Hang on — roller coaster weather ahead for the Finger Lakes

finger lakes weather forecast tuesday februrary 20 2018 record warmth cold front snow
Record warmth is moving into the Finger Lakes on Tuesday but will crash back down on Wednesday with areas of accumulating snow now becoming possible Thursday.

Wild Weather in the Finger Lakes

A surge of record-breaking warmth is moving into the Finger Lakes this morning, but a shot of snow is lurking on the backside of the warmth.

A slow moving front is draped from Texas to the Great Lakes this morning while a strong area of high pressure sits off the shore of the Carolinas. Between these two systems, warm air is surging north throughout the eastern part of the United States.

finger lakes weather temepratures 6am tuesday february 20 2018
While portions of the Southern Tier and Central New York are starting the day in the 30s, temperatures were already near 60 degrees in Western New York at 6 am, Tuesday, February 20, 2018.

Warm air is starting to seep into the Finger Lakes, but location and elevation are playing a large role in the temperatures this morning. While parts of the northwestern Finger Lakes are already pushing 60 degrees, the eastern Southern Tier remains locked in the low 40s with a few locations still in the 30s.

The warm air will continue to make inroads into the region with most areas seeing temperatures in the 60s this afternoon. A couple places, especially near Rochester, could even make a run at 70 degrees.

Scattered showers are still in the region this morning, mostly across more northern areas. Much of the day will likely be dry as these showers lift north. Still, a couple on and off showers will be likely, especially in the mid-afternoon.

Outside of the showers, a few breaks of sun will be possible.

South winds will be gusty at times today, especially over the western Finger Lakes and Western New York.

Temperatures will remain in the 50s overnight and will quickly rise back into the 60s Wednesday morning.

Cold Front Wednesday, Snow Thursday

The very warm weather will not last too long on Wednesday. During the late morning hours, a sharp cold front will drop southeast across the area.

In the matter of 30-60 minutes at most, temperatures will drop from the low 60s to the low 40s.

A band of showers will accompany the front with a few more scattered showers behind the front.

Winds will switch to the northwest and gust between 30-40 mph during the afternoon as temperatures continue to drop into the 30s.

The front will stall out over the Mid-Atlantic while an area of high pressure crosses southern Canada. The cool air from the high will keep temperatures in the low to mid 30s on Thursday while the front serves as a track for an area of low pressure.

It now looks likely that this low will spread precipitation into the region on Thursday. For the northern Finger Lakes, this may be a mix of rain and snow, but across the Southern Tier and Southern Finger Lakes, several inches of slushy snow may end up falling.

I will have more details on that potential in Wednesday morning’s blog.

Wet Weather into the Weekend

High pressure will then shift east off the coast of New England while yet another storm system lifts north into the Great Lakes.

This should send another batch of precipitation into the Finger Lakes on Friday.

Temperatures may be just cold enough early Friday for some mixed precipitation over Central New York, but most of the Finger Lakes should see rain from start to finish on Friday.

Rain amounts could exceed a half-inch in most areas on Friday.

We may be able to sneak in a dry day on Saturday, but there is low certainty in that this early on as a system passes through the Mid-Atlantic.

The daily parade of weather systems will continue on Sunday with another shot of rain. Again, the potential for some mixed precipitation early in the morning for eastern areas will have to be watched.

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