Increasing winds Wednesday keep travel conditions dangerous

finger lakes weather forecast snow blizzard 2017 wind gust blowing snow drifting dangerous travel
While only light snow will fall today, increasing winds will extend the impact of the blizzard.

Near blizzard conditions will persist through Wednesday afternoon, even though additional snow accumulations will be minor.

Dangerous Conditions Persist

The Finger Lakes region will continue to experience hazardous weather conditions on Wednesday as the blizzard only slowly winds down.

The center of the storm itself is weakening over Maine this morning as dry air wraps into the east side of the storm, cutting off its fuel supply of the Atlantic Ocean. However, there is still plenty of moisture on the back side of this system over Canada and the Finger Lakes region.

Generally light snow, with a few heavier bands, will persist today across the Finger Lakes. The snow will be less the further southwest you go and should end by this afternoon for areas such as Bath and Dansville. Further north and east, snow will continue into the evening hours.

The bigger problem today will be the wind. Strong gusts will increase this morning before peaking this afternoon. Wind gusts over 40 mph will be commonplace, especially over higher elevations.

This will create dangerously low visibility with whiteout conditions likely. Blowing and drifting snow will make it very difficult for road crews to clear the snow. Since the snow is light in nature, it will blow around easily.

Some areas remain under travel restrictions this morning. Continue to check your local sources for the latest information on those restrictions. If you must travel today, use caution, turn on your head lights, and take it slow.

The wind will also combine with high temperatures barely above 20 degrees today to produce wind chills only a few degrees above 0.

Thursday and Friday Weather

Conditions will improve somewhat for Thursday, but gusty winds will still cause areas of reduced visibility and drifting snow. Wind gusts will likely range between 30 and 40 mph.

Some light lake effect snow will also linger across the areas between Ithaca and Syracuse, mostly during the morning hours.

Elsewhere, Thursday will have a mix of sun and clouds. Temperatures will climb to around 30 degrees during the afternoon.

Finally, by Friday, conditions will greatly improve across the region.

Much of Friday will be bright and sunny. Winds will be drastically less, with top gusts under 20 mph.

Temperatures will also climb back above freezing, with highs in the mid and upper 30s. With all of those factors combined, the biggest concern for travelers on Friday will be the blinding sunshine reflecting off the fresh snow.

What Happened to Spring?

It can be hard to believe temperatures were in the 60s and 70s just a couple of weeks ago. I have been asked many times if this storm was winter’s last hurrah.

While it is of course impossible to tell whether or not another big storm will come, it does not look like spring is in a hurry to return to the Finger Lakes.

Temperatures are expected to be below normal for the remainder of March and possibly into early April.

At this early stage, the middle of April is looking quite warm before a more average end to the month.

Those looking for spring will likely have to wait at least a few more weeks before we get back into a consistent warm pattern.

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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.

2 Responses

  1. Linda and Philip Fox

    Thank you once again. We have about 16″ at our place in Penn Yan. It’s hard to be accurate because of drifting.

  2. […] FLX Weather Meteorologist Drew Montreuil outlined the Wednesday forecast in his morning update. […]