Forecast: freezing rain, 'treacherous and slick travel conditions'
Southeast Michigan is bracing for widespread freezing rain Wednesday, which is expected to produce icy roads and a messy morning commute, prompting some school districts to announce closings.
Much of the region, including Shiawassee, Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Livingston, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, Wayne, Lenawee and Monroe counties, is under a winter weather advisory from 1 a.m. to 1 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.
Before temperatures climb into the mid-30s in the afternoon, ice accumulations of one-tenth to a quarter-inch are expected in cities such as Howell, Pontiac, Warren, Ann Arbor and Detroit.
"Treacherous and slick travel conditions are likely, especially on untreated roadways, bridges, exit ramps and overpasses," the advisory said.
To help ease travel, the Road Commission for Oakland County plans to have its crews of salt trucks out; the first half, around 53, launches around midnight and the rest follow at 2 a.m., spokesman Craig Bryson said.
"This ice can be so unpredictable and roads can be slippery so quickly," he said. "We just remind people to take it slow and give yourself extra time."
Michigan utilities also are preparing for outages caused by ice downing power lines.
"We are mobilizing resources and making other preparations to quickly respond to any service interruptions," Consumers Energy officials said on Twitter.
DTE Energy has more than 2,500 employees, including line workers, tree-trimming crews and additional team members to secure downed power lines, the company tweeted.
Some school districts are scheduled to be closed Wednesday, including Armada Area, Avondale, Farmington, Hazel Park, Lake Orion Community, Richmond, Walled Lake Consolidated and Wayne-Westland.
The wintry conditions follow a drop in temperatures from a high of 49 just after midnight Tuesday to the upper 20s at 7 p.m., weather service data shows.
The mercury is forecast to hover in the 30s Wednesday night then soar into the low 50s on Thursday — more than 15 degrees above average for the date — as more rain douses the region. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half an inch are possible.
But clearer, cold conditions are on tap for Friday, with a high of 30, the weather service said.
Wednesday: Sleet and freezing rain from early morning through early afternoon; high 37, low 27.
Thursday: Rain early afternoon; high 52, low 26
Friday: Cloudy; high 30, low 13
Saturday: Sunny; high 26, low 17
Sunday: Possible snow flurries; high 32, low 21
Source: National Weather Service