Weather forecast: No reason for schools to close Thursday

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News
Paul Hurst of Clinton Township braces against the cold wind and snow while waiting for a SMART bus in Sterling Heights on Wednesday morning, Feb. 13, 2019.

After two days of wintry conditions that coated roads with ice, sparked power outages and complicated travel, Metro Detroit should see a brief warm-up, rain and then clear, cold weather to start the weekend.

Snow showers that reduced visibility and brought squalls across the region leave the area for Thursday, the National Weather Service said. 

The high could reach 40 on Thursday before rain arrives in the evening. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch are possible. 

Friday's forecast calls for sunny skies with a high in the low 30s as winds gust as high as 28 mph. The low should drop into the teens. The thermometer Saturday is expected to top out in the upper 20s.

The shifts follow winter storms that brought ice, sleet and snowfall and caused problems across the state on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The National Weather Service said 8.1 inches of snow fell in the Saginaw area over 36 hours through 4 p.m. Wednesday, when a winter weather advisory for much of southeast Michigan ended.

Other totals reported Wednesday included 4.5 inches in Detroit, 3 in Eastpointe, 2 in Ann Arbor and 1.7 in Romulus.

Tasha Pettas clears snow away from a basketball court at Forest Elementary school in Farmington Hills, February 13, 2019. Pettas works for D.M. Burr facilities management who contracts with Farmington Public schools.

A winter weather advisory was in effect until noon Wednesday as lake effect snow showers fell over southeast Michigan, leaving slippery roads and messy commutes.

Utility repair crews continue to work to restore service to customers who lost power in the wake of winter storms Monday and Tuesday.

Officials with Detroit-based DTE Energy said by Wednesday evening, power has been restored to 58,000  of its 61,000 customers who were in the dark after the storms, which felled 400 power lines.The company expected to restore power to the remaining customers by the end of the day.

Meanwhile, Jackson-based Consumers Energy said Wednesday that it was working to restore power to about 5,800 of its customers, mostly located along the Michigan and Ohio border. Most were expected to have electricity by midnight. 

After being closed most of Tuesday, the Mackinac Bridge was open Wednesday. But the authority that operates the span issued a high-wind warning to motorists who cross. 

Drivers were instructed to reduce their speed to a maximum of 20 mph, turn on their four-way flashers and use the outside lane.

Elsewhere in Michigan, Ingham County reported numerous vehicle slide-offs.

On Wednesday, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Ionia County to help with recent flooding in Portland and other weather-related effects.

The declaration also noted recent ice storm damage in the city of Belding and authorizes Michigan State Police – Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division to coordinate state efforts “above and beyond” what it already was doing in conjunction with local agencies in Ionia County.

Extended forecast

Thursday: Cloudy; high, 40; low, 29.

Friday: Partly sunny;  high, 33; low, 18.

Saturday: Mostly sunny; high, 28; low, 14.

Sunday: Mostly cloudy; high, 27; low, 14.

Monday: Partly sunny; high, 27; low, 16.

Tuesday: Partly sunny; high, 30.

Source: National Weather Service
Twitter: @CharlesERamirez

Staff Writer Mark Hicks and the Associated Press contributed