Metro Detroit to get arctic blast before winter begins

Louis Aguilar, and Oralandar Brand-Williams

Winter begins at 5:44 am Wednesday but for Metro Detroit, that may be the day the area gets relief from the deep polar plunge expected Monday and Tuesday.

“The arctic air is returning,” said Steven Freitag, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in White Lake Township. “It looks comparable to the one we just went through” last week.

Monday will be sunny but highs will barely make it to the low teens and wind chills will be as low as minus 10, according to the weather service. Overnight lows will be around 6, with wind chill values a low as minus 9.

Tuesday will be sunny with a high near 27 and wind chill values as low as minus 8. Low will be around 20 Tuesday night.

Beating the arctic blast just before Christmas, shoppers like Alexis Brown, 21, of Redford Township scampered into stores to finish last-minute gift buying and tried to stay warm.

Brown shivered, explaining that she was looking for gifts for family members and three “Secret Santa” exchanges.

“It’s cold,” said Brown outside a strip mall on Ford Road near the Southfield Freeway in Dearborn. She said staying warm while shopping takes skill and speed.

“I run and jump in the car and turn on the heat,” said Brown.

Lena Gunn, a Detroit nurse, was replenishing her pantry Sunday but said the cold weather keeps her inside most days except for work.

“I’m staying in the house as much as possible,” said Gunn, who shopped with her young son. Gunn advises those who venture out this week to wear thermal underclothes and “keeping your head covered” to avoid heat escaping from the body.

Vanessa Dolores of Dearborn Heights used the slight warmup Sunday to dash into a Target store to begin her Christmas shopping. Like Gunn, Dolores said she has been staying inside to avoid the frigid weather.

Dolores said she was pleased the roads were clear Sunday after a week of snowfall and freezing temps.

“Now we can drive,” said Dolores.

On Wednesday, the first day of winter, temperatures are expected to climb to more normal levels for this time of year, with highs in the low 30s and increasing clouds. Snow is expected Wednesday.

Thursday could bring rain and snow with temperatures in the low and mid-30s.

Metro Detroit saw up to 3 inches of snow in some parts, half of what meteorologists had predicted.

Sara Schultz, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said Michigan’s thumb region saw around 4.5 inches in the first major storm of the season Friday. A dry Sunday included a slight rise in temperatures to 20 degrees, a change from the last arctic freeze with sub-zero wind chills that descended last week through Thursday, when temperatures dipped as low as 8 degrees and highs reached only 14.

In some parts of southeast Michigan early Saturday, the region saw close to an inch an hour,” said Steven Freitag, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in White Lake Township.