Lake Effect Snow event details

finger lakes weather forecast snow blowing snow winter storm warning winter weather advisory snow map
Winter Storm Warnings (pink) and Winter Weather Advisories (purple) are in effect for portions of the Finger Lakes with the threat of snow, strong winds, and cold temperatures.

What you need to know

Cold air is working into the Finger Lakes Wednesday morning behind low pressure now located over New England.

There are a few flurries about the region this morning, but temperatures are not yet cold enough to support true lake effect snow.

Through the morning and afternoon, snow will be limited across the Finger Lakes. It will be windy with gusts to 40 mph, and temperatures will retreat into the upper 20s and low 30s.

The lake effect snow event will begin in earnest tonight as moisture and falling temperatures result in widespread snow south of Lake Ontario. Conditions should deteriorate between 6-9 PM tonight.

Steady snow will fall through the overnight and into Thursday. This snow will be heaviest near Lake Ontario, east of Cayuga Lake, and in higher elevations such as the Bristol Hills.

It will not be until Thursday afternoon that snow begins to shrink in coverage area and decrease in intensity. However, lighter steady snow will likely continue for areas east of Cayuga Lake into the overnight hours, producing a few additional inches. Flurries could linger into the midday hours Friday.

finger lakes weather snow accumulation map lake effect snow january 10 2019
My snow map was updated slightly Wednesday morning with higher amounts for Wayne County and some higher elevations. Click the map to enlarge.

Total accumulations will vary greatly across the region. I’ve made a few minor adjustments to my snow map, namely increasing amounts across Wayne County with a slight increase in the higher elevations south of Canandaigua and west of Ithaca.

As is typical in lake effect events, the Southern Tier will see very minor impacts.

It will be difficult to tell how much has fallen because of the strong winds. The winds will cause significant blowing and drifting, making travel in some open areas very difficult.

Commute Details

Wednesday Afternoon/Evening

 Low Impacts- Most of today’s commute should be trouble free with little in the way of snow before 6-9 pm.

Thursday Morning

High Impacts- Travel will be very difficult on open rural roads. Major roads will be sloppy, especially in areas prone to drifting. Roads in Wayne, Cayuga, Onondaga and parts of Cortland, Tompkins, and Monroe counties will also be difficult to traverse. Blowing snow will create near zero visibility in open areas.

Thursday Afternoon/Evening

Medium Impacts- Blowing snow will continue to cause areas of low visibility and difficult travel even where the snow has stopped. Messy roads will continue across Wayne, Cayuga, Onondaga, Cortland, and Tompkins county, where snow will continue to fall.

Friday Morning

 Slight Impact- Open rural areas will continue to experience blowing and drifting, though winds will be decreasing. Light snow will continue to fall in the vicinity of Cayuga Lake, including in and around Ithaca. Very cold temperatures will decrease the effectiveness of road salt.

Wind Chills

In addition to the snow and wind, it will be increasingly cold.

Temperatures will fall into the low 20s Wednesday night with wind chills between 5-15 degrees by Thursday morning.

During the day Thursday, temperatures will hold steady or drop slightly, hovering near 20 degrees most of the day. Wind chills will continue to be in the vicinity of 10 degrees.

By Friday morning, temperatures will retreat into the low teens. Winds will still be gusting between 25-30 mph, creating wind chills near or slightly below zero.

Wind chills during the day Friday will remain between -5 and +5 with high temperatures only in the mid and upper teens.

Weekend Storm Hype

An absurd amount of hype continues to circulate around the internet regarding a major winter storm this weekend which will put the South, Ohio Valley, and Northeast at risk.

This is one of the worst cases of hype I have seen as there is hardly any support for such an idea.

A weak to moderate strength low will cross the Tennessee Valley and exit off the coast of the Mid-Atlantic this weekend.

A small swatch of moderate snow will cross the Ohio Valley and into the Mid-Atlantic with some ice in the mountains of North Carolina.

There is virtually no chance of this system moving north along the coast as a nor’easter, despite the apocalyptic predictions.

Here in the Finger Lakes, expect a mix of sun and clouds this weekend with no precipitation. Temperatures will remain cold, with highs in the lower half of the 20s both Saturday and Sunday.

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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.

8 Responses

  1. Gail Dalmat

    Hi! In Willard, as of 2 p.m., I probably got less than two inches! Maybe only an inch and a half! And with the wind, most of it blew off of the street, my car, and the front porch. Definitely chilly, though!

  2. Susan

    Hi Drew! We are driving from ITH to SYR tonight starting around 7:00 and heading back starting at 10:30. Can you tell me how the road conditions might be? Thanks!

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Hi Susan. Roads will be getting worse as the evening goes on after 7. The trip back especially will not be very fun…give yourself plenty of extra time.

  3. Kelly Doolittle

    Hey Drew, I don’t suppose there’s any way to ditch that texting ad? I’m not a prude by any means, but when my boss walks by my cubby and sees that image (and twice! I can’t hide it while I’m reading the whole first segment of the post!) it’s a tad embarrassing 🙂 “It’s only the weather report – really!”

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Hi Kelly! Thanks for alerting me to this. Allow me to explain how the in-text (non local) ads work.

      I tell Google “Yes, place ads somewhere on my page where you think its best.” And Google does. Since Google tries to know everything, it tries to tailor the ads based on all sorts of data. So the ads you see are not the same ads anyone else sees.

      I do have a very limited amount of control on what types of ads I do *not* want to show up. I have a bunch of categories blocked by default, but also go through from time to time to review individual ads and block them. I’ll definitely be doing a review today to see if I can find the ad you are referring, but its a toss up whether I will or not.

      So….I do apologize for your embarrassment. I wish I did not have to use Google ads, but its definitely a necessary part of being able to run FLX Weather. Thanks for letting me know so I can take a look.

      • Kelly Doolitttle

        Hey, thanks, Drew 🙂 I just realized that if I just click out of the blog and then back in, the ads change, so that is actually a good and easy way for me to get out of the situation! But if you do catch that ad, you’ll see what I mean ; )

        Have a good day!

        • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

          Yes that should work. I did take a look through pages of recent ads and didn’t see anything. I took another gander at my blocked and allowed categories, too…but nothing. I’ll keep an eye out, though!

  4. Shelby

    Love that you call out unnecessary hype! Clearly there are times when it’s merited but it seems like the past decade people have forgotten that winter happens in the north! Thanks for keeping it real.