Scattered thunderstorms Friday afternoon

finger lakes weather forecast friday august 17 2018 thunderstorms flash flooding
Locally heavy rain in afternoon thunderstorms could lead to flooding concerns. [Photo by Meteorologist Drew Montreuil]

Low Flash Flood Risk

Two batches of precipitation have already worked through the Finger Lakes, but more rain will be possible this afternoon.

The storm system responsible for the rain and thunderstorms is an area of low pressure draped across the Great Lakes. This low will track northeast today, eventually dragging a cold front through the region.

A large area of rain is on its way out this morning along a warm front. Very moist air is in place along and behind this front.

Once the steady rain departs this morning, scattered showers will be possible again later this morning and early in the afternoon. Gradually, thunderstorms will start to develop as well.

While all of the region has a chance for scattered thunderstorms this afternoon, it is the eastern Finger Lakes that could see the best chance for some strong winds or small hail with the storms. With the saturated ground, it will take less wind than normal to knock trees over.

The main concern today will be locally heavy downpours that could cause flash flooding.

Overall, the flood risk is set at Level 2- LOW today. In yesterday’s post, I had a relative minimum over the eastern Finger Lakes. Given that this now seems the most likely area for stronger storms, that area has been increased to Level 2 with the rest of the Finger Lakes.

Thunderstorms will be possible anytime from the early afternoon into the evening hours. Some areas could see multiple storms, which increases the chance for some flooding. A case could be made for a Level 3- ELEVATED risk zone, but I do not feel comfortable enough with the evolution of the day to identify an area as having that level of risk and think Level 2 is more appropriate at this time.

This will continue to be a situation to watch as the day progresses and the set up evolves.

Weekend Weather Forecast

Thunderstorms will gradually taper to rain showers overnight tonight and may linger into the early morning hours on Saturday.

Gradually, the precipitation will push southeast as dry air begins to work in.

Clouds will slowly break from north to south during the afternoon and evening, though some southern areas may remain rather cloudy throughout the day.

Temperatures on Saturday will range from the low 70s across the Southern Tier to the mid or upper 70s further north.

A north wind will blow, with the strongest gusts around 20 mph near Lake Ontario.

Sunday will have a mix of sun and clouds. No rain is expected in most of the Finger Lakes. There could be a couple of afternoon thunderstorms across the Southern Tier, near the NY/PA line. While it is uncertain if these will even develop, should they form, they could be slow moving and dump heavy rain.

High temperatures on Sunday will be in the mid and upper 70s.

Next Week Preview

The weather next week looks to have one main storm system that will impact the Finger Lakes.

While a quick moving system, it seems like it will, unfortunately, be strong and bring its own concerns.

The models have been showing a strong low pressure system passing just northwest of the region on Tuesday for a number of days now.

One of the bigger problems this system could bring would actually be wind. As I mentioned above, with the saturated ground, trees will topple with less wind than is normally necessary.

Strong lows that take this track are often responsible for high wind events in our region, especially for the western half of the area. The potential for widespread gusts of 40 mph or greater will have to be monitored.

Lows on this track are also often responsible for severe thunderstorms in the Finger Lakes, *if* a number of other factors line up. At this early stage, it is too early to tell if that will be the case and signals are mixed at this time.

Outside of this system, much of next week looks sunny and pleasant. Temperatures generally look to be in the mid and upper 70s.

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I will soon be in need of late summer and early autumn photos where the trees have not quite yet turned or are just starting to show a little color. Of course, I accept any photos of any season at any time!

Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
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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.). When not forecasting, he can be found working at the local library, making goat milk soap, running until his legs burn, or playing with his three young boys.

3 Responses

  1. Nancy
    |

    Yes, I would love to see a general map showing what you consider to be the various regions of our area that you referred to, like Eastern/western Finger Lakes, Central New York, Eastern/western Southern Tier. Sometimes I’m not sure which region I fall into!

  2. Bonnie Whitney
    |

    Could you name the locations that you call eastern Finger Lakes and western Finger lakes specially? Would be appreciated

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      |

      Don’t think of them in specifics, but generalities. The weather does not follow imaginary boundaries but works in gradients and ranges. So if stronger storms are more likely in the eastern FLX…then the further east you are, the better your chance…but it could still easily be a case where Penn Yan gets a strong storm and Ithaca doesn’t (for example). When there is a specific reason to mention specific places, I do.