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