Windy, wet and warm Christmas Eve- not white

Twice now, the winter weather hype machine has cranked up for a big snow event before Christmas.

The first was supposed to be this past weekend. The second on Christmas Eve. Neither event will pan out as hyped, with the first event fizzling into nothing and now the Christmas storm turning wet and windy, not white.

I first started looking seriously at the Christmas event last Thursday night, almost a full week before the event. I had already been receiving questions for a couple of days on the snow potential for Christmas.

I had a bad headache that night, and when I took a glance at the models, I almost immediately closed my browser window.

With a complex scenario showing on the models a week or more in advance, it is always best to wait and see what will happen, lest you get a headache trying to figure out a reliable forecast!
With a complex scenario showing on the models a week or more in advance, it is always best to wait and see what will happen, lest you get a headache trying to figure out a reliable forecast!

The models were a mess with a number of systems interacting with one another. The only thing I knew for certain after that quick glance was that the level of hype was through the roof. With a scenario that complex, it would be impossible to have any confidence for a forecast 7-10+ days out.

Sure enough, instead of merging into a big nor’easter, it looks as if each of the three systems will go their own way.

A number of factors will influence the weather over the coming days, but a white Christmas is almost certainly out of the question for the Finger Lakes. Click image to enlarge.
A number of factors will influence the weather over the coming days, but a white Christmas is almost certainly out of the question for the Finger Lakes. Click image to enlarge.

First is low pressure off the Southeast coast this morning. This system is mixing up the atmosphere over the Southeast. Storm systems need differences in temperatures to feed off of and strengthen. This first, weak system is doing the exact opposite and making the southeast a very unfavorable region for storm development.

Second is low pressure over the Plains. This system is split now, but will consolidate into a moderately strong storm over the Midwest by Tuesday night. This could still merge with the third storm, but more likely that not, it will move north into Canada as its own entity.

The third system will be the strongest as it feeds off of warm air from the Gulf of Mexico and cool air coming in behind the Midwestern system. This storm should track into southern Ontario by Wednesday night, on a track favorable for warm, wet and windy weather in the Finger Lakes.

Temperatures may even push 60ยบ for a time Wednesday night- a far cry from a crippling snow storm.

The main question now will be how strong will the winds get. If the Midwestern storm stays separate, we probably will escape with just a blustery day. If they do happen to merge though, we could have some pretty strong winds that would require some preparation ahead of time to prevent problems.

Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
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Meteorologist Drew Montreuil has been forecasting the weather in the Finger Lakes region since 2006 and has degrees in meteorology from SUNY Oswego (B.S. with Honors) and Cornell (M.S.) When not forecasting, he can be found working at the local library, making soap, or playing with his two young boys.