Severe weather, possible tornadoes on the way

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

A severe thunderstorm watch remains in effect for southeastern Michigan until 10 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

Earlier storms that moved through the area have passed, canceling severe thunderstorm warnings for northeastern Wayne, southern Macomb, Lenawee and Washtenaw counties.

Severe weather and the possibility of isolated tornadoes are still expected for the southern portion of Michigan as early as Friday evening, according to the weather service. Damaging winds are the main threat with the thunderstorms, which could last through midnight.

"Most storms will just be hail and wind producers," said Steven Freitag, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in White Lake Township.

The chance for isolated tornadoes mainly exists along the Interstate 69 Corridor in Flint, he said.

In preparation of the storms, DTE Energy officials said it has 100 two-person crews on standby. The utility company warns customers to stay at least 20 feet away from power lines, anything those lines are touching and to consider them live. Customers are also warned not to cross yellow caution tape.

The threat of severe weather comes as Metro Detroit reached a record high of 70 degrees Friday as a stretch of mild weather continued for the area, according to the weather service. The temperature recorded at Metro Airport broke the previous record of 59 degrees set in 1976. Metro Detroit also reached a record high of 68 degrees Thursday breaking a previous record of 64 degrees set in 1984.

The record breaking temperatures this week come as Metro Detroiters have enjoyed several days of warmer temperatures.

“We started warming up over the weekend,” said Dave Gurney, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in White Lake Township. “On average we’ve been running 15-25 degrees above average for daily temperatures across the area.”

The average temperature for this time of year is normally 37 degrees for the high and 22 for the low, Gurney said.

Why has it been so warm? As Gurney explains, the area is experiencing ridge of warmer air that has allowed the heat from the deep south and southern plains to move into the area. Since it has been a fairly mild winter, there wasn’t much snow and colder temperatures to counteract the effect.

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