Briefly warm Tuesday before prolonged wind, lake effect snow event

finger lakes weather forecast tuesday january 8 2019 lake effect snow wind
Icy conditions this morning will improve as temperatures push into the 40s, but a prolonged wind and lake effect snow event will begin tonight. [Photo by Gwen Moshier]

Icy Start Turns Nice

After a night of sleet and freezing rain, warm air is working into the Finger Lakes.

Already this morning, temperatures are well into the 40s near and west of Rochester. However, much of the southern and eastern Finger Lakes remain near 32 degrees, resulting in continued icy conditions.

Untreated surfaces are extremely slick and will remain so until treated or temperatures rise later this morning.

Be especially cautious on sidewalks, driveways, decks, and other such surfaces.

By the early afternoon, 40s should become widespread across the Finger Lakes. A few breaks of sun may poke out between clouds. Nothing more than a scattered rain shower is expected.

Rain will move back in around sunset as low pressure moves towards the region. Periods of rain will persist through the evening.

Around midnight, the low will be centered over eastern Lake Ontario and winds will turn to the northwest and increase across the Finger Lakes.

This will be the start of a change to cold, windy, snowy weather that will last the rest of the week.

Prolonged Lake Effect Snow

finger lakes weather snow accumulation map lake effect snow janaury 9-11 2019
Lake effect snow will develop early Wednesday morning and continue at least into Friday morning. Accumulations will vary greatly by location. Click the map to enlarge.

Rain will turn to snow over higher elevations first, but most areas should be all snow by Wednesday morning.

Winds will continue to increase with gusts over 40 mph possible after the sun rises.

A spray of flurries and squalls will be widespread across the area with pockets of heavier snow near Lake Ontario east of Rochester, across the eastern Finger Lakes, and in higher elevations.

Snow will persist throughout Wednesday, Wednesday night, and Thursday in many of the same areas. Some fluctuations in the position of the heaviest snow are likely, and as we head into Thursday, the snow should concentrate over the eastern Finger Lakes.

Blowing and drifting will be significant with 30-40 mph winds constant right into Thursday night. This will cause poor visibility and difficult travel conditions.

Total snow accumulations through Friday morning will vary greatly. Areas that typically see heavy snow amounts on northwest winds could see a foot or even more. Meanwhile, areas that are less prone to lake effect may only see an inch or two.

Lake effect may linger through Friday as well with an additional inch or so falling, but this remains uncertain.

Cold Temperatures, Wind Chills

In addition to the snow will be a shot of cold air and frigid wind chills.

Temperatures will fall steadily with highs Wednesday in the low 30s, Thursday in the low 20s, and Friday in the mid teens.

Morning lows Friday will reach the single digits for many areas. With winds still gusting to 30 mph, wind chills will drop to or below zero degrees.

Single digit wind chills are likely throughout the day Thursday and Friday.

Temperatures Saturday will be around 20 degrees with upper 20s to near 30 degrees on Sunday.

There has been a lot of chatter about a storm this weekend as well. This looks very premature and I see little chance for even light to moderate snow. At this time, worries about the weekend can be dismissed.

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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.