Continue to check back through the day for the latest weather updates, radar, and Finger Lakes focused winter storm forecasts.
Weather Radar & Quick Links
Use the following links and radar to get up to the second information on the winter storm in the Finger Lakes.
- Your Zip-Code Forecast:
- Weather Alerts
- Full-Page Radar
- Full Storm Details Post (posted Saturday, but forecast remains largely unchanged)
- Send Drew a message (typical response time under 5 minutes)
Here is a breakdown of what to expect at different times in the Finger Lakes.
6:30 PM Sunday- Conditions Set to Deteriorate Quickly
A band of heavy snow has moved into western New York and will start to impact the western Finger Lakes before long. This band seems to be developing along a cold front of sorts that is the result of strengthening low pressure over northern New York.
This band seems to be developing along a cold front of sorts that is the result of strengthening low pressure over northern New York. This is exactly the scenario I described below in the 4 pm update.
Winds across southern Canada and western New York are increasing as well.
Be advised that this band of heavy snow will overspread the Finger Lakes and winds will noticeably increase over the next few hours! The Storm Time Line has been updated to reflect this band of snow and the rapid development of low pressure over northern New York.
The lull is over. Now the storm is about to begin.
4 PM Sunday-
As expected, the Finger Lakes is seeing a lull in activity late this afternoon. However, this does not mean the storm is over! Here is what is going on:
There are currently three areas of low pressure at play. A new low is beginning to rapidly develop along the Mid-Atlantic coast. This low is stealing some energy from a second, now disorganized low over the New York-Pennsylvania state line just south of the Finger Lakes. This low is also feeding the third low, which is dropping southeast just north of the Great Lakes.
As the evening progresses, this will become a two low storm as both the coastal low and Canadian low strengthen at the expense of the weak low in between them.
This is an important development for the Finger Lakes region.
As the Canadian low strengthens, it will move into northern New York. This will put our region in the favored area for strong winds and moisture wrapping back around the low.
Snow is already breaking out across Canada and will drop southeast into the Finger Lakes this evening. As the low strengthens, so too will the wind and snow. Added moisture from Lake Ontario and upward motion associated with the winds running up against the higher elevations southeast of Lake Ontario will result in even more significant snow.
In short, the worst part of the storm is still to come. Do not underestimate how quickly conditions will deteriorate tonight as the snow and wind rapidly pick up.
Noon Sunday- Intensity Drops This Afternoon
The rain/snow line seems to have stabilized during the late morning hours and will likely remain in place this afternoon. Areas seeing snow will likely continue to see snow, and those that remain rain will generally see rain. There will of course still be local variations and some areas may continue to go back and forth, but generally it is now a static set up.
The next evolution in this storm will be a general decrease in precipitation intensity through the afternoon and early evening hours. Breaks in the precipitation are already pushing into the southwestern Finger Lakes as the storm continues to press east and evolve.
So, for this afternoon, look for on and off precipitation, likely staying in whatever phase it has been for most of the morning.
There is a potential for an even more significant lull in precipitation between 5-9 pm, but the storm will not be over.
Snow will increase in coverage and intensity during the late evening and overnight hours. This second phase of the storm has greater confidence and will create dangerous travel conditions regionwide. The snow will turn lighter and fluffier, which will easily be blown around by strong winds gusting well over 40 mph at times. Near white out conditions and significant drifting are likely to continue well into Monday, even as the snow tapers off.
I have updated the Zip-Code forecasts and Storm Time Line in the colored boxes above. Updates will continue through the afternoon and evening hours.
9:15 am Sunday- Battle Lines Drawn
A fascinating event is unfolding across the southeastern Finger Lakes as the battle lines between warm and cold are being defined.
Rain is gradually changing over to heavy, wet snow from higher elevations to lower elevations. Based on FLXWeather user reports, it seems the trend is for temperatures to be cooling enough for the rain to turn to snow. I have seen numerous reports for locations mere miles apart seeing vastly different conditions.
It is likely that this is a result of the very heavy intensity of the precipitation. Precipitation acts to cool the atmosphere and it is likely coming down hard enough to counteract the slightly warmer temperatures aloft.
Based on the current trends and latest short time, high-resolution model data, this trend for snow over rain may continue for the southeastern Finger Lakes.
On the precipitation type map I posted yesterday and reposted below, the rain/mix line I drew may therefore be about 20 miles too far east. This was also in the zone of greatest uncertainty, so it is not overly surprising that there is some adjusting needed.
Several inches of snow may fall into the early afternoon before precipitation enters a lighter, more scattered phase for the late afternoon and early evening. Heavy snow and wind is still expected to move back in tonight.
8 am Sunday
Precipitation has overspread most of the Finger Lakes already this morning. Some of this precipitation is quite heavy, especially across the southern portions of the region.
Most of the area is seeing rain. The northern Finger Lakes is seeing some mixed precipitation. In the eastern Finger Lakes, there is a sharp cut-off between rain and snow.
In the eastern Finger Lakes, there is a sharp cut-off between rain and snow. For example, here in Groton, it was raining at 7 am, but is now snowing.
Analysis of the temperature structure of the atmosphere shows a surge of warm air moving north into the Finger Lakes about a mile above the surface. Low pressure over eastern Ohio is pumping that warm air north and should keep the precipitation primarily rain into the mid afternoon hours.
Even areas that are seeing ice or snow now should change over to rain, roughly according to the precipitation map I created yesterday and am reposting below.
The rain will turn to snow later this afternoon and evening. The snow may come down hard at times overnight and will be whipped around by strong winds. I have not changed my expected snow accumulations, either, and have reposted them below as well.
Stay tuned for additional updates throughout the day.