Crippling ice storm arrives in Mid-Michigan Friday night into Saturday

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MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) (1/10/2020) - The time for preparations is nearing an end, as a winter storm could wreak havoc across Mid-Michigan from Friday night through Sunday.

High winds, ice accumulations and flooding are set to lead to long duration power outages.

Starting Friday evening and into the overnight, heavy rains will start to move in from the south. Temperatures will be very warm, meaning there won't be any issues initially, nearing 50 degrees to the south.

A high pressure system to the north will send cold air down into the storm system that is bringing in the rain starting Friday night.

This will cause some of the moisture to the north to become snow, with a transition area to freezing rain and sleet across the Saginaw Bay Region down toward the I-69 corridor.

The first areas to experience freezing rain will be from Mount Pleasant toward the Great Lakes Bay Region between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. Saturday. Flint and the I-69 corridor will switch over from rain to freezing rain as the temperature drops around 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday.

Freezing rain and sleet will fall heavy at times from the transition time until after sunset Saturday. Some ice totals could be greater than a half-inch with even higher amounts in localized areas. Some will near the one-inch mark.

Sleet accumulation could be as high as 3 to 4 inches around the Great Lakes Bay Region. Of course, one degree makes all the difference.

The ABC12 First Alert Weather Team will be watching closely and fine tuning the areas that will be hit the hardest.

Wind will be another huge issue. Some gusts Saturday afternoon along Lake Huron could top 50 mph with 40 mph elsewhere inland. The weight of ice in the trees and power lines combined with the wind will cause damage -- thus power outages.

Lakeshore areas will be dealing with erosion, flooding and high waves all the way through Saturday and into Sunday morning. Storms of this magnitude have produced storm surges on Lake Michigan in recent months, some as great as a foot higher than normal water levels.

Bay City and Quanicassee will likely experience significant shoreline flooding.

The I-69 corridor could have temperatures flirt with 32 degrees a few times. This will melt a small amount of some of the ice, but still have big issues possible.

Areas north of the Great Lakes Bay Region will remain below freezing the entire time and continue to accumulate sleet, freezing rain and snow.

Anywhere north of Saginaw Bay will experience snow from start to finish. Some areas could pick up more than a foot with blizzard conditions. Lakeshore areas will be the hardest hit.

By Sunday morning, light snow will be lingering north of Saginaw Bay with everyone else to the south drying out.

Areas to the south that receive anywhere from 3 to 4 inches of water will then see rivers rise. Moderate to major flooding is possible.