MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) (1/9/2020) - The time for preparations is now as a winter storm could wreak havoc across Mid-Michigan from Friday night through Sunday.
High winds, ice accumulations and flooding could lead to long duration power outages.
Starting Friday afternoon, heavy rains will start to move in from the south. Temperatures will be very warm, meaning there won't be any issues, with highs heading all the way up into the upper 40s.
A high pressure system to the north will send cold air down into the storm system that is bringing in the rain. This will cause some of the moisture to the north to become snow, with a transition area to freezing rain and sleet in between.
The first areas to experience freezing rain will be from Mount Pleasant toward the Great Lakes Bay Region between around midnight 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.
Sleet accumulation could be as high as 3 to 4 inches. 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.
As the storm continues Saturday night, warmer air moves into the I-69 corridor. This will melt the ice and get traveling back to normal. 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 and 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.