or weather changes. Plus, it’s free !

Don’t forget to download the free 4Warn weather app – it’s easily one of the best in the country. Just search your app store under WDIV and it’s available for iPhones and Androids! Or click on the appropriate link below.

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