Break in the weather Tuesday short lived

finger lakes weather forecast cold lake effect sun icy mix freezing rain wednesday
Tuesday will be a quiet day across the Finger Lakes. After another cold start, temperatures will start to rise this afternoon and into the evening. [Photo by Amy McDonnell]

Chilly, but Quieter Tuesday

An arctic high pressure system is overhead Tuesday morning and will give the Finger Lakes a small break in the weather.

There are no active weather alerts in the region for the first time since the middle of last week. All wind chill alerts have been allowed to expire.

Temperatures are still very cold to start with most of the Southern Tier and Central New York below zero. Some lake effect clouds and a few areas of snow have kept most of the immediate Finger Lakes region just above zero degrees.

Outside of those lake effect clouds, the sun will shine this morning. Some sunshine may work into the lake effect areas as winds shift and cut off the moisture from the lakes.

By this afternoon, winds will become southerly and increase. Higher elevations could see gusts approach 30 mph this afternoon.

Thin clouds high in the atmosphere will filter the sunshine but should not completely block it out. The sun and south winds will drive temperatures upwards with low and mid 20s for highs.

Winds will continue to increase tonight and temperatures will rise more as a result. By Wednesday morning, mid and upper 20s will be widespread with some western areas approaching30 degrees.

Ice Followed by Rain, then Back to Snow

A storm system will slide in from the west Wednesday morning with a shot of warm air. Temperatures will warm above freezing aloft while the surface remains below freezing.

This is a classic icy precipitation set up, especially for the eastern Finger Lakes and Central New York.

Spotty precipitation that may have a hard time reaching the ground will move through between 5-8 am on Wednesday. This will lead to a few slick spots but will probably not produce widespread or significant ice.

During the late morning and early afternoon, there will be a better chance for steady precipitation resulting in tricky travel conditions. Areas west of Cayuga Lake may warm enough before this time to prevent more than patchy ice forming. Areas east have a better chance at seeing a glaze of ice.

The biggest threat seems to be between 10 am and 4 pm. After 2 pm, the ice should mostly be contained to untreated surfaces and higher elevations. By the late afternoon, precipitation should fall as just rain.

Temperatures will again rise during the nighttime hours, reaching a high in the low 40s for most of the Finger Lakes. Precipitation will initially taper to a few rain showers before steadier rain moves in after midnight. This steady rain will be heaviest to the east of the Finger Lakes.

Rain amounts east of Cayuga Lake could exceed a half-inch while areas to the west remain between a quarter-inch and half-inch. At this time, flooding is not expected, but it will be something to watch closely.

Cold air will move back in from west to east after midnight Wednesday night. Most areas should see snow once more by sunrise Thursday morning.

Again, eastern areas will have the best chance at some accumulation with 1-3 inches possible. Areas to the west will see a coating to an inch, maybe two over the Southern Tier.

Snow should end Thursday afternoon with another bout of 30 mph wind gusts developing behind the snow.

Lake effect snow will then take over for Friday’s weather. With west winds in place, any lake effect in the Finger Lakes will come from Lake Erie. One or more bands of light to moderate snow will extend east into the region with only a couple inches falling.

Temperatures Friday will top out in the upper teens and low 20s. Saturday morning will reach subzero temperatures across the Southern Tier with low single digits for the Finger Lakes.

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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.