Potentially historic ice storm moving in to Mid-Michigan

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MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) (1/11/2020) - The time for preparations has comes to an end, as a winter storm promises to wreak havoc across Mid-Michigan on Saturday through Sunday.

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

Heavy rain has overspread the area and will continue into Saturday. Temperatures will be very warm to the south initially with some folks still in the 40s along the I-69 corridor until just after sunrise Saturday.

A high pressure system to the north will send cold air down into the storm system, causing some of the rain to start freezing at the surface. Mount Pleasant to West Branch will switch over to freezing rain around 6 a.m.

The Great Lakes Bay Region will switch over to freezing rain around 7 a.m. Flint and Thumb counties will switch over to freezing rain around 9 a.m. Some times will vary by an hour or two.

The air will be cold enough that some of the moisture to the north will become heavy snow. To the south, transition area to freezing rain and sleet across the Great Lakes Bay Region down toward the I-69 corridor.

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

Along the I-69 corridor, some melting is like Saturday afternoon as temperatures touch the 33 degree mark a couple of times. Then more ice will accumulate Saturday evening through the overnight, which will be the most devastating blow.

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 so all of this is subject to change.

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.