Severe Weather Barrels Down on Detroit Area Thursday

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Severe Weather Barrels Down on Detroit Area Thursday
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Hazards map for Thursday, April 18, 2013. (Photo courtesy of NOAA.gov.)

April showers are bringing more than May flowers to the Detroit area for spring 2013. A trifecta of thunderstorms, lightning, and flooding is barreling down on the metro area starting Thursday, April 18. The National Weather Service says to watch for possible tornadoes and 1-inch diameter hail. Here's a rundown for Detroiters of what to prepare for over the next few days.

Weather Alerts

The National Weather Service has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for southeast Michigan that forecasts winds up to 70 mph, possible isolated tornadoes, and 1-inch hail through tonight.

Storms could yield up to 1.5 inches of rain through early Friday. Much of the Detroit area is already saturated from rain throughout the week. Flooding is expected in rivers, streams, tributaries, and low-lying areas. Additional flooding is expected in urban areas from overflowing sewers and areas with poor drainage. The Flood Watch for southeast Michigan -- including Lenawee, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne -- continues through early tomorrow.

Wunderground is reporting unusually high temperatures in Detroit -- around 75 degrees -- for Thursday afternoon. The warm spike will be followed by 25- to 30-degree drops for the rest of the week.

School Closings, Travel Guidelines

Several area schools closed early on Thursday. WXYZ Action 7 reports that a fire broke out at Cory School in Romulus, Michigan, possibly caused by lightning. Cornerstone Charter Health High and Madison-Carvery Academy closed on Thursday at 1 p.m.

Motorists should beware of reduced driving visibility in heavy rain. Be careful of deep puddles and water-covered roads. Watch for flooded potholes at older highway overpasses and exit ramps like I-94 at John R. Stick to major highways, and avoid areas where sewers may be backed up. Do not attempt to cross a road covered by water, and beware of hydroplaning.

Departures from Metro Airport are currently delayed up to an hour or more, depending on destination, due to thunderstorms -- be sure to check flight status.

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