Ice Storm Warning, Flood & Winter Storm Watches Issued In Southeast Michigan

WWJ News
January 10, 2020 - 5:21 pm
weekend weather outlook metro Detroit

(Image credit: NOAA)

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DETROIT (WWJ) - Be prepared for a mixed bag of bad weather this weekend, with a wet, windy, wintry mix forecast to strike Southeast Michigan. 

What to expect, and how intense it may be, depends on where you live. 

The following alerts have been issued by the National Weather Service:

  • An Areal Flood Watch for most of Southeast Michigan — including Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties — as well as Genesee, Lapeer, Lenawee, Livingston, Monroe, Shiawassee, St. Clair and Washtenaw counties. ("Areal" refers to the potential for flooding over a large area). This will be effect late Friday night through late Saturday night.
  • An Ice Storm Warning for Oakland, Livingston, Genesee, Lapeer, Huron, Saginaw, Tuscola, Sanilac and Shiawassee counties, in effect 4 a.m. Saturday until 7 a.m. Sunday. Travel in this are is strongly discourage during this time period. 
  • A Winter Storm Watch has been also issued for Oakland, Livingston, Genesee, Lapeer, Sanilac and Shiawassee counties, in effect midnight Friday through 4 a.m. Sunday. 
  • A Lakeshore Flood Warning will be in effect for counties bordering lake Huron from 10 a.m. Saturday until 7 a.m. Sunday.

In the Detroit area, flooding may be the biggest concern.

However: "The farther north and west you get away from Detroit, closer to I-69, that's where that change over to freezing rain will happen earlier in the day (Saturday)," said WWJ AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Thompson. "And there could be a significant buildup of ice as you head out farther north or west."

"And on the backside of the storm," he said, "when the wind picks up and the wind gusts over 30 miles per hour, that could bring down some tree limbs and some power lines that are weighed down by the ice."

Forecasters say multiple rounds of moderate to heavy rain are expected to develop in metro Detroit, beginning Friday evening. Rain amounts in the 2 to 4 inch range are likely, with some locations exceeding 3 inches in some areas; especially where thunderstorms occur.

While most of the precipitation in the Detroit area is expected to fall as rain (with temperatures in the 50s), a transition to freezing rain or sleet is likely along and north of M-59 on Saturday. Flooding of low-lying areas and along small creeks and streams is expected, forecasters say, and overland and urban flooding may result in road closures. As moderate to major river flooding may also develop later this weekend, those living in areas prone to flooding should be prepared to take action should flooding develop. 

In the areas covered Ice Storm Warning, freezing rain producing ice accumulations around a half to three quarters of an inch are expected in the Ice Storm Warning area. Sleet and snow may mix in at times, mainly north of I-69, but just light accumulations if at all. Winds could gust as high as 40 mph, which may further increase later Sunday morning.

The NWS says power outages and tree damage are likely due to the ice accumulation and strong winds, and tavel could become nearly impossible at times. 

Forecasters say since it's uncertain when temps will fall to 30 degrees, which would then allow ice to accumulate on roads to make for treacherous travel, they just don't know yet how bad road conditions might be. So think ahead, metro Detroiters, be prepared and stay tuned. 

For the latest weather forecast and updates from the roads, stay with WWJ Newsradio 950 during Traffic and Weather on the 8s, 24-hours a day. >>LISTEN LIVE!!