Small System Spreads Snow in Tonight
Winter Storm Watches are now in effect for the entire Finger Lakes and Upstate New York regions in anticipation of this weekend’s storm. But first, there is one more small system to address.
Low pressure this morning sits over the Arklatex region (where Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana intersect). This low is embedded within the southern branch of the jet stream which will carry it northeast toward the Mid-Atlantic tonight.
Out ahead of the low, skies across the Finger Lakes have been mostly clear overnight. Temperatures are starting out in the single digits as a result.
Clouds will increase this morning and into the afternoon hours, but no precipitation is expected. High temperatures will reach the mid 20s.
A few flurries will start to show up this evening after 8 pm. The snow should become a bit steadier after midnight with some additional snow showers lingering through Friday morning.
Most areas will see accumulations of an inch or less. A few higher elevations in the Southern Tier and Central New York could approach two inches.
Watch for a few slick spots early Friday morning, but for the most part, the morning commute should be fine.
Storm Details Starting to Evolve
Energy from a large storm system just off the coast of the Western United States is beginning to spill onshore into California this morning.
This energy will cross the Rocky Mountains and spawn a new area of low pressure over Texas. This low will rapidly strengthen as it tracks across the Arklatex and to the northeast on a similar path as Thursday’s system.
Eventually, the system will merge with a second piece of energy in the northern branch of the jet stream. This merger, along with other complex atmospheric dynamics, will result in a very strong storm system.
At this point, there have been days worth of consistency in the models showing significant snow in the Finger Lakes. While details still vary from model to model and model run to model run, the picture is beginning to take shape.
Snow should begin sometime in the early afternoon hours Saturday with an initial area of light snow. By Saturday evening, conditions will go downhill as the low approaches and strengthens. Heavy snow will continue through Saturday night and into Sunday morning.
By Sunday afternoon, the widespread snow should end, but a spray of lake effect south of Lake Ontario will be possible. It will also become extremely cold and windy, with temperatures in the single digits and wind chills as low as -15 degrees.
Strong winds, lake effect, and bitter cold will continue into Monday. Road salt will be ineffective due to the coldness and drifting snow will continue to cause significant travel issues at least in rural areas.
Winds and lake effect will diminish Monday night as high pressure moves in for Tuesday.
Schedule of Updates
Given the consistency in the models and the arrival of the storm system in the Pacific, it is my hope to have a first snow map tonight.
I will be hosting a live video Q&A at 8 PM. This will be hosted on Facebook but embedded here on FLXweather.com as a blog post. If all goes according to plan today, I will reveal my snow map during that video session.
Friday morning, I will have a regularly scheduled blog post outlining more of the storm details. If I do not make a snow map today, I will likely have one Friday morning.
Friday evening, I will again host a live Q&A video session with any additional updates. If I make a map today, I may choose to make some small adjustments which I would present during this broadcast.
Saturday will either have an additional morning blog post, or another live video session during the early afternoon, or both. My update plans for Sunday are uncertain.
All throughout this time, please feel free to message or email me with your questions. Accessibility is one of the three core values of Finger Lakes Weather so I am more than happy to give you the specific details you need to remain safe during this storm. Please do not ask for specific snow amounts until after I have a snow map published.
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