Freezing rain to drizzle out; Thursday will be warm, rainy

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

The freezing rain that has triggered a winter weather advisory and hundreds of school closures in Metro Detroit on Wednesday is petering out, hours ahead of when the advisory is set to end at 1 p.m.

Wayne State University, Eastern Michigan University and school districts including Detroit were closed due to icy conditions.

Thick ice covers a windshield as a motorist travels through a slippery Parkdale Avenue in Royal Oak after an ice storm on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019.

National Weather Service meteorologist Sara Pampreen said Wednesday's high is expected to reach 38 degrees, which will start to melt the ice that has accumulated. Before 7 a.m., temperatures had already hit 31 degrees. 

Greenline Turf Services owner Nick Frink, of Memphis, Michigan, scrapes ice off the sidewalk in front of Lakestone Bank & Trust in Armada during an ice storm Wednesday.

Michigan utilities had warned Tuesday that power outages were likely and mobilized crews ahead of time.

As of 2 p.m. Tuesday, Consumers Energy's outage map reported 772 outages across Michigan affecting more than 46,000 customers, mostly on the western side of the state and including areas around Muskegon and Grand Rapids. However, the company was still delivering power to more than 97 percent of its customers.

Consumers Energy said it was dealing with 610 active power outages Tuesday morning.

DTE Energy says 2,500 workers are on standby, including line workers, tree trimmers, and crews from out of state. Consumers Energy on Wednesday morning reported more than 38,000 of its customers, mostly in western Michigan, were without power as freezing rain brought down trees and power lines.

Flooding caused by an ice jam along the Grand River in Portland prompted officials to evacuate about 50 people from their homes near the river early Wednesday.

A Macomb County Department of Roads plow truck spreads salt on 33 Mile westbound approaching North Avenue in Armada Twp. Wednesday morning.

Overnight into Thursday, there's a chance of more freezing rain, though less will fall Wednesday. North of Flint, some 2/10 of an inch of freezing rain had fallen, Pampreen said. That was the only total immediately available, but less than 1/10 of an inch of daytime ice accumulation is expected in Metro Detroit.

Thursday will be warm but rainy, as a "southerly flow" of air pushes temperatures to 50 degrees, before they dip back below the freezing point, falling to a low of 24 overnight. Thursday night will be windy, with gusts of 30 to 40 miles per hour possible. 

Friday, the last day of the work week, will be dry and cool, reaching a high of 29 before falling to 11 degrees. 

Up to 3/8 of an inch of ice was scraped off the windshield of a Detroit News photographer's 2011 Chevy Avalanche during a Wednesday ice storm that closed schools and led to traffic accidents in southeast Michigan.

Extended forecast: 

Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 26, with a low around 17.

Sunday: Snow likely after 1 pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 31. Cloudy, with a low around 21.

Monday: Partly sunny, with a high near 32, with a low around 22.

Tuesday: A chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 32.

Source: National Weather Service

Associated Press contributed.