‘Wild swing of weather’ heads for area this week
Rain, wind, snow, freezing rain all in forecast for southeast Mich. in coming days
A blustery February in southeast Michigan will continue this week, with storms bringing a wintry mix to book-end the workweek.
February has been characterized by a “wild swing of active weather systems,” said Brian Tilley, National Weather Service meteorologist. “It was a quiet December and we’ve been making up for it since.”
On Sunday, the weather service issued a hazardous weather outlook encompassing much of southeast Michigan. Snow, sleet and freezing rain were expected Monday night through Tuesday morning, bringing with it high winds and the threat of power outages.
“We are preparing for the possibility of an ice storm that could arrive Tuesday,” Guy Packard, Consumers Energy’s vice president of electric operations said in a statement. “We urge people to make sure they are prepared with food, water and other vital supplies, and we want the public to know our crews will be in place to respond if the weather causes more damage.”
Slick roads caused multiple accidents on Metro Detroit roadways Sunday night, including two separate crashes involving Michigan State Police troopers. One of the accidents closed southbound Interstate 75 at Adams in Troy, according to the Twitter account for MSP Metro Detroit.
On the west side of the state, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency in Grand Rapids on Saturday night. The area remained in the throes of mass power outages; electricity provider Consumers Energy said there were 3,400 customers northwest of Ionia without power Sunday, down from more than 230,000
late last week in west Michigan.
The extreme weather fluctuations have created some unusual weather phenomena, including “ghost apples.”
Meteorologist Tyler Sebree from WBND-TV in South Bend, Indiana, featured the unusual ice formations on his Facebook page and explained how they came to exist.
“After freezing rain fell in Michigan this week, any apples that hadn’t been picked yet received a coating of ice. Many fell off the
tree,” he said. “Some had their insides turn to mush because apples having a lower freezing point than water. That allowed the mush and then the skin to fall to the ground, leaving behind these amazing ‘ghost apples.’”
The apples were photographed by Andrew Sietsema in an orchard near Fruit Ridge.
Residents in west Michigan also posted on social media last week to report booms or shakes associated with “frost quakes.”
When temperatures drop, water
in frozen soil or rock expands and causes cracks and minor explosions known as cryoseisms, according to the Maine Geological Survey. Frost quakes do not release much energy compared to an earthquake.
Most of the day Monday should be cloudy and cool, with a high of about 32. But overnight a wintry mix was expected to return.
“This system will have the potential to bring a significant mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain
Monday night into Tuesday morning before a change over to rain occurs,” the outlook reads.
North of Interstate 69, 2 inches of snow are possible, while Metro Detroit could start its day with 1/10th of an inch of ice accumulation. And as ice builds up, so could more power outages.
As that storm leaves Tuesday during the day, temperatures could climb past the freezing point to the low 40s.
Then come the high winds. Gusts of 40 mph are possible, Tilley
Tuesday’s high winds will bring cold air to the region, dropping overnight lows to the upper 20s, and Wednesday’s high to the mid-30s.
Thursday, reaching a about 42.
But late that night, the wintry mix returns, with rain likely before 11 p.m., then rain and snow, then snow in the hours before the Friday morning commute.
Friday’s high could reach 43. rebound high of