Snow Tuesday Afternoon Through Wednesday
A lengthy period of snow will start this afternoon in the Finger Lakes and persist into Wednesday night with highly variable amounts of snow accumulation expected.
Similar to last week, a nor’easter has teamed up with an area of low pressure moving across the Great Lakes. A frontal boundary between the two systems extended the westward extent of the snow into the eastern Finger Lakes.
The nor’east has mostly absorbed the Great Lakes low this morning as it continues to lift north along the New England coast. A wedge of relatively dry air aloft has worked into the Finger Lakes with the only snow this morning near and east of I-81.
Large amounts of atmospheric moisture lurk just north of Lake Ontario and will pivot southward towards the Finger Lakes starting this afternoon. As this moisture moves in, snow will spread from north to south through the afternoon and evening hours.
At first, the snow will probably be a bit disorganized with temperatures aloft and at the surface marginal for lake enhancement. Still, a few localized squalls will be possible, especially near and north of I-90 this evening.
The snow should become better organized and more widespread overnight and into Wednesday, intensifying through the morning and into the afternoon.
The heaviest, most widespread snow will likely be during Wednesday afternoon before the snow begins to taper off Wednesday evening.
Winds will also increase on Wednesday with frequent gusts of 30-40 mph. With temperatures likely just shy of the freezing point, road conditions could become rather sloppy on Wednesday.
Explaining the Snow Map
This snow is likely to be very location and elevation dependent, which of course makes for a complicated and difficult forecast.
I expect the highest snow amounts to be in two primary areas. First, a ribbon of snow amounts apporaching a foot will be possible across Wayne, northern Cayuga, and into Oswego counties. The close proximity to Lake Ontario will produce these higher snow amounts.
Further south, areas east of Owasco Lake and south of Syracuse, where the terrain is more elevated, could also approach a foot. The hills of Madison County, where snow is and will continue to fall this morning, have the best shot at going over a foot.
Generally speaking for the rest of the area, amounts will be greater further north and over higher elevations. A great example of this playing out is the Ithaca area. While the city of Ithaca may only see a few inches, higher elevations west and east of Ithaca could see substantially more snow.
The lowest amounts will stretch across the Southern Tier. Juggling the impacts of higher elevations against being so far from Lake Ontario made for an especially difficult call across these areas.
In all, the general patterns of where the highest and lowest amounts are shown on the map will likely verify. The location-by-location analysis of exact amounts is much less certain.
Still, use the zip-code forecasts for the best idea of what to expect in your exact location over the next 24 hours:
Flurries, Wind, Cold Linger
Once the primary snow falls apart Wednesday night, the remainder of the week will turn out brisk and cold.
Scattered snow showers are possible on both Thursday and Friday, but with little if any accumulation.
Temperatures on Thursday will sneak into the middle 30s which should help clear some of the snow from the roads.
Friday, however, will be colder, with highs struggling into the middle 20s.
Winds will continue to be strong both days, with gusts over 30 mph possible. Of course, this will result in some rather cold wind chill readings on Friday.
The wind will finally taper off Saturday and especially Sunday, but temperatures may get stuck in the low and mid 30s both days.