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Wind chills could hit -20 degrees in Metro Detroit

Candice Williams and Tom Greenwood
The Detroit News

Metro Detroit will plummet into bitterly cold temperatures tonight with a wind chill advisory in effect through Friday morning and even colder temperatures, double-digit wind chills and snow through the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures are expected to drop to the single digits with a wind chill of minus 15 to 20 degrees Friday morning with winds of 10-15 mph.

“Fifteen below can result in frostbite in 30 minutes or less,” said Bryan Tilley, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in White Lake Township. “The message we’re trying to get out is if anyone is going to spend any time outdoors this evening, cover as much as skin as possible with winter clothing.”

Temperatures will rebound to about 20 degrees Friday and then drop even farther this weekend with temperatures struggling to get above zero, Tilley said. Light snow is expected overnight into Saturday morning.

“Saturday is going to be a day that’s going to present a lot of changes,” Tilley said.

“There will be a strong northwest wind developing that will bring another round of Arctic air. Even colder than what we have this evening.”

More dangerous wind chills for southeast Michigan on Saturday night will means temperatures will feel like -20 to -40, warming to -10 to -20 late in the day Sunday. Sunday night, the weather service said, will see wind chills of -15 to -25.

According to NWS records, the normal monthly high for February in Metro Detroit is 34 degrees with a low of 21.

The record high for the date is 62 set in 1999. The record low is minus 14 set in 1875.

There are three warming centers set up in the city of Detroit, including:

■Cass Community Social Services at 3901 Cass Ave., which has 50 beds for families only (parents and children). Hours are 4 p.m.-8 a.m. For information, call (313) 833-7730 or (313) 883-2277 or send an email to

■Operation Get Down at 6821 Medbury St., which has 200 beds for women, men and children. Hours of operation are 6 p.m.-7 a.m. For information, call (313) 925-4138 or email

■Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries at 3535 Third St., which has 100 beds for men only. It's open 5 p.m.-7 a.m. For information, call (313) 993-6703 or email

Pet owners should make sure outdoor pets have warm, dry shelter turned away from the wind and food and water that is not frozen, or bring them into the house during cold weather. Make sure cats are not sleeping under the hood of a car, where they go to seek warmth.

If there are outdoor cats in your area, bang on the hood before starting the engine to give the cat a chance to escape. Thoroughly wipe off your dog’s paws, legs and stomach when he comes in from the ice, sleet or snow.

Keep pets away from antifreeze spills, which can be fatal if ingested. If your dog is a short hair, consider a coat or sweater that covers from the base of the tail to the belly.

And don’t leave your pet alone in a cold car.

Be sure to provide your outdoor dog with extra food. Extra calories are needed to stay warm in freezing weather.

(313) 222-2023

Extended forecast

Thursday night: Partly cloudy with a low of minus 4. Wind chills as low as minus 15 with winds 5 to 9 miles per hour.

Friday: There is a chance of snow showers after 4 p.m. Highs of near 20 degrees. Winds of 5 to 14 mph with wind chills of minus 15.

Friday night: There is a chance of snow after 7 p.m. Wind gusts could reach 20 miles per hour. An inch of snow possible.

Saturday: There is a chance of show showers. The high temperature will be about 14 with winds of 11 to 21 mph possibly gusting to 32 mph.

Saturday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around minus 12.

Sunday: Sunny and cold with a high near 2.

Sunday night: Partly cloudy with a low around minus 6.

Monday: Partly sunny with a high near 15.

Monday night: Mostly cloudy with a low around 7.