Threat of winter storm looms in SE Michigan over holiday weekend

Hani Barghouthi
The Detroit News

A large winter storm could threaten the holiday weekend and bring heavy snowfall and travel disruptions to southeast Michigan, the National Weather Service said.

A winter storm making its way across the Great Lakes region could bring accumulating snow beginning Saturday afternoon through Sunday afternoon, said Megan Varcie, a meteorologist with the weather service.  

"With the holiday weekend coming up and people traveling, it's important to be aware of this ... plan ahead and stay updated on any forecast changes that come within the next few days," said Varcie. 

Southeast Michigan may be affected by a large winter storm over New Year's weekend.

Travelers are cautioned to allow for extra travel time, depending on the weather conditions. 

Metro Detroit will see temperatures stay above 30 until the storm's expected arrival on Saturday.

Snowfall may begin after 1 a.m. Thursday morning, and rain is likely to begin early Saturday and continue throughout the day, according to the weather service. Snow and rain will mix, becoming snow after 8 p.m. .

Sunday will start off cloudy and gradually become mostly sunny with a chance of snow that is expected to stop by 8 a.m. 

It is too early to predict the storm track, said Varcie, and the service could not Wednesday determine what areas in southeast Michigan the storm would most affect.

Traffic is fairly light during the falling snow on I-94 near the Lodge Freeway in Detroit on Dec. 28, 2021.

This is due in part to the area being "right on the rain/snow line," she said, with some areas getting rain before a change to snow. 

Flint, Lansing and Grand Rapids are among the cities with a higher probability of winter weather over the weekend, the weather service said. 

The storm is expected to originate near the Rocky Mountains then track northeast through the Ohio Valley and to the Great Lakes, said Varcie. 

"That's pretty typical for these types of storm systems, to form over the Rocky Mountains and then draw moisture in from the Gulf of Mexico and produce these heavy precipitation events," she said. 

No precipitation is predicted as of Wednesday for the first few days of the new year, with temperature lows reaching 21 and highs reaching 41.