Winter Storm Watches have been issued by the National Weather Service for almost all of the Finger Lakes Weather coverage area in anticipation for a long duration winter storm.Low pressure will develop along the Mid Atlantic coast on Tuesday afternoon. It will rapidly strengthen and move along the New Jersey coast. By the time it reaches Long Island/New York City, the low will stall out. There is some uncertainty on how far west the low will be when it stalls out and that will have a major impact on the weather across the Finger Lakes.
Precipitation is likely to break out across the area Tuesday afternoon. This precipitation may start as a little rain or wintry mix, but it should quickly become all snow. An axis of very heavy snow, along with thunder and lightning, will likely develop and drift northwest during the evening and overnight hours Tuesday. While this area currently looks to be primarily to the southeast, it is still within the realm of possibility that everything shifts further northwest.
Within this band of heavy snow, as much as two feet of snow may be possible by Wednesday morning.
For the Finger Lakes region, the eastern half- roughly east of Seneca Lake, has the best chance for significant snow as the band drifts northwest. Amounts are uncertain and depend on the possibility of mixed precipitation early on and the location of the storm, but some areas could easily see a foot by Wednesday morning. And again, if the axis of heavy snow sets up further west, even more than that could be possible.
At this time, it looks like precipitation will weaken as it spreads further west on Wednesday, but may flare up again Wednesday night into Thursday as energy rotates around the low. I expect snow showers to linger into Friday and maybe even Saturday, but the bulk of the week’s accumulation will be through Thursday.
Stay tuned for updates- confidence is low enough that in a couple of days, this forecast could look pretty inaccurate, even though I feel good about it right now.