‘Wild swing of weather’ heads for area this week

Rain, wind, snow, freez­ing rain all in fore­cast for south­east Mich. in com­ing days

The Detroit News - - METRO - BY JAMES DAVID DICK­SON The Detroit News

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

said.

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.

Tem­per­a­tures will

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

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