(WWJ) Detroit Tigers Opening Day is tomorrow in all its dappled-green field and short-sleeved baseball glory.

That means spring is here, but someone forgot to tell Mother Nature.

Forecasters say snow and high winds are expected to hit metro Detroit Thursday afternoon, with a wind advisory now in effect for Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Livingston, Washtenaw, Lenawee and Monroe counties until 6 a.m. Friday.

Strong, possibly damaging wind gusts up to 50 mph are expected.

“We’ve got a mess today,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Dean Devore. “Windy conditions, rain showers going over to some snow this afternoon and this evening; maybe a coating to an inch or so when it’s all said and done. And then a chilly home opener for the Tigers tomorrow with temperatures in the 40s at best.”

Devore said a nasty mix of rain and snow is expected to fall across metro Detroit Thursday night and into Friday morning, so watch for dicey travel conditions during that time.

“It will go over to a period of snow this evening, some wet snow — a coating to an inch or so — and then taper off to some snow showers,” Devore said.

“The other problem this evening: Batten down the hatches, folks! The wind is going to pick up, gusting 45 maybe even some 50 mph gusts later today into this evening.”

But it seems metro Detroit will be spared the worst of it: Snow has been falling, causing problems on the roadways across the Lansing and Kalamazoo areas and beyond.

The National Weather Service said Midland, Bay City and Saginaw area was expected to get a total snow accumulation of up to 8 inches — yes, 8 inches — along with high winds.

A winter storm watch for that area has since expired; although a winter weather advisory remains in effect in some parts of the state — including Grand Rapids, Lansing and Kalamazoo.

Meantime, a high wind watch is in effect for the Saginaw Bay area and northern Thumb and then south toward Port Huron through Thursday night, with gusts of up to 60 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

The Saginaw area expected to get up to 3 inches of rain over Thursday and Friday and lake shore areas have been warned of waves up to 10 feet with resulting flooding.

So, it could be worse. Get ready for opening day in Detroit, folks, and pack the big coat, along with some mittens, thick socks, possibly a wool hat.

But because it’s Michigan, the cold snap will be short-lived. The forecast calls for partly sunny skies and a high of 58 degrees on Saturday, up to 69 degrees on Sunday and 73 degrees on Monday.

Keep it tuned to WWJ Newsradio 950 for the latest  during traffic and weather, every 10 minutes on the 8s. See the live, local radar now at this link and check for freeway closures here


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