Sunday Nor’easter Updates: Latest Details, First Snow Map

finger lakes weather forecast noreaster march 14 2017
While uncertainties remain, a significant snow event seems plausible for the Finger Lakes.

Uncertainties remain in the forecast, but now is the time to prepare for a significant, long duration snow.
Please click here for the Monday Morning update!

Sunday Nor’easter Weather Forecast Update

We are now less than 48 hours before a significant nor’easter begins to take shape along the east coast. There are majort sources of uncertainty still and forecast confidence remains below normal.

However, what I have seen in the forecast models and in past weather events has been enough for me to come down on the snowy, stormy side for the Finger Lakes.

At this point, the weather models as a whole are honing in on a plausible solution. Variation remains among the individual models and model ensemble members. This is common and it is unlikely that a single exact scenario will start to show all around. This is where being a meteorologist and not just someone who looks at computer generated graphics kicks in.

Storm Evolution and Time Line

I expect this to be a long duration weather event, with snow starting Monday night and continuing into the late week. The worst of the storm will be on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by areas of lake effect snow on Thursday and possibly into Friday. The lake effect behind the system will be addressed in more detail later. The remainder of this blog will focus on Tuesday and Wednesday.

A few snow showers will start to work into the Finger Lakes during the late afternoon or evening hours on Monday as the first piece of this complex system moves into the Ohio Valley. Snow will increase after midnight, but will still remain mostly light into early Tuesday.

Moderate to heavy snow will develop through Tuesday morning and persist through the day and into Tuesday night. Significant accumulations are likely by Tuesday evening.

Additional light to moderate snow will continue to fall on Wednesday as moisture on the back side of the storm continues to wrap back into the Finger Lakes. The wind will also kick up Wednesday, with the potential for gusts over 35 mph.

The snow that falls will likely be light and fluffy, so conditions with the wind on Wednesday could become quite hazardous with near blizzard conditions at times. By Wednesday evening, the storm will start to depart and lake effect will take over.

finger lakes weather forecast snow map accumulations noreaster march 14 2017
A foot or more of snow is likely across most of the Finger Lakes between Tuesday and Wednesday.

Finger Lakes Snow Accumulations

Most of the Finger Lakes has a good shot at seeing a foot or more of snow from this system.

Areas near Lake Ontario will likely see the highest amounts as the lake enhances the snow on north winds, especially Wednesday. Two feet is a real possibility in these areas.

There are a number of factors that favor high snow totals over the Finger Lakes.

First, low pressure over the Great Lakes will stall out as the nor’easter tracks along the east coast. Between these two systems, there will be a “bridge” of energy that will remain in place over the Finger Lakes for much of Tuesday and Wednesday. This will keep the snow in place and falling at a steady rate for a long duration.

Second, the atmosphere will favor large snowflake growth throughout this event. Large amounts of moisture and upward motion in the atmosphere will coincide with prime temperatures for maximum snow crystal growth. This will produce a snow that will accumulate quickly. For comparison, similar past storms with a wet, heavy snow typically only produce 6-10 inches across our region.

Lastly, with north winds over the Great Lakes, moisture will remain in place even as the storm lifts well to our northeast. This will help keep snow falling longer than usual.


This is not a slam-dunk forecast and there is still a chance for lighter snow totals across the region. The above snow map and forecast represents the most likely scenario and is what I expect will happen.

However, I would rate the chance for snow of 6 inches or less at 30%. This is quite high and represents a significant uncertainty.

Please keep that in mind and continue to monitor the forecast for updates. Given that there is real potential for significant snow and hazardous weather conditions, it may not be a bad idea to take stock of your supplies, just to make sure you have everything you need without having to leave your home for a couple days. It is better to be prepared than caught off guard.

Final Thoughts

The above forecast represents hours of work and analysis with a constant focus on my no-hype philosophy. I stress once again to keep the degree of uncertainty in mind but to take proper precautions before, during and after this storm to ensure safety. Your safety and well-being is why I do what I do.

This will be my only post today, Sunday. My next update will  come Monday morning between 7-8 am.

Please continue to share my no-hype message with your family, friends, and co-workers. I appreciate your support and reliance on my services! Thank you!

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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.

18 Responses

  1. Beth Renzetti

    1. I’m happy to see replies! 2. I have a friend driving back to NYC from Maryland on Monday afternoon….do they stand a good chance of beating the storm home?

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      1. Accessibility is one of my 3 core principles. I try to help everyone personally as best I can!
      2. Your friend should beat the storm and have no trouble from the weather.

  2. Susan

    Love your no-hype weather reports!! Question: On Wednesday morning, my husband is scheduled to fly into SYR and then drive home to ITH. Do you think this will be possible?

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Getting into Syracuse may be difficult, and then the drive will be very hard.

  3. Tim Springston

    I’ve already had a meeting cancelled for Monday night, out of “an abundance of caution”. The way I’m reading your forecast and the forcast discussion on NOAA, road conditions on Monday evening are not likely to be too bad?

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Probably not too bad, no.

  4. Pete

    Sitting in Seville, Ohio, Sun afternoon. Headed to Canandaigua Mon AM. Will wind be shifted to East by Mon AM and lessen Lake Erie lake effect on T- way?

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Yeah you shouldn’t have any problems.

      • Pete

        Thank you!! Hope we are both right!!

  5. Molly

    I’m supposed to be flying out of Syracuse to Atlanta Thursday evening. Do you think this storm will affect my travel plans or will it be tapered down by that point?

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Should be mostly tapered down by then, but we will have to see what the lake effect does after the fact.

  6. Maria

    Great! Thanks so much!

  7. Maria

    How far south and east will the storm extend?
    I am planning to drive south starting Wednesday morning so I am wondering how far I will need to get to get out of the storm.
    Thanks so much!

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      By Wednesday, once you get down into PA the snow will taper off. Still may be some, and the wind may also blow snow, but not to the same extent as up here probably.

  8. […] Published: 03/11/2017 @ 05:29 pm  |  Updated: 03/12/2017 @ 02:09 pm Accumulation outlook from […]

  9. robert champion

    nicely done

  10. Katherine Lockwood

    Thanks for your hard work and your no-hype philosophy. Is there a way to make a donation without PayPal, which I don’t use?

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Absolutely, Katherine! Shoot me an email at fingerlakesweather[at] and we can set something up. Thank you!