Cold air quietly begins its invasion

finger lakes weather forecast thursday november 8 2018 cloudy cool friday storm weekend lake effect
Clouds have returned to the Finger Lakes though no precipitation is expected today. Temperatures will be 10-15 degrees cooler than yesterday. [Photo by Meteorologist Drew Montreuil]

Cloudy and cool, but dry

Cold air has begun to infiltrate the Finger Lakes, sneaking in during the night with little to announce its arrival.

A tendril of the arctic high situated over the northern Plains has wrapped east into the Ohio Valley and southern Great Lakes behind Tuesday’s low pressure system.

finger lakes weather surface map thursday october 8 2018 arctic high pressure cold
A narrow piece of the arctic high pressure system over the northern Plains has extended east. This will reduce our temperatures today by 10-15 degrees compared to Wednesday. [Click map to enlarge]
West winds between the high and the lingering low have resulted in colder, moist air working in aloft. A layer of clouds has resulted and will stick with the Finger Lakes for the day today.

Despite the clouds, nothing more than a stray shower off the Great Lakes is expected.

The winds today will be much lighter than the past couple of days with top gusts around 20 mph.

With the clouds and steady stream of chilly air, temperatures today will top out in the low and mid 40s.

Winds will shift again this evening, turning to the southeast as a storm system organizes to our southwest.

This should break the cloud cover up and cut off the cold air. Overnight lows will fall back into the low and mid 30s as clouds move back in early on Friday.

Friday Storm Reinforces Cold

Precipitation should break out from southwest to northeast across the Finger Lakes during the second half of Friday morning.

Some of this precipitation may start as snow, especially over the higher elevations of the Southern Tier. Some minor accumulations may even be possible.

Most of the precipitation will fall as a steady, cold rain that lasts through the afternoon and into the evening hours.

Total precipitation amounts by the time the rain ends Friday evening should be around a half-inch, give or take a tenth of an inch or two.

High temperatures Friday will occur during the early evening when low 40s are likely. A quick turn around to cold air will occur Friday night with morning lows Saturday ranging from the upper 20s to mid 30s.

Strong west winds will blow on Saturday, bringing more cold air into the region. Daytime highs will only be a couple degrees warmer than the morning lows.

Bands of lake effect snow are likely to the east of the Great Lakes. For the Finger Lakes, this means some on and off snow bursts off Lake Erie, mostly over the southern portions of the region. Areas north of Ithaca, Penn Yan, and Dansville will see a mix of sun and clouds.

High pressure will build in Sunday, reducing most of the lake effect. A few snow showers or a couple of squalls may impact the northeaster corner of the Finger Lakes off Lake Ontario, especially early Sunday and in the evening. This snow should stay north and east of Auburn.

Temperatures Sunday will start in the 20s with highs in the mid and upper 30s. Winds will be significantly less than on Saturday.

Another Storm, More Cold

After a quiet day on Monday with a little sun and temperatures back into the mid 40s, another large storm system will take aim at the Finger Lakes.

This storm should move in on Tuesday and linger into Wednesday. There is still plenty of time for the details to be worked out, but at this time, it looks like the storm will start as some rain and perhaps end with a little snow.

Behind this system, another shot of cold air will move into the Finger Lakes. High temperatures Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday may fail to get above 35 degrees for many areas.

Needless to say, lake effect snow will be likely, though it is too early to say where or how intense.

There is some light at the end of the tunnel. While this arctic air mass has interrupted what was expected to be a mild middle of November, it may not completely replace it.

Longer range models continue to hold on to a pattern flip to above normal temperatures. Now, instead of mid-November, it looks to be the latter part of the month and extending into December.

Of course, one has to be at least somewhat skeptical of this after the drastic and complete reversal of the expected weather for the next 10 days.

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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.

3 Responses

  1. Kelly Doolittle

    Can you describe how you can tell where the owls are, John? TNX!

  2. John Gregoire

    Actually the front was presaged by a nice but short southward migration of owls as seen on radar. Started around 6 and was largely ahead of the band of wind gusts which forced us to close for safety. You can see it on this composite which is one of our best tools.

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Very neat, John! Thanks for the unique perspective!