Bitter Cold Winds
Strong winds will continue to buffet the Finger Lakes throughout Friday and Saturday, creating poor travel and dangerous wind chills.
Wind chill readings this morning are being reported between -20 and -30 degrees across the region, as was expected.
With temperatures hovering near 0 degrees today, there will be little change in the wind chill, especially since winds should increase slightly this afternoon.
Top gusts today will generally be in the 35 to 40 mph range. Winds will be from the west-northwest.
With wind chills this cold, frostbite and hypothermia are serious risks. Frostbite will be possible on exposed skin in 15 minutes or less.
The wind will also blow the snow that fell yesterday around. Significant drifting and poor visibilities are likely, especially in rural areas.
Roads will also stay slick as rock salt is not as effective in cold temperatures.
If you must travel today, pack some blankets and high energy food (such as granola bars) and make sure your cell phone is charged.
Limit your time outside and make sure to dress in layers and cover all exposed skin.
Temperatures will fall back below zero tonight, with most places falling to roughly -5 degrees. The winds will only let up slightly, keeping wind chills in the same dangerous territory.
Lake Effect Snow Persists
Lake effect snow will also persist on the west-northwest flow.
The widespread lake effect Thursday afternoon pivoted north and consolidated last night. Currently, a band of snow extends across Wayne, northern Cayuga, and into Onondaga County.
These areas will continue to see persistent snow throughout the day.
Fluctuations in the intensity of the snow are likely, and the band may expand and contract at times.
Additional flurries and squalls will be intermittent further south with lighter accumulations.
In the core of the snowband, 6 or more inches will fall by Saturday morning.
Winds will become a bit more northerly on Saturday, gradually shifting the band south for a time.
Then, Saturday evening, winds will swing around to the south, carrying the lake effect out of the Finger Lakes.
Intense Cold Early Sunday, Then Warming
The actual temperature will reach its coldest Sunday morning as skies clear and winds slacken.
With the wind dying out, the wind chill will become less of a factor, despite the bitter cold temperatures.
Sunday morning lows will range from near or just below 0 degrees between Cayuga and Seneca Lake and near Lake Ontario, to as cold as -15 degrees in pockets of the Southern Tier.
However, south winds will increase and skies will be sunny for a time Sunday morning into Sunday afternoon. This will kick-start a warming trend that will break our pattern of arctic waves.
Temperatures Sunday afternoon will rise into the mid and upper teens and then into the 20s overnight.
By Monday, temperatures should rise above freezing with highs in the mid and upper 30s. Rain and snow showers will be likely.
Temperatures will remain in the 30s, and perhaps even break 40 degrees, throughout next week.
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