WHITE LAKE TOWNSHIP, Michigan — Detroit may get its first major snowstorm of the year this weekend, and it could make getting to and from Super Bowl parties tricky in some parts of southern Michigan.
The National Weather Service said a winter storm warning goes into effect Saturday evening in southwestern Michigan and early Sunday in the southeast. Counties across the southern tier of the state are expected to receive between 8 and 12 inches of snow.
Forecasters at the weather service office in Oakland County's White Lake Township say they have increased how much snow they think will fall as the storm has tracked further north. It's shaping up to be significant, particularly for the Detroit area, which remains under a storm warning until early Monday.
"We're below normal for snow," said meteorologist Rachel Kulik. "We really haven't had any big snowstorms yet. This could, potentially, be our first big one of the year."
The forecast of up to a foot of snow stretches from counties bordering Lake Michigan to those near lakes Erie and St. Clair. Areas to the north, such as Flint, are expected to receive up to 7 inches.
Through Friday, only about 18 inches of snow had fallen on the Detroit area this winter compared to more than 55 inches over the same period a year ago — a record-breaking winter for snow and cold in many parts of the state. The average snowfall is just above 23 inches.
This storm may seem big, but will have nowhere near the punch of the one that buried parts of New England under up to 3 feet of snow earlier this week.
"I don't think there is a potential to get 15 to 20 inches out of it," Kulik said.
Still, better safe than sorry seems to be the operating principle of snow removal crews — especially on a day replete with Super Bowl festivities.
"We're in full winter mode," Terry Spryszak, Wayne County's director of public services and the environment, told the Detroit Free Press. "We can do a full call-out of all of our force if needed."