Very dangerous winter weather starting Saturday evening, lasting through Sunday

Extreme cold, strong winds and blowing snow will create very dangerous conditions across the Finger Lakes through Sunday. Travel is strongly discouraged.
Extreme cold, strong winds and blowing snow will create very dangerous conditions across the Finger Lakes through Sunday. Travel is strongly discouraged.

A dangerous combination of bitter cold, wind and snow will create possibly life threatening conditions across the Finger Lakes Saturday evening through Sunday.

An arctic cold front will cross the region this afternoon. Light snow ahead of this front will gradually become more intense. Then, as the squall moves through, the snow will become extremely heavy, with an inch or two falling in less than 20 minutes.

Along with heavy snow, winds will gust to 40mph along this squall line. The heavy snow combined with the wind will create whiteout conditions and very poor travel as this squall comes through. Some thunder and lightning may also accompany the snow squall.

The approximate time of this squall is shown on the map, but it will mostly be a matter of watching the radar and tracking the squall once it forms.

And this will mark the start of our dangerous winter weather.

Behind the squall, winds will continue to gust over 30mph through the night and into Sunday. Temperatures will plummet behind the squall, quickly dropping into the teens and then single digits this evening. By Sunday morning, temperatures will be near or below zero and will only continue to fall through the day.

A 35mph wind with a temperature of -5º results in a wind chill of -34º and frostbite in 10 very short minutes. These conditions will be commonplace on Sunday.

The wind will also create massive blowing and drifting of snow, with blizzard conditions possible, even after the lake effect snow tapers off Sunday morning. Road conditions will be very poor, especially in rural areas, and visibilities will be near zero at times.

Motorists could very easily get stuck or go off the road due to the blowing and drifting snow. If that happens, conditions could become life threatening due to the wind and cold. If you absolutely must travel, please take a safety kit with you which includes blankets, warm clothing, food, water, a flashlight and/or flares. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged and your gas tank is full.

Please take this seriously and stay safe. Continue to check back for more updates throughout the day.

Also, please don’t forget to vote for me in the Fed Ex Small Business Grant contest. The main goal of Finger Lakes Weather is to keep you safe. The grant money (up to $25,000) would be an enormous help in meeting that mission and would drastically improve my services. I hate to ask for votes during a serious situation, but this is type of scenario is exactly why I’ve entered this contest.

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.). Drew and his wife have four young boys. When not working or playing with the boys, he is probably out for a run through the countryside.