Winter storm driving gusty winds, frigid temperatures on Christmas Eve

Hannah Mackay
The Detroit News

Friday's winter storm has moved northeast of Michigan but will continue sending gusty winds and affecting temperatures throughout Christmas Eve, according to the National Weather Service.

"The main thing is still the winds are going to be pretty gusty out there — not as strong as yesterday — but we could still have 30 to 35 mile-an-hour wind gusts through pretty much the entire day," said Kyle Klein, a meteorologist with the NWS. "There'll be some light snow out there mainly lake effect coming across from the western parts of Michigan could drop some minor accumulations."

Katie Rodriguez, 17, of Imlay City, pours warm water on the frozen door jamb of a vehicle then waits for its thaw before heading to a work Christmas party, Saturday morning, December 24, 2022.

More:These places were hit hardest by wind, snow during Friday's storm

Wayne, Washtenaw, Lenawee and Monroe counties are under a winter chill advisory until 7 p.m. Saturday night with wind chills reaching -20 degrees this morning, according to the NWS. The northern metro area and Livingston, Macomb and Oakland counties are under a winter weather advisory until 7 p.m. with temperatures staying in the teens and wind chill dropping as low as -15 degrees.

"It's still extremely cold out. Just limit time outdoors, if you're gonna be outdoors, obviously, bundle up as much as you can," Klein said. "Driving ... because it's so cold treatments aren't really going to work for when they salt roads so they could be icy in spots or you have snow blowing out of the roads and they can make it tricky, so take it slow."

At 3 p.m. Sterling Heights and Auburn Hills will lift snow emergencies that were put in place during the storm. Sterling Heights' emergency has been in effect since 7 p.m. Friday while Auburn Hills' took effect on Thursday at 9 p.m.

The emergency in Sterling Heights will be lifted because the temperatures over the next few days are expected to be at or above 20 degrees, allowing salt to be more effective on roads, the city said.

Metro Detroit can expect slightly better forecasts for Christmas day, with chances for light snow and slightly higher temperatures, Klein said. High temperatures on Sunday will be in the twenties compared to today's which peak in the mid-teens.

"Windwise, it does die down a little bit (on Sunday)," Klein said. "It's still a bit breezy though with gusting of 25 miles an hour or so. That'll make it feel like single positive single digits throughout the day.

Western and southwestern Michigan saw significantly more snowfall than the eastern side of the state. At 7:22 p.m. East Grand Rapids reported almost 9 inches of snowfall, according to the weather service. One to three inches of snow fell across Metro Detroit as of yesterday morning and accumulations in the afternoon and evening weren't very high, Klein said.

"Further north towards like the northern metro or Flint areas they (snowfall totals) start approaching more like four inches," Klein said.

The storm also left nearly 14,000 without power shortly after 10 p.m. Friday night. As of 12:45 p.m. Saturday morning this number had dropped to 4,882 people. Consumers Energy reported 1,003 customers still without power on their outage map while DTE had around 3,879. The largest DTE outage in the Metro Detroit area is in Lester Township and could affect as many as 2,500 people.

"We expect to restore power for the vast majority of customers by the end of Saturday, and we will continue to work through Christmas until everyone affected by Winter Storm Elliot is restored," DTE said in an update on Saturday.

Friday's winter storm also disrupted travel plans and resulted in over 300 canceled flights out of Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. On Saturday morning, 39 flights were delayed and 119 were canceled out of DTW so far, according to the flight-aware tracking website.