Final cold front Wednesday releases arctic air

finger lakes weather forecast wednesday january 30 2019 wind chill warning squall cold front
Bitter cold and strong winds will move into the Finger Lakes behind a cold front Wednesday morning. Wind Chill Warnings are in effect for the entire region. [Photo by Drew Montreuil]

A shot of snow, then windy and frigid

The final in a series of recent cold fronts will move through the Finger Lakes this morning, opening the floodgates to a truly arctic air mass.

As this front slides through, a few bursts of snow are expected to develop. These will be most likely over eastern areas, where visibilities will drop, and road conditions will change quickly.

Look for these snow bursts around 10 am from Rochester to Elmira, and then between 11 am-Noon along the I-81 Corridor.

These should become better organized into squalls further east.

Behind the front, west-southwest winds will significantly increase with gusts of 35-45 mph.

Temperatures will only rise a couple degrees this morning into the mid single digits before dropping to near or below 0 degrees this afternoon.

Wind chills will drop to -20 degrees by the mid afternoon and will continue to fall from there.

By Thursday morning, temperatures will range from the negative single digits across the north to the negative teens in the Southern Tier. Wind chills will range from -20 to -35 degrees. These are dangerous wind chills capable of causing frostbite in under 15 minutes.

Winds will continue to gust over 30 mph throughout Thursday. With highs in the single digits above zero, wind chills will remain in the negative teens.

The wind will also cause areas of blowing snow. With the frigid temperatures, it will be difficult to impossible for road crews to keep areas prone to drifting clear. Additional snowfall, however, is not expected with skies remaining generally clear.

With the threats to health that the cold poses and the risk for messy roads, if travel can be avoided, it would not be a bad idea to do so.

And Then, Suddenly Mild

Thankfully, the extreme cold will not linger too long across the Finger Lakes.

In fact, a rather significant warm up is in store for the start of February.

Friday morning’s temperatures will be similar to Thursday morning’s, with widespread subzero readings. Winds will be lighter, so wind chills will be in the -15 to -25 degree range.

High temperatures Friday will push into the teens.

High pressure will then build off the southeast coast of the US while a strong storm system develops over the northern Plains and Midwest. These two will both push warm air north.

Saturday should push into the 30s, while Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday next week should all at least reach 40 degrees. Near record warmth well into the 50s may even be possible, but it is too early to count on that, yet.

On the other side of this warm up, temperatures look to be generally near normal into the middle of February.

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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.