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Breaking down winter storm scenarios for Thursday in metro Detroit

Weather 4Warn – I feel like you and I have gotten to a point where we can talk openly about what’s called a “rain/snow line,” and you’ll understand exactly what I mean.

Many times this winter, in the first days before a storm, we talked about having either an inch of snow or several inches of snow, depending on where the rain/snow line is. Well, “It’s still snowing here,” friends!

Since we last had an inch or more of snow here in southeastern Lower Michigan on January 30, here’s a reminder of why the rain/snow line is important.

A storm system appears to be building to track I-94 Thursday morning. The north side of the storm will be cold enough to hold all the snow, the warmer south side will be a mix of snow and rain.

This is where forecasting total snowfall amounts becomes tricky, especially three days in advance.

Since Monday, the storm system has been taking shape over the Pacific Ocean off the coasts of Washington and Oregon. That’s pretty darn far, and a lot can change as it crosses the northern United States over the next few days.

It’s not a huge storm. The duration of snow and/or rain will only be about six hours. It all depends on the timing and the configuration of the rain/snow line.

Looks familiar? Trust me, I understand.

Here’s where things stand based on my data as of Monday evening.

Precipitation arrives from the west around sunrise Thursday morning, just after 7:30 a.m. Based on forecast temperatures at or slightly above freezing, most of what falls during the morning commute will be all snow.

We will likely have a period of moderate snow, with the heaviest snow north of I-69. Current data suggests 2 to 5 inches, with the highest totals in the inch.

Take a look at this snapshot of the European model at 8 a.m. Thursday. Blue indicates all snow, pink is a mix of rain and snow, and green represents all rain.

I feel like you and I have come to a point where we can talk openly about what’s called a “rain/snow line,” and you’ll understand exactly what I mean. (WDIV)

Now look at the same pattern at 2 p.m. This rain/snow line has moved north, and part of the southern half of metro Detroit is all rain.

This is due to a surge of warm air from the south, bringing our temperatures back into the mid to upper 30s.

I feel like you and I have come to a point where we can talk openly about what’s called a “rain/snow line,” and you’ll understand exactly what I mean. (WDIV)

Over the next 48 hours, the 4Warn Weather Team will be tracking data that remains consistent with the current pattern or perhaps moves the dreaded rain/snow line further north or south.

Any movement will result in a change in the forecast.

Tuesday

On Tuesday, we’ll start getting more high-resolution data, often better and more specific.

If you want to follow the data with me over the next few days and follow the storm, this looks great! If you’re not interested and just want to know what you’ll be facing on Thursday morning, that’s no problem.

The 4Warn Weather team and the 4 Warn Weather app will be there for you!

On a positive note, spring is just over 35 days away!


Find the latest forecasts from the 4Warn Weather team here

Don’t forget to download the free 4Warn weather app: it’s easily one of the best in the country. Just search your app store under WDIV and it’s there, available for iPhones and Androids! Or click on the appropriate link below.

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