Early taste of Spring for the Finger Lakes this week

finger lakes weather forecast warm temperatures record warm spring
The weather this week will feel more typical of late March or April.

If you enjoyed the weather this weekend in the Finger Lakes, you are going to love the forecast for this week.

Spring Preview

The Finger Lakes has escaped the icy grip of winter. Along with most of the eastern half of the country, temperatures will continue to be well above normal.

High pressure is approaching the area from the northwest for the start of the week. Some cooler air has slid into the Finger Lakes on north winds as the high works in. This should push temperatures down from the warmth of the weekend, but only for Monday. Look for highs mostly in the low 40s today. Skies will remain sunny, though, with no precipitation expected.

Winds will swing back around to the south by Tuesday as a weak frontal boundary approaches. This will spread some clouds into the Finger Lakes during the day with a few scattered rain showers Tuesday evening. Temperatures Tuesday should reach well into the 40s and low 50s.

Temperatures really start to warm up for the middle of the week as a southerly flow continues to feed warm air into the region. Temperatures Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday could all set new daily records.

Temperatures should at least reach the mid 50s on Wednesday, with 60s likely on Thursday and possibly Friday as well.

Some showers may be possible Thursday night and early Friday, but most of the remainder of the time will be dry.

Watch for Hype

The transition from winter to spring is typically full of hype as the media jumps all over the warming of temperatures.

Certainly, this warm up is notable with both its magnitude and duration. There is no denying that.

However, there is a fairly high degree of uncertainty in how warm it will get next week. The spread among the European Ensemble members, for example, is quite large for a temperature forecast just a few days in advance.

For a refresher, ensemble modeling works like this: A single model, in this case, the typically accurate European, is run multiple times. Each time, the model is tweaked or adjusted in some way. These small differences result in a range of possible weather outcomes. When the ensembles largely agree with each other, the certainty in the forecast increases. When there is a large spread, there is reason for caution and skepticism.

Most of the time, forecasters use the primary, control run of a model when making a forecast. Other weather services often just feed data directly from the model into their forecast tables. Those that do that this week will be missing some important considerations for their forecast.

The latest control run of the European model, for example, has Rochester reaching 72 degrees on Friday. This is just 1 degree shy of the all-time February record high in Rochester. A look at the spread of the ensembles show, however, that that 72 degree forecast is the warmest outlier of the 51 ensemble members.

Sure, it is possible that it will get that warm. But, it would be irresponsible to take that outlier and make it a forecast without any mention of the uncertainty. The average among the ensembles for Friday is closer to 60 degrees and the coldest outlier is near 40 degrees.

Winter Isn’t Ending

The other bit of hype that will likely come out this week is about winter being over. Yes, it will certainly feel like spring. But, cold air and snow will almost certainly make it back to the Finger Lakes.

In fact, temperatures will likely return to normal by the end of the weekend after a strong storm system moves through on Saturday. Some lake effect snow early next week is possible.

Looking longer, March has been trending cooler. The middle of the month in particular looks primed for below normal temperatures and snow.

So, enjoy the warmth while it is here, but do not put away the coats and shovels yet. This is the Finger Lakes, after all.

Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
Follow Meteorologist Drew Montreuil:

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 goat milk soap, running until his legs burn, or playing with his three young boys.

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