Strong Winter Storm This Weekend: Snow Map, Details

finger lakes weather forecast snow total map saturday january 19-sunday january 20 snow storm
A major snow storm will impact the Finger Lakes Saturday into early Sunday. Many areas will see around or just over 20 inches of snow.

Winter Storm Details

A high impact winter storm will slam the Finger Lakes region this weekend and into Monday with heavy snow, high winds, and frigid temperatures.

When will the snow start? End?

Snow will move into the Finger Lakes during the midday hours on Saturday. The snow will arrive from southwest to northeast.

A couple hours of light snow are likely before the intensity begins to ramp up during the latter part of the afternoon.

By the evening hours, heavy snow will be falling and will continue into the early morning hours Sunday. Snowfall rates of 1-3 inches per hour will be common.

The widespread, heavy snow will end shortly after sunrise Sunday morning, but a spray of lake effect flurries and squalls will keep the snow falling at a lighter rate.

Lake effect will persist through Sunday, Sunday night, and into Monday morning. Finally, Monday afternoon, the snow should end.

How much will fall?

During the storm, I expect most, if not all the Finger Lakes to see at least 16 inches of snow. Many areas will see 20-24 inches, particularly near Lake Ontario and in a stripe from the central Southern Tier, through the eastern Finger Lakes, and into Central New York.

With any major winter storm, there are local variations due to small micro-bands that set up and produce even more snow. Therefore, I do think a few isolated places could approach 30 inches with this storm.

Likewise, there are bound to be a few places that under-perform a bit. Such is the nature of large, powerful storm systems. They are not nearly as neat and uniform as snow maps make them seem.

It will be very difficult to measure the snow as winds will increase on Sunday. The snow will be very light and fluffy, so it will be easily blown around.

I am aware that these amounts are higher than other local predictions. Since this is a no-hype guaranteed forecast, my forecast is based completely on how I think the storm will evolve. With our storm in November, my predictions were higher than other local forecasters…and they still ended up being a bit too low. Whether that is the case this time or not remains to be seen.

Other Hazards

Temperatures will be cold during the storm and frigid as we transition to lake effect snow.

Expect mid teens Saturday afternoon dropping to the low teens by Sunday morning. Temperatures will continue to drop Sunday, ending up in the single digits Sunday afternoon and below zero Sunday night into Monday morning.

High temperatures on Monday will struggle to get beyond 5 degrees.

Winds will gust over 30 mph starting on Sunday and could approach 40 mph on Monday. These strong winds will cause white out conditions, very large snow drifts, and will make some rural roads nearly impassible.

The combination of the wind and cold temperatures will also produce dangerous wind chills. The coldest wind chills will be early Monday morning. Wind chills of -20 to -30 degrees will be possible, especially over higher elevations through the Southern Tier and Central New York.

Frostbite can occur in as little as 15-20 minutes with wind chills that low. This could pose a significant risk should travelers end up in a ditch, both to themselves and those working to get them unstuck.

Some sporadic power outages may be possible, but since the snow will be light and fluffy, this should be an isolated and not widespread occurrence.

What to Expect from FLX Weather

My goal is to have the most comprehensive and personalized coverage of this winter storm.

I will be hosting another live video session this evening around 8 PM to answer your questions and relay any new information that has come in.

You can also send me your questions at any time via email, commenting below, or Facebook Messenger.

Your donations are tremendously needed to keep Finger Lakes Weather running. This is a full-time operation for me, which allows me to respond to your questions, typically within moments. Since I do not charge for my services, I need your support.

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Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
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 three young boys and also run a goat milk soap business, Ye Olde Goat Cart. When not working or playing with the boys, he is probably out for a run through the countryside.

26 Responses

  1. Ally
    |

    Hi Drew,
    I’m planning to drive from long island/NYC to Ithaca tomorrow (Monday). Would leaving in the morning be problematic—should I leave in the afternoon instead? Thank you!

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      |

      Afternoon gives time for the lake effect to diminish and extra time for clean up, so it is better yeah.

  2. Geoff Heath
    |

    I see no comment on wind direction. I have a boat in the water in Watkins Glen and knowing where it’s going to blow from would be helpful.

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      |

      Will start from the east and northeast today…then will swing to north and northwest Sunday where it will reiman through Monday.

  3. Ted Schiele
    |

    Any Saturday changes in your forecast, Drew?

  4. Tara Riley
    |

    Thanks for your comments. I need to be in Ithaca Tuesday morning, and am packing up right now, because it sounds like the last window for safe driving. Stay safe, everyone out there!

  5. Tara Riley
    |

    Hello Drew! I live in Ithaca, but drove to Baltimore earlier in the week for a conference. My original plan was to drive back Sunday shortly after lunch, getting back at dinner time. That was before the storm forecast. Should I just wait until Monday morning? With the cold temps, will that be any better? Thanks for any advice!

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      |

      Monday should be better than Sunday about until you get to New York…then, there will not be a huge difference between late Sunday and early Monday.

  6. john
    |

    You seem confident of higher totals than most of the other weather people. What’s the “science” behind that?

  7. john
    |

    Drew:

    Has the storm track trended at all today? Further south? Further north? I know that a slight change in the track can mean less or more snow for us. Thanks. John B. in Syracuse

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      |

      Nope it seems on track. I’m not making any adjustments to my map.

      • john
        |

        You seem confident of higher totals than most of the other weather people. What’s the “science” behind that?

        • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
          Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
          |

          Fair question. The science is that I actually do science….making hypotheses and testing them and using the results for future tests. In this case…my forecast incorporates my experience with not only major storms, but also day to day forecasting and an understanding of weather modeling, where is is strong, where it is weak, and not being held hostage by it. So many (*not all*) meteorologists do nothing but regurgitate model projections, chasing them to and fro with every variation they show. I use models…but I let them chase me. Meteorologists should be in charge…not the models. So while others keep using models that fail time after time, I will stick with my experience, models that actually do a decent job, and make 1 single forecast that I feel good about.

        • john
          |

          Drew:
          Maybe I didn’t word my question correctly. Meant absolutely no disrespect. Your gut tells you that we will get a load of snow out of this system. Is there something in the numbers right now….a past history of similar storms…something that sticks out that has your totals higher? A hunch? What about this storm has you bullish?
          Thanks.

        • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
          Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
          |

          No offense taken at all 🙂 Early on…days ago…the Euro was showing some real extreme snow…35-40+ inches. The ensembles were more…modest. I expected all models, the Euro included, to shift southeast a few days ago, and they did. I then expected them to come back north, and they did again. So, based on the early showings from the Euro, the ensembles, the models behaving how I expected them to, and a bit of that gut-feeling experience mixed in….I think a lot of our area gets 20″+. Some of the lesser models are more conservative and/or are still bouncing all over. While I haven’t seen other forecasts other than the NWS which pops up in my Facebook (and who I GREATLY respect), people tell me I am higher (as I was in November, too) and I suspect their model chasing tendencies are why. Now…I might be wrong. But, this is science, and if I am, it will be a tremendous opportunity to learn. And if I am right, then I will still be able to learn more from this event for the next storm, whenever that may be.

        • john
          |

          Drew:
          Ok. Gotcha. I’m curious to see if the track trends a bit to the north in the next 18 hours. I remember a storm, maybe 2-3 years ago, with a track similar to the current one. 12 hours before it was due to hit, you were the first to report a NW shift. You appropriately bumped up your totals and you nailed it. Thanks for sharing. JB in Syr

  8. Cassandra
    |

    Just FYI, the donation link is not smartphone friendly (iPhone).

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      |

      If you tried just now…try again. I literally just ran a small update moments before your comment, so that may have interfered. It should work on all devices.

  9. Langburn
    |

    Hi, Drew. You are busy now, so I can wait for an answer until after this storm event. But, I’ve been wondering: what do you think of this prediction for remainder of the the season?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/01/15/polar-vortex-has-fractured-eastern-us-faces-punishing-stretch-winter-weather-just-underway/?utm_term=.0dcc5b362fe8

  10. Jane Schantz
    |

    Thanks Drew! Have you ever considered posting testimonials by supporters as a form of advertising? If you want to publish this testimonial, with or without my name, you are welcome:

    I love Drew’s dedication to accurate, no-hype local forecasting, as well as supporting a local business. We are lucky to have such a high quality service available. Although my monthly donation is small, it feels good to make it and I always hope lots of other people are doing the same so it can add up to a good living for Drew. That’s what I believe in. Think global, act local!

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      |

      Thanks, Jane! I have thought of that idea and have it on my list of things to do. Thanks for the idea and great testimonial!

  11. Ellen
    |

    Supposed to travel to Toronto returning Monday, is there hope to go safely if I leave very early Sat and return on Monday? Concerned about the ice on roads on Monday. Thanks.

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      |

      Leaving very early Saturday is a good plan. Roads are going to be tricky Monday with the wind and cold temperature rendering road salt in effective. Stick to the main roads, go slow, and give yourself plenty of time and it should be doable.

  12. Judy Roberts
    |

    Hello Drew! I am hoping to travel from Ithaca to Syracuse this afternoon with my dog for an agility trial. I was planning on staying overnight and trialing tomorrow, heading home to Ithaca from Syracuse around 2pm. In normal conditions this trip takes me about an hour and a half. I’m a read chicken when it comes to driving in a blizzard. Do you think I could beat the storm doing this? Thank you for any input!

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      |

      Leaving Syracuse at 2 PM will likely put you in some light to moderate snow, especially as you get back towards Ithaca. I expect roads will be just starting to get a bit messy…so it may take a bit extra time. If you can leave at, say, noon….that would put you ahead of most of the storm with just light snow starting.