Breaking down Tuesday’s icy mix for the Finger Lakes

finger lakes weather forecast snow sleet freezing rain ice icy wintery mix mixed precipitation tuesday january 10 2017
Get the details on the snow, sleet and freezing rain specific to the Finger Lakes region.

Continued updates on the icy precipitation in the Finger Lakes.

4:15 PM Update

This morning, I mentioned the possibility of a slot of dry air working into the Finger Lakes, ending the precipitation.

While it is a bit earlier than anticipated this morning, that break is here.

Most of the Finger Lakes is now clear of the precipitation, but only for a time. Sleet, freezing rain and a little snow will work back in within a few hours of the earlier precipitation ending. Gradually, the icy mix will turn to rain, but for most of the area, this will not happen until much later this evening.

Roads will continue to be sloppy, so please continue to use caution. Do not assume the roads are safe, just because it is not precipitating at the moment.

Winds will continue to be very strong through the evening hours. The strongest winds will be at higher elevations, and along the Lake Ontario Plain. High Wind Warnings are now in effect for Wayne and Monroe county, with Wind Advisories over most of the remainder of the Finger Lakes. More on the current weather alerts can be found here.

1 PM Update

A band of snow moved across the Finger Lakes this morning before tapering off.

New precipitation is moving back into the area and will continue on and off through the afternoon and evening. An icy mix has begun across parts of the western Finger Lakes, including in and around Rochester.

The trend will be for a continued transition to icy precipitation throughout the afternoon and evening.

More details on the change over to rain can be found in the final section of this blog post.

Original Post, 7am Tuesday:

Storm Overview

The Finger Lakes is in for a sloppy Tuesday as a strong storm system lifts into the Great Lakes.

A surge of warm air out ahead of this storm will attempt to push into the region. However, cold air at the surface will be hard to dislodge, and the warm air will be forced up and over the cold.

This upward motion of the warm air will contribute to precipitation breaking out across the Finger Lakes. Initially, this precipitation will be all snow, but as the air aloft warms, mixed precipitation will become more likely.

Icy precipitation occurs in these situations because the warm layer aloft melts the precipitation, but the cold air at the surface causes it to refreeze, either before it hits the ground (sleet) or after it hits the ground (freezing rain).

Gradually, the warm air will erode the cold away, and precipitation will turn over to all rain. Overall, precipitation amounts are not going to be tremendous, preventing this event from becoming a major problem. Still, slick roads are likely across the region today.

Let’s take a closer look.

Tuesday Morning: Snow Develops

Precipitation will gradually work in from the west this morning. Temperatures at the surface will rise into the mid 20s and temperatures aloft will remain below freezing. As a result, the

As a result, the precipitation should remain all snow throughout the Finger Lakes into the midday hours.

Most of the snow will be fairly light. Most areas will only see a coating of snow through the morning hours.

The steady snow should start by these times in the following locations. A few flurries will be possible before these times.

Tuesday Afternoon: Icy Mix

Temperatures aloft will start to rise above freezing by the mid afternoon hours. However, temperatures at the surface will generally remain near or below freezing.

This will result in a period of icy mix throughout the Finger Lakes.

Snow, sleet and freezing rain will fall steadily through the afternoon at light to moderate intensities. Roads will likely become sloppy and slick, so please use caution when traveling, especially as schools dismiss and during the evening commute.

Accumulations will not seem large, as the sleet and freezing rain will cut down on the snow’s ability to pile up. Still, up to an inch of snow and a coating of ice are likely, which is more than enough to cause some problems.

There are indications that the precipitation will taper off or end for a time after 6 pm as a dry slot moves through the region. This will be short-lived, however.

Additionally, the winds will increase during the later part of the afternoon. Higher elevations will have the greatest wind potential, with some locations gusting as high as 50 mph or more. Lower elevations will see gusts more in line with 35 to 45 mph.

Combined with the ice, this could be enough to bring down some weaker tree limbs, resulting in sporadic power outages.

Tuesday Evening: Mix Gradually Turns to Rain

Precipitation will quickly move back into the region this evening if it does in fact end at all.

There are some indications that a band of heavier precipitation will move across the Finger Lakes, lasting an hour or so in any single location.

Light to moderate precipitation will persist outside of the potential for this heavier band.

The precipitation will remain an icy mix of sleet, freezing rain and some additional snow through the evening hours. Temperatures will slowly work their way above freezing,

Temperatures will slowly work their way above freezing, turning the precipitation to plain rain. This will happen first across western New York and the western Finger Lakes, then across the northern Finger Lakes, and finally across the southern and eastern portions of the region. Some of these areas may not see much rain at all before precipitation tapers to just a few scattered showers.

Some of these areas may not see much rain at all before precipitation tapers to just a few scattered showers.

The wind will continue to be strong through the overnight hours before letting up by Wednesday morning.

Wednesday should be primarily dry with temperatures continuing to push upwards with highs well into the 40s.
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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.