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Displaying AFOS PIL: AFDDTX Received: 2017-12-12 20:05 UTC

FXUS63 KDTX 122005

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Detroit/Pontiac MI
305 PM EST Tue Dec 12 2017


Deep longwave trough in place over the eastern US today with 
embedded 850mb temps around -18C containing highs to upper teens to 
around 20 degrees today. A fresh snowpack will contend with an 
elevated gradient wind for influence on low temperatures for much of 
the night, increasing uncertainty in the potential to achieve 
temps much lower than about 10 degrees. Transient ridge axis 
building behind departing low pressure will put SE Michigan in a low 
gradient col pattern late, but with high clouds arriving it may 
occur too late to have a significant impact on temps. Maintained 8 
to 12 degrees for most areas with any potential to drop toward zero 
expected to be confined to the Saginaw Valley area.

Attention for Wednesday turns to high latitude energy over Nunavut, 
which is shearing into south-central Canada, and a low amplitude 
lead wave which is over Alberta at this time. Confidence in the 
track of the clipper as it approaches the Great Lakes is higher than 
normal since it will have virtually nowhere else to go given the 
amplitude and strength of the background flow. A very deep layer of 
lead isentropic ascent will lift from SW to NE into the area during 
the morning. Virga will transition to light snow after about 15z 
with intensity becoming moderate as forcing increases. The layer of 
active FGEN as this occurs is impressively deep, yet overrunning is 
not cutoff by strong vertical motions given moderate static 
stability above most of the frontal slope. This will keep the 
ageostrophic frontal circulation from becoming so dominant that it 
begins to affect areal coverage. Thus, despite the prominence of 
fgen forcing, expect a fairly widespread swath of snow to develop. 
Moisture will not be particularly impressive with 850-700mb specific 
humidities hovering between about 1.7 g/kg and 2 g/kg, but a depth 
of 10kft will be outstanding. Dendrite production within the deep 
DGZ zone should be very efficient. Given the lack of a riming layer, 
except perhaps near the immediate surface, snow ratios will likely 
settle near 15:1, which is in line with in-house guidance. As the 
wave begins to pivot, snow may briefly come to end somewhere south 
of I-94 with 3 hour accumulations by 18z of T to 0.5 east of I-75 
and 1-2 inches west of US-23.

Isentropic ascent will support a continuance of this pattern into 
the afternoon for the northern half of the area. The focus will turn 
toward the intense FGEN band being depicted by the EC/NAM/GFS as 
well as the GEM (although the GEM strays from the consensus with a 
slightly more southerly track the dynamics are identical). The 
momentum field will respond with help from the lead wave, allowing a 
strengthening low-level jet to surge into the southern half of the 
CWA by afternoon. Intense convergence along the lead edge of the LLJ 
as it rams into the frontal zone will combine with developing 
conditional instability to yield a 2-3 hour period of high-end 
snowfall rates of 2"/hr or higher. Intense upward motion supports an 
upward nudge to 20:1 ratios within this band, careful not to go too 
high given compaction during heavy snow and the fact that surface 
temperatures will be at their peak during this period, potentially 
leading to minor riming closer to ground level. Modifications to the 
forecast track will affect the placement of this band, but the 
general consensus at the moment is for this to bear down on the 
Detroit Metro area and points west (i.e. Ann Arbor, Howell) roughly 
20-23z, or in the middle of rush hour. The potential for high impact 
timing, briefly high-end snowfall rates, and storm totals of 5 to 8, 
perhaps locally more, warrants the issuance of a winter storm watch. 
It will begin at the expected timing of the onset of light snow 
accumulation around 15z.

At this time, it appears the northern third of the CWA will see 
prolonged light to moderate snow worthy of only an advisory. In 
fact, the northern Thumb may only see daytime accumulations of 
around an inch, but developing onshore flow after 00z will very 
likely force one or more LES bands into Huron County 00-06z 
Wednesday night as snow intensity begins to diminish elsewhere. 
Convective depths of at least 5kft and a respectable DGZ depth of 
2000 feet within that layer yield high confidence in an LES 
response. The forecast problem after 00z Wed may thus become one of 
convective mode in the Thumb in addition to inland penetration. For 
now, painted part of the Thumb with a generic swath of 1-2" during 
this this period with the expectation that duration will be limited 
by continually backing flow leading to a steady change in band 
orientation throughout this time. After briefly being forced north, 
today's airmass will filter back in behind the winter storm, 
allowing lows to fall back into the single digits for Wednesday 

A pair of PV anomalies in the NW flow will drop from the Canadian 
prairies and swing through the Great Lakes Friday, resulting in a 
developing low over the northern part of the region and snow showers 
for our area. Snow squalls will not be out of the question with the 
level of instability and 30-40 kt winds at 850mb that shallow 
convection could tap into, leading to quick bursts of heavy snow and 
gusty winds at the surface. Highs will remain below normal in the 
mid 20s.

Some lingering lake effect bands may persist into Saturday morning, 
though modest surface and upper level ridging look to move in and 
quiet things down for the rest of the weekend. Southerly flow on the 
western periphery of this ridge will help heights rise and 
temperatures rebound to above freezing for the early part of next 
week. Active pattern looks to continue in the long term with a 
series of upper waves passing over. Confidence is quite low in 
timing/location of the resultant systems given model uncertainty at 
this point.



Strong northwest gales will gradually subside by Wednesday morning. 
In the mean time, heavy freezing spray will continue with the gales. 
A storm system will bring moderate snow from across southern Lake 
Huron on south Wednesday during the day. Winds will increase from the 
northeast behind the system Wednesday night while backing to the 
northwest on Thursday. Cold air will help produce bands of lake 
effect snow on Lake Huron Thursday. Another system will help back 
the flow to the southwest for Friday while bringing more snow 
activity to the lakes. After tonight's gales, winds are expected to 
remain below gale force for the rest of the week and weekend.


Issued at 1146 AM EST Tue Dec 12 2017 


Gusty northwest flow will continue through afternoon before 
decreasing in the evening.  Lake effect clouds and snow bands will 
continue to dissipate as drier air advects into southeast Michigan. 
Still may see a brief flurry at any TAF site but overall expecting 
skc-sct skies. Lake effect bands will still be active just to the 
west of forecast area and could see them brush at times FNT, YIP and 
DTW this afternoon and eve with bkn050 and few flurries but overall 
should remain vfr. NW flow around 15-20kts with gusts 25-30kts will 
gradually weaken into the evening. Weak surface high pressure 
ridging will bring skc-sct skies for first half of the night. 
Lighter winds will gradually back to the ssw by 12z. Clouds will 
also be increasing and lowering to 2-3kft after 12z ahead of an 
approaching winter storm. Light snow will quickly advect in from the 
nw around 15z as winds continue to back to the sse. 

For DTW...Strong and gusty nw winds will continue before decreasing 
during the evening.  Drier air advecting in is dissipating lake 
effect clouds and snow showers. Conditions should remain vfr with 
mainly sct-bkn clouds around 5kft.  Lake effect bands will remain 
active just to the west and may brush the airport briefly later this 
afternoon and evening with flurries as winds begin to gradually back 
to the west. Skc-sct skies most of tonight as weak high pressure 
ridge slides through backing the winds to ssw by 12z.  Clouds will 
be increasing towards morning ahead of an approaching winter storm. 
Ceilings will gradually lower to mvfr after 12z with light snow 
moving in from the nw around 15z. Visibilities should remain around 
6 miles for a few hours. Conditions should rapidly deteriorate after 
18z with several inches of snow accumulations expected along with 
low end mvfr ceilings and visibilities around 1sm. Winds will 
continue backing to ese by 00z.


* Moderate confidence for bkn ceilings at or below 5000 feet at 
  times this afternoon. 

* High confidence in northwest crosswind thresholds continuing 
  through evening.


MI...Wind Advisory until 4 PM EST this afternoon for MIZ049.

Lake Huron...Heavy Freezing Spray Warning until 4 AM EST Wednesday for 

     Gale Warning until 5 AM EST Wednesday for LHZ362-363-462>464.

     Gale Warning until 4 PM EST this afternoon for LHZ422.

     Gale Warning until 4 AM EST Wednesday for LHZ421-441>443.

     Gale Warning until 11 PM EST this evening for LHZ361.

Lake St Clair...Gale Warning until midnight EST tonight for LCZ460.

Michigan waters of Lake Erie...Gale Warning until 4 PM EST this afternoon for LEZ444.




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