Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Detroit/Pontiac, MI
FXUS63 KDTX 241045
Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Detroit/Pontiac MI
545 AM EST Fri Feb 24 2017
A low pressure system will pull a warm front up through SE MI this
morning. This front is currently draped along the state line
resulting in IFR conditions across much of southern MI. Once the
warm front passes a terminal, winds will become gusty out of the
southwest and conditions will improve, likely returning to VFR for a
short time this afternoon for at least the Detroit area terminals
and PTK. Warm front may stall near FNT with the low tracking right
near FNT. MBS looks to stay locked in the IFR airmass to the north
of the low with more persistent shower activity through the day.
Drier conditions will persist through most of the afternoon and into
the evening hours PTK southward before an approaching cold front
brings showers and possibly thunderstorms across the area into the
early overnight. The post cold frontal airmass looks to stay socked
in with clouds though there appears to be some improvement to MVFR
For DTW...IFR conditions will persist til the warm front lifts north
of the terminal. Warm frontal timing this time of year is difficult
at best but appears to be around 16-18Z. Dry weather will carry us
through most of the afternoon into the evening hours. Best chance of
possible convection still remains in the 00-06Z window.
//DTW THRESHOLD PROBABILITIES...
* High in ceilings below 5000 feet through the period.
* Low in thunderstorms this morning with increasing confidence by
00z this evening.
Issued at 353 AM EST Fri Feb 24 2017
The makings for an impressive convective event for this time of year
remain in place for both this morning and late this afternoon
through this evening. This will be driven by a strong low pressure
system exiting northern Missouri during the morning which is
projected to move into west-central Lower Michigan during early
evening. This track and timing has been reasonably stable over the
last 24 hours of model runs which is crucial in determining the
position of the warm front, the northward extent of the warm sector
into SE Michigan, and thus the area of greatest severe weather
potential within the going outlook. Upstream initiation by late
afternoon sets up the evening as the main time window for severe
weather in our area with damaging wind, large hail, with some tornado
potential all in play.
Ongoing activity during the morning is not without concern as well
due to extensive coverage of elevated convection producing heavy
downpours. Small hail is also possible as the storms will be on the
leading edge of steep mid level lapse rates building into the Great
Lakes from the mid Mississippi Valley, although locally heavy
rainfall during the morning peak travel time will be the main
concern. Very strong mid level moisture transport/theta-e advection
ahead of the surface low and warm front is driving this segment of
the event, the bulk of which will shift north of the Saginaw Valley
and northern Thumb by afternoon as the low moves northward.
Departure of the morning convection will precede the arrival of the
surface low and warm front early enough to not impact model
depictions of the surface features too much. Surface pressure falls
ahead of the low and along the warm front appear reasonable given
strong difluent southwest flow aloft up against the cold Great Lakes
aggregate. This will no doubt affect the precise effective position
of the warm front that afternoon surface observational trends will
help to pin down but remains in the neighborhood of model depictions.
The other larger scale features driving severe weather potential are
also being clarified by upstream observational trends. Upstream 00Z
soundings and hourly mesoanalysis indicate the broad and strong EML
that is projected to move northward with the system during the day
punctuated by lapse rates in the 700-500 mb layer near 9.0 C/km.
Surface observations in the mid to upper 50s are also shown in the
warm sector of the system that will be carried northward into the
Great Lakes by evening. This is expected to result in more than
adequate instability for thunderstorms in such a strongly forced
synoptic environment. A surface parcel of 65/58 will be capable of
0-1km MLCAPE approaching 1000 J/kg, enough to produce convection
potent enough to withstand and be organized by the strong wind
profile within the warm sector and along the cold front. Assuming
initiation is after 21Z, then it will be close enough for discrete
cell organization to move into SE Michigan by early evening. Updrafts
will have a chance to be enhanced by rotation which will make large
hail a concern due to freezing level only around 10000 ft along with
tornadogenesis in strong right-movers in the warm sector or along the
warm front. Initiation time is currently the main source of
uncertainty. There are some mesoscale model solutions clustering
around earlier timing in prefrontal fashion followed by a second
round of storms along the cold front that would be more prone to
linear modes and damaging straight line wind. The tendency for the
warm sector to remain capped under the EML favors a lean toward later
initiation while keeping in mind the former is a plausible scenario.
The cold front will move through the region shortly after midnight
followed by strong cold advection through the early morning. The
system will continue to deepen over Ontario which will result in a
period of gusty wind for a few hours before sunrise. Indications are
gusts will remain below advisory criteria before the colder air
settles in for Saturday. The very broad dry slot between the upper
wave and surface system will limit moisture over the south half of
Lower Michigan until afternoon when the mid level deformation zone
brushes the area. This segment of the system could produce some
light snow as temperatures struggle to hold in the mid to upper 30s.
High pressure sliding through the Ohio Valley Saturday night is
shown to quickly give way to the next northern stream wave by
Sunday. This appears to be a moisture-starved clipper that will move
rapidly through the Great Lakes to wrap up the weekend.
Active stretch of weather across the eastern Great Lakes as a strong
low pressure system lifts northeast through the region today and
tonight. Already elevated northeasterly flow will continue to ramp
up this morning resulting in a period of gales across northern Lake
Huron and small craft advisories (for both winds and waves) around
the tip of the Thumb and into Saginaw Bay. These headlines will
continue through this evening until the center of the low reaches
the lake briefly relaxing flow a bit overnight until gusty
west/northwesterly winds behind the cold front ushers in colder and
more unstable air into the region. This may result in another period
of gales across much of the eastern lakes Saturday into Saturday
night. In addition to strong winds, this system will bring showers
and thunderstorms to the region today and tonight. Some strong to
severe thunderstorms may develop on the cold front later this
evening into the overnight hours.
A strengthening low pressure system will bring periods of rain
showers and possibly thunderstorms to the region now through
tonight. Will likely come in two rounds the first now through the
late morning ahead of a warm front and the second coming this
evening into tonight along a cold front. Around a quarter inch of
rain is expected during each period with higher amounts likely for
locations impacted by thunderstorms. Also of note, locations around
the Saginaw Valley and northern Thumb may get slightly higher
amounts, closer to 0.75 inches, due to longer duration rainfall
through the afternoon.
Lake Huron...Gale Watch from Saturday morning through late Saturday night for
Small Craft Advisory until 10 PM EST this evening for LHZ421-441.
Gale Warning from 10 AM this morning to 10 PM EST this evening for
Lake St Clair...NONE.
Michigan waters of Lake Erie...NONE.
You can obtain your latest National Weather Service forecasts online