Metro Detroit Weather: 8 to 14 inches of snow for all of Southeast Michigan

We couldn't avoid it all winter, could we? Aside from the four inches we received last week, Metro Detroit and southeast Michigan overall hasn't seen huge totals this winter. That's all about to change.

Our first major winter storm is on the way and it's going to pack a very big punch. The National Weather Service issued a Winter Storm Warning Tuesday afternoon as the confidence is growing in snow totals and location.  

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When will the snow start in Metro Detroit?

We are less than 48 hours from the snow beginning to fall in Michigan, but before that happens we'll actually see some rain. Tuesday's temperatures will rise into the lower 40s as warmer, wetter air arrives from the Gulf South. 

While this will be a nice break from winter's cold, it is one of the reasons why this storm will be so potent as there's a lot of moisture being pulled north from the Gulf of Mexico. 

MORE: What to have on hand if the power goes out during a winter storm

A cold front Tuesday night then changes everything.

Starting near 11 p.m. Tuesday night the rain will begin to transition into a wintry mix of rain/sleet/snow. Colder air will begin to filter down through the atmosphere as the entire air mass changes to a snowmaker by 4 a.m. on Wednesday morning. 

Before the rain, sleet, and then snow even start, you NEED the FOX 2 Weather app. It's 100% free and gives you live radar, projections, and the alerts that are the most important for your day.  

How much snow will Michigan get?

Buckle up Michigan. Steady, yet moderate snow will continue all day Wednesday and most of Thursday. At times, it will be heavy and, by the time it's all done, we're looking at grand snow totals of between 8-14 inches.

Wednesday will be the heavier of the two days, with snow continuing almost all day. By noon Wednesday, there will be nearly 2 inches of snow on the ground, and by dinner time closer to 3-4 inches. 

By the time we wake up to go to work on Thursday, there could already be 6-7 inches accumulated on the ground.

MORE: 7 creative winter activities besides snowball fights that everyone will love

The snow continues Thursday too with a moderate to heavy pace at times. In fact, some rates on Thursday morning may be the heaviest we'll see throughout the entire winter storm.  

By noon on Thursday it is likely that we have 8-10 inches on the ground... and we're not done!

An additional 2-3 inches is still possible as most of the snow tracks out of Southeast Michigan by around 8 p.m. Thursday. The broad range is between 8-14 inches, but a more targeted number of 10-12 inches looks likely for most of us with some of us getting even more. Below is a more detailed breakdown:

Kalamazoo, Lansing, and Flint should all be in the 6 to 8 inch range. Oakland County and Macomb County should mostly get between 8 and 12 inches of snow while Detroit, Wayne County, and Washtenaw County will allow likely get between 10 and 14 inches. It only gets deeper as you go farther south.

Near the Ohio border, we're looking at more than a foot while Ohio and Indiana should each get more than 14 inches. 

Will schools close from the snow in Southeast Michigan?


Schools will absolutely close through pretty much the entire area. It will be up to each district whether they close in advance of the storm or not. 

Stay up to date on school closings on this page here - where you can also watch our live coverage all day every day.

Detroit snow records

It's going to be the biggest snow system since December of 2016 and perhaps a top 10 snowstorm of all time. If we see some totals of near 15 inches that would not surprise me.

Following the snow will come an extremely frigid BLAST of air.  High temperatures to end the week won't get out of the teens and overnight lows Friday night will plummet to -1 with a windchill of -15 degrees.