First Warn 5

Possible Northern Lights before the Rain

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The bar wasn't exactly set high since the weekend, but Wednesday handed us our nicest day of the week by far. Sunshine gave us a welcome recharge after a string of gloomy days, but its return will be a brief one.

With a weak cold front finally passing east of the state, we are looking ahead to a gorgeous evening with mainly clear skies. High pressure will help to further that cause overnight as it settles in right over the Mitten. This will snuff out most of the wind, and allow our temperatures to reach seasonal averages for the first time in what feels like forever. We're headed for the low 40s, with some upper 30s possible in more rural areas.

The clear skies overnight may also give us a helping hand with a possible showing in the skies. A level G3 geomagnetic storm began earlier today, as the Earth came under bombardment from an increased stream of energized particles flowing out from the Sun. The particles, known collectively as the solar wind, can have both positive and negative effect for us here on the surface.

If particularly strong, a geomagnetic storm can cause problems with power grids, radio and satellite communications, and even hinder GPS signals. The storm currently underway is at a level where we could possibly experience occasional interference or even blackouts in radio signals, as well as the potential for some isolated blackouts. While not a guarantee, this is something to remain alert for.

On the positive, the increased particle bombardment can cause auroras to be visible much farther away from the Poles than normal. Given the strength of the latest storm, there is a good chance that the Northern Lights will be visible here in Michigan tonight. Take a look toward the northern sky in particular, but we could even see the lights visible directly overhead. Just try to get to a location away from light sources, and be sure to bundle up too!

The light winds may also allow a bit of lake moisture to rebound inland slightly off of Lake Huron. While not expected to be widespread, some isolated areas of fog will be possible around daybreak on Thursday. It should burn off quickly, but it won't necessarily pave the way for sunshine.

A developing low-pressure system will slip off of the Rockies and race into the Great Lakes early in the day, bringing the clouds right back with it. By lunchtime, we will likely see some scattered showers developing here and there, gradually picking up in coverage and intensity as we progress toward Thursday evening. Have the umbrella ready to go, and be ready to deal with some slick roads on the way home from work. Outdoor practices or games could also be hindered by the conditions, so be sure to plan accordingly.

A period of steadier rain overnight will gradually taper to showers by sunrise on Friday. In fact, aside from a lingering shower or two in the morning, much of the day should see some steady improvement! Skies will clear during the afternoon, but the temperatures behind the system won't be making too much of a rebound. Expect a breezy, cool day with highs reaching to around 60 degrees.

The forecast for the weekend continue to look stellar. All 3 days in fact, if you have Columbus Day off, will be winners with a trend back into the unseasonably warm category too. Saturday should be by far the sunniest day of the weekend as the core of a new zone of high pressure settles over the region. This will also help to hold the temperatures closer to normal October levels in the low 60s, but make no mistake, it will be picture-perfect start to the weekend.

That same high will slip east of the state on Sunday, and our temperatures will respond in a big way. Under partly cloudy skies, we will see a surge back to 70 degrees in many locations around Mid-Michigan. Columbus Day should also be a nice treat, in addition to being a bonus day off for many of us, with highs again reaching the 70s. The only factor to keep an eye on will be a disturbance tracking through central Canada, that could throw a few extra clouds our way depending on exactly where it tracks.

Behind that near-miss, temperatures will take another sharp dip back to reality near 60 by the time we hit Wednesday. Dry weather looks to be the norm though, as we movie through the first part of next week.

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