Frigid air descends on the Finger Lakes

finger lakes weather forecast tuesday december 26 2017 cold arctic lake effect wind chill
Temperatures will continue to get colder in the Finger Lakes over the next couple of days.

Arctic Blast

The Finger Lakes will be subject to the coldest air of the season thus far as temperatures continue to get colder through Thursday.

An arctic high pressure system has moved into the Midwest and will only slowly move east over the next couple of days.

A steady stream of cold air will rotate clockwise around this high pressure system into the Finger Lakes.

Many areas are starting Tuesday in the low teens and single digits. Temperatures will only rise to the mid and upper teens for highs this afternoon.

Winds will continue to gust between 30-40 mph, keeping wind chills in the -5 to + 5 range.

Most areas will drop into the single digits tonight with a few of the colder outlying areas slipping below zero. With winds continuing to gust to 25 mph, wind chill values will drop well below zero.

Wind chills Wednesday will stay near or below zero throughout the day with gusts of 25-30 mph and daytime highs struggling to reach the low teens.

Lake effect clouds Wednesday night into Thursday will keep temperatures above zero, but out subzero morning lows are likely outside of the lake effect.

Daytime highs Thursday will be frigid, with most areas failing to even reach 10 degrees. Winds will continue to gust to or over 30 mph, especially over the eastern Finger Lakes, keeping wind chills well below zero.

Wind Chill Advisories are in place for Tompkins, Cortland, Southern Cayuga, and Onondaga counties from Tuesday night through Thursday for windchills as low as -25. Frostbite is possible in under 30 minutes with wind chills that cold.

Lake Effect Snow

There will also be lake effect snow to contend with across parts of the region, especially Wednesday into early Thursday.

For Tuesday, west-northwest winds will keep the lake snows primarily out of the Finger Lakes. A few squalls off of Lake Erie may make it into the Southern Tier and Southern Finger Lakes at times, but with only minimal accumulations.

Winds become more northerly early Wednesday morning, sending the Lake Ontario band into the northern and eastern Finger Lakes.

By dawn Wednesday, a narrow band of heavy snow will extend from Wayne County to Onondaga County. This band will continue to drop south Wednesday morning but will weaken as it impacts areas such as Geneva, Cortland, and even Ithaca.

The lake effect should reorganize early Wednesday afternoon back north across Wayne, Cayuga, and Onondaga County. Again, this band will drop south Wednesday night and weaken.

A few streamers of lake effect will persist into Thursday morning. Quite honestly though, it will be so cold, that snowflake growth will be minimal and what does fall will not accumulate much. Still, with the cold temperatures, whatever does fall will be hard to melt on the roads, leading to some slick spots.

Several inches of snow will be possible this week near Lake Ontario and towards Syracuse, but most other areas will see little accumulation.

A more widespread snow will be possible on Saturday, along with a brief “warm” up into the 20s. More details on this later in the week.

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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.

  1. […] FLX Weather Meteorologist Drew Montreuil put a little more context behind the cold weather in his update on Tuesday morning. […]