Snow showers Tuesday; Squalls along Arctic front Wednesday

finger lakes weather forecast tuesday november 20 2018 wednesday november 21 2018 snow squalls thanksgiving travel
Snow on Tuesday will have little impact on travel conditions, but Wednesday may be a different story as squalls move through. [Photo by Deborah Grover]

Nuisance Snow Tuesday

Small storm systems continue to move through the Finger Lakes in rapid succession.

Last night, one system clipped the southern parts of the Finger Lakes while this morning a new system is moving in from the west.

Snow will fall throughout the day today as this system moves through. The snow that falls should have little impact on travel.

Roads will remain mostly wet with temperatures climbing above freezing if not there already. High temperatures will reach the mid 30s with a few upper 30s possible.

The snow will not accumulate much with just a fresh thin coating. Some of the snow could mix with or turn to rain in typically warmer locations.

Most areas will see the snow stop by this evening’s commute. A few lake effect flurries will linger along and northeast of an eastern Wayne county to northern Cortland county line. The lake effect will not organize much until it lifts out of the Finger Lakes.

The overnight looks quiet with lows dropping back into the low 20s. Some additional snow may develop off Lake Erie for areas between Buffalo and Rochester towards dawn as southwest winds develop.

Tricky Travel on Wednesday

finger lakes weather what is a snow squall warning
The National Weather Service may need to issue its newest type of alert on Wednesday: a Snow Squall Warning. Should a warning be issued, avoid travel until the squall passes. Click the image to enlarge.

An arctic cold front will blast through the Finger Lakes on Wednesday with strong winds, snow squalls, and bitter cold air set to flood in.

Snow showers from Lake Erie will cross the region during the morning hours as winds turn towards the west. A few heavier bursts may be possible, especially for areas along and west of I-390.

I then expect heavier squalls as the front moves in during the midday and afternoon hours. These squalls will be the type that results in rapid changes in visibility and travel conditions.

Brief white out conditions will be possible, especially considering winds will gust over 30 mph. A fast inch of snow will accumulate, making roads slick. A flash of lightning or two may even be possible.

Multiple heavy squalls will be possible throughout the afternoon. They will make travel difficult. If you have travel plans in Upstate New York on Wednesday afternoon, be ready for these rapidly changing conditions. Use headlights, slow down, and pull off the road into a parking lot or other safe location if necessary.

Squalls will lessen during the late afternoon only to be replaced with some lake effect squalls both from Lake Ontario and the Georgian Bay off Lake Huron. These will be most likely between 6pm and midnight anywhere in the Finger Lakes.

Deep Winter Cold

By Thanksgiving morning, the snow should have tapered to just a few flurries south of Lake Ontario. Winds look favorable for some enhancement off Cayuga Lake, though, so locally heavier snow will be possible through Thursday morning in and around Ithaca.

Morning lows Thursday will be in the low and mid teens where lake effect lingers with single digits across the Southern Tier. Wind chills will range from near 0 to -10 degrees.

Sunshine will be likely on Thursday outside of any lingering lake effect clouds. Winds will gradually lessen over the course of the day. However, with high temperatures struggling to even get to 20 degrees, wind chills will remain in the single digits or lower.

Early morning Black Friday shopping will turn bitterly cold after a night of mostly clear skies.

As is typical in these scenarios, a wide range of temperatures will develop across the Finger Lakes. Morning lows right along the shores of both the Finger Lakes and Lake Ontario will range from +5 to +10 degrees. Most of the region will end up a few degrees on either side of 0 degrees. Temperatures could drop as low as -10 to -15 degrees in some valley locations of the Southern Tier.

A south wind will increase on Friday and sunshine will be abundant. This will help temperatures rebound with most areas in the upper 20s.

Low and mid 40s are likely this weekend as a moderate strength storm system rolls in. Precipitation from this event looks to be just rain.

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Winter Photos Needed

With the early onset of the snow, it is time again to make a call for weather pictures! Pictures from winter are needed for the daily blog posts. All types of winter weather are needed, from sunshine to ice and snow. Even pictures where there is no snow on the ground are needed.

Click here for more information on submitting your photos.

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.

11 Responses

  1. Carol McAmis

    Hi, Drew. We are heading to Amherst, MA, tomorrow morning from Ithaca via 79 and 88 to Albany. How does travel in NY lookalong that route from around 7 A.M.? It looks like once we get to Albany the driving should be fine. Thanks for any insights you can give me! I so appreciate your hard work on behalf of everyone in the Finger Lakes region. Best, Carol McAmis

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Hi Carol! You should not have any travel issues if you leave around 7am…that should be well ahead of the snow. Safe travels!

  2. Nathan Zimmerman

    Coming in from Buffalo to Tyrone tomorrow…it looks like the morning may be the best time to travel. We usually travel from Batavia to Mt. Morris, then through Bath via the I-390 and I-86 corridor. Do you concur?

    Thanks for your great work.

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Actually in WNY there will be lake effect to deal with in the morning…so your best window may actually be during afternoon, say leaving Buffalo around 1 or 2 and coming in behind the squalls over the Finger Lakes.

      Otherwise…It will be snowing in Buffalo before dawn, but if you leave before 7 or 8am, you should drive out of it quickly and have pretty smooth sailing out ahead of the squalls.

      • Nathan Zimmerman

        Thanks Drew…have a Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  3. Barbara

    Happy Thanksgiving to you & your clan, Drew!
    I am grateful for your weather forecasting acumen!!
    And wonder if you have any meteorological insights for best/safest times – tomorrow, 11/21 – to drive to West Stockbridge, MA from Ithaca, NY and/or Burlington, VT…
    I appreciate any thoughts!

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Hi Barbara! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours as well!

      Travel will be trickiest in the afternoon hours, so if you can get on the roads in the morning, that would be best. Squalls should be in the Albany area roughly around 3 pm. To the north and west, up to a couple hours earlier….to the south and east, up to a couple hours later.

      • Barbara

        Thank you! If there hasnt been any change since this morning, it still looks like i should be able to thread the needle as long as i get out & there before the afternoon?

        • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

          That should still be the case, yes.

  4. Rebecca Lesses

    Hi Drew –

    I’ll be driving from Ithaca to Boston tomorrow, leaving in the morning. How far east will these weather conditions reach (the intense squalls )?


    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      It looks, currently, like squalls will be possible into at least eastern NY. The squalls in New England may stay north in Vermont and New Hampshire until late in the day when they could slide down into Boston. The earlier you can travel tomorrow, the less your chance of encountering a squall. Roughly, they should be in the Albany area around 3 pm and Boston (if they make it) around 6 or 7 pm.