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Posted on Sun, Jan 27, 2013 : 4:41 p.m.

Ann Arbor region to see wild swings in weather this week

By Sven Gustafson

Don't like the winter weather right now in Ann Arbor? Just wait. Things are bound to get interesting over the next week, with warming temperatures, the dreaded wintry mix, rain and another Arctic blast all in the forecast.

Television meteorologist Mark Torregrossa in an MLive post calls the forecast a "winter mess."

"Very interesting over the next coupled of days, for sure," said Steve Travis, meteorologist for Accu Weather.

Ann Arbor is due for a blast of precipitation Sunday evening as temperatures slowly rise from the mid-20s through the night. The area could see an inch of snow before mid-level atmospheric warming changes it to sleet around midnight, then freezing rain through 4 a.m. or 5 a.m., Travis said.

The wintry mix could leave a glaze on sidewalks and make for some slippery morning driving in some areas, he said.

Meanwhile, temperatures should rise well above freezing by dawn Monday and reach a high of 43, with most precipitation over by 10 a.m. but scattered rain possible throughout the day and evening.

Then a secondary storm system and warm from should hit Ann Arbor late Monday or early Tuesday, with highs Tuesday in the mid-50s, "which is pretty unusual for this time of year," Travis said. "We're still about 10 degrees shy of records, but the average high is 32, so we're still well above that."

Unseasonably high levels of moisture in the atmosphere will fuel a cold front that develops Tuesday evening into Wednesday, with heavy rain downpours likely, Travis said.

After topping out around 53 late Tuesday or early Wednesday, the temperatures should quickly plummet into the mid-30s, with strong winds likely and snow possible.

Thursday and Friday could see the return of nighttime lows in the single digits as an Arctic blast lashes the region before temperatures moderate to around their seasonal averages over the weekend, Travis said, with a couple of inches of snow possible Saturday.

"It's certainly an interesting pattern, that's for sure," he said.

Stay up to date on weather conditions any time by visiting's weather page.

Contact freelancer Sven Gustafson at sventg123(at)gmail(dot)com, or follow him on Twitter.


Chester Drawers

Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 12:52 p.m.

Could someone please explain the difference between sleet and freezing rain?


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 2:39 p.m.

dexterreader is right. The National Weather Service has a glossary page for terms like this. Freezing rain is rain that falls as liquid rain drops, but then freezes into ice when it hits the ground. Sleet is pellets of ice, either frozen raindrops or melted and refrozen snowflakes. Sleet pellets usually bounce when they hit. "Hail" is also pellets of ice, but the pellets are larger than sleet, and only come from a certain cloud type (cumulonimbus clouds) that also generate thunderstorms, and only very rarely form in the winter here.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 1:28 p.m.

Oh, and that is a very, very general answer. It involves differences in temperatures at different levels of the atmosphere, etc. You have to have the right combination of temperature "layers" in the atmosphere to get freezing rain.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 1:25 p.m.

I am not a weatherman, but I believe the difference is that sleet falls as little pellets of ice -- already frozen. Freezing rain falls as rain and then freezes on contact with the ground surfaces. And any "weather" people out there are welcome to correct me if I'm wrong!! Freezing rain is far more dangerous -- it sticks like glue and makes everything an icy mess.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 1:11 p.m.

I bet Sonny Elliot knew the difference.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 12:51 a.m.

Welcome to Michigan. Be careful and drive slow and don't ride any ones rear end. Better to be late then in a ditch.

Katherine Griswold

Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 12:31 a.m.

Please be extra careful on the icy roads, especially on Geddes Avenue near Hickory and the back entrance to Gallup Park. The road is deteriorating and sloping down towards the shoulder, which is washed away in spots. With these icy conditions a vehicle could easily slide off the road and down the steep cliff.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 3:06 a.m.

Thanks for the warning.


Mon, Jan 28, 2013 : 12:23 a.m.

It's pretty fun driving out there right now.