High wind warning in effect for Thursday

By: Mary Beth Almond | Online Only | Published November 11, 2015

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A strong storm system moving through the Midwest is to blame for strong winds and scattered thunderstorms that local forecasters predict will hit Michigan hard tomorrow.

The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning for the entire region from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday. A high wind warning, according to the NWS, means a hazardous high-wind event — with sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts of 58 mph or more, leading to property damage — is expected to occur.

The National Weather Service of Detroit/Pontiac in White Lake said the strongest wind gusts, which will likely reach 50 to 60 mph, are most likely to occur between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., and then again between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. Thursday.

The NWS said driving will become dangerous — especially to high profile vehicles traveling along the north and south roadways — and to expect considerable tree and power line damage, as well some possible structural damage.

NWS officials said the storm has the potential to produce power outages, and officials remind residents that alternative power sources generate carbon monoxide and should always be placed at least 20 feet from a home.

The warning and advisory are slated to expire Friday morning, although forecasters say windy conditions will linger, with westerly gusts around 40 mph possible.

Petty Officer Brian Lendreville of the U.S. Coast Guard station in St. Clair Shores said that they follow the national weather forecast and warn boaters to be cognizant of the weather.

“Conditions quickly deteriorate, especially out on this lake,” he said. “Even seasoned boaters, it’s always good to be mindful of what you’re doing.”

He said there is much less traffic on Lake St. Clair than there was in the summer months, but there are still anglers hitting the lake.
The forecasted winds, he said, will not make for ideal boating conditions, but if boaters do find themselves in distress, they should hail for help on Channel 16 on a marine radio or use a cellphone to call the station for help at (586) 778-3320. The station covers Lake St. Clair north to Algonac and south to the mouth of the Detroit River.

“We generally don’t expect that high of traffic, but you never know,” Lendreville said.

Nevertheless, he said, the Coast Guard will be making its patrols to look out for anyone in distress.

For more information, visit www.weather.gov/detroit.

Staff Writer Kristyne Demske contributed to this report.