Winter Storm Watch expands to nearly all of Mid-Michigan as storm approaches

This graphic shows the total ice accumulation possible from Saturday morning through Sunday morning in Mid-Michigan.
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MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) (1/10/2020) - Nearly all of Mid-Michigan has been placed under a Winter Storm Watch or Warning as a powerful storm system approaches the region with snow, ice and wind.

The National Weather Service offices in Detroit, Gaylord and Grand Rapids all issued Winter Storm Watches for Friday evening through Sunday morning. Warnings are possible later Friday as forecasts are refined.

Rain and high winds are expected to begin on Friday, with several inches expected through Saturday night. The rain will transition to freezing rain, sleet and heavy snow as cold air moves in Saturday morning.

Freezing rain is expected to begin Saturday morning in Genesee, Huron, Lapeer, Livingston, Oakland, Saginaw, Sanilac, Shiawassee and Tuscola counties. The amount of ice accumulation will depend on where the freezing line is established.

Winter Storm Warnings are in effect for Clare and Gratiot counties and areas to the west, where ice and heavy accumulations of wet snow are expected. The National Weather Service is calling for 3 to 10 inches of snow, along with up to one-third of an inch of ice there.

Bay and Midland counties are under a Winter Storm Watch, as the National Weather Service is calling for about 2 inches of snow and one-third to one-half inch of ice.

North of Saginaw Bay, Alcona, Alpena, Arenac, Gladwin, Iosco, Ogemaw, Oscoda and Roscommon counties are under a Winter Storm Watch. The National Weather Service is calling for 6 to 11 inches of snow and up to one-third inches of ice.

In addition to the precipitation, the National Weather Service is calling for wind gusts reaching 40 to 45 mph through the day on Saturday. Coupled with ice and heavy, wet snow, widespread and long-lasting power outages are possible.

Forecasters are urging residents to avoid travel if possible on Saturday.

Rainfall totals of more than 3 inches in Genesee, Lapeer, Livingston, Oakland and Sanilac counties Friday night through Sunday morning could create flooding conditions. With frozen ground, rainfall won't soak in as much as normal.

Stay with the ABC12 First Alert Weather Team on air during every newscast and online this weekend as the storm affects nearly all of Mid-Michigan.

The ABC12 First Alert Weather app also offers up-to-the minute updates and pinpointed alerts to keep readers abreast of what's happening in their neighborhood.