Winter makes a comeback in Detroit area

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Low temperatures, snow flurries and sub-zero wind chills are on tap for this week as winter officially descends upon Metro Detroit, according to the National Weather Service in White Lake Township.

“Winter is digging in for a couple days,” meteorologist Bryan Tilley said. “Especially in terms of temperature.”

Early Tuesday morning, commuters in Metro Detroit fought a mess of wet snow that left little accumulation, Tilley said. The snowfall also swirled around hordes of paczki lovers who braved the elements this Paczki Day, winding around city blocks to get their hands on the sugary, doughnut-type desserts.

The weather service has issued a winter weather advisory for the Detroit and Pontiac areas, according to its website. The advisory is in effect until 9 p.m. Tuesday.

“Bands of snow showers will continue to spiral off of Lake Huron and sweep southwestward,” the weather service said in the warning. “Total snow accumulations by this evening will range from 3- to 6-inches.”

Most of the accumulation will fall north of Metro Detroit and the snowfall is expected to move out of the region as the day progresses, Tilley said.

“It’s moving toward the Ohio border and has weakened considerably,” he said. “That’ll leave just scattered snow showers for the rest of the morning. I think we had our best chance (at accumulation) this morning so at this point everything else is going to be pretty light.

“Wayne and Washtenaw counties kind of dodged a bullet for the most part,” he said.

But farther north, heavier snow is causing more significant accumulation, he said.

“Toward Pontiac and Flint and up into the Thumb, there’s going to be more persistent snow and that’s where the extra accumulation will be occurring for the rest of the day,” he said. “Some of that could drift south and into the northern (Detroit) suburbs.”

Lake-effect snow from Lake Huron is contributing to the heavier snow, Tilley said.

As Tuesday’s snow showers drift away overnight, they are expected to be replaced by arctic temperatures and sub-zero wind chills, Tilley said.

“We’re only looking at a high of about 35 degrees Tuesday but it’s going to be at the beginning of a temperature downward trend for the rest of the week,” he said. “Temperatures (Tuesday night) are going to drop down into the lower 20s and then maybe make it back into the mid and upper 20s Wednesday.”

Thursday and Friday both should see temperatures hover near or below 20 degrees, Tilley said. As the weekend approaches, Metro Detroit could face single-digits.

“We could get near zero wind chills on Thursday morning,” Tilley said. “And (the wind chills) could get below zero going forward.”

The dry, frigid air should at least keep snow showers at bay, he said.

“Tuesday and Tuesday night are really our best chances of getting any kind of appreciable snow,” Tilley said. “Then it becomes cold and dry enough that we’re forecasting just flurries for the rest of the week, and accumulation potential is pretty low.”

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Extended forecast

Paczki Day: Snow showers likely. Cloudy, with a high near 35. Chance of precipitation is 70 percent. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Tuesday night: Snow showers likely, mainly before 9 p.m. Cloudy, with a low around 21. Chance of precipitation is 70 percent. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Wednesday: Chance of snow showers. Cloudy, with highs in the mid to upper 20s. Chance of precipitation is 40 percent.

Wednesday night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 12. Wind chill values as low as negative 2.

Thursday: Flurries likely. Partly sunny, with a high near 18. Wind chills values as low as zero possible.

Thursday night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 13.

Friday: Chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 21. Chance of precipitation is 30 percent.

Friday night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 2.

Saturday: Mostly sunny and cold, with a high near 8.

Saturday night: Mostly clear, with a low around negative 2.

Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 18.