Friday the calm before the weekend wind storm

finger lakes weather forecast friday february 22 2019 weekend wind storm high wind warning watch
Friday will be a pleasant, quiet day in the Finger Lakes ahead of a prolonged severe wind event. [Photo by Gwen Moshier]

As Quiet as it Gets

Friday will be a very tranquil day across the Finger Lakes with high pressure in control and temperatures very close to normal.

Some lake effect cloud cover exists over the northern and eastern Finger Lakes this morning while the sun is shining further south and west.

The only flurries associated with the lake effect are northeast of Syracuse and well out of the Finger Lakes region.

Most of today will feature a mixture of sunshine and cloud cover. In addition to the lake effect clouds, some thin clouds will begin to work in from the south.

Temperatures are starting mostly in the 20s, which is a touch above normal for late February. Afternoon highs will reach the mid 30s, which is very close to normal.

Winds will be light today with top gusts no higher than 20 mph. These winds will mostly come from the northwest.

Meanwhile, a storm system will make its way through the southern Rockies and emerge into the southern Plains tonight.

Powerful Storm Brings Damaging Winds Sunday-Monday

That storm system will quickly move off to the northwest on Saturday and will then rapidly strengthen into a very powerful system as it moves into the Great Lakes and Canada on Sunday.

The season’s first severe weather event will unfold across the lower Mississippi Valley while a blizzard strikes the Midwest. Here in the Finger Lakes, we will see some rain and a jump in temperatures, but the wind will be the most significant aspect of this storm.

Saturday will start with a little sun filtering though a deck of thin clouds, but those clouds should thicken as the day goes on.

Temperatures will start in the teens but will be driven into the mid 40s on a strengthening south wind.

Wind gusts will first start to exceed 30 mph Saturday evening and may go over 40 mph before sunrise Sunday.

Our rain from this system will move through during the latter half of Saturday night and into early Sunday. About a half-inch of rain is expected. Temperatures will jump well into the 50s during the middle of Sunday.

The wind, rain, and warm temperatures should melt most if not all the snow and create soggy soil conditions.

South winds will gust over 40 mph Sunday morning. Some higher elevations could see gusts of 50 mph.

The wind will turn to the southwest Sunday afternoon and evening behind a cold front. For areas southeast of Geneva, winds will drop slightly with gusts of 35-45 mph.

To the west, winds will increase. Between Rochester and Buffalo, gusts over 60 mph are likely Sunday afternoon and possible into the evening and overnight as well.

Winds will slowly turn more westerly Sunday night and then northwesterly on Monday. Monday afternoon is when the winds will peak for most of the region with widespread gusts of 50 mph or greater possible.

Lake effect snow will also begin to develop southeast of Lake Ontario on Monday and could persist through Tuesday and into Wednesday with moderate accumulations for some areas. Temperatures will become rather chilly during this time as well with highs struggle to get beyond 20 degrees Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Wind gusts of 30-40 mph will persist through Monday night and Tuesday. Even Wednesday will remain breezy with gusts near 30 mph.

With the soggy soil conditions, it is likely that there will be trees and power lines knocked over. Power outages and tree damage will be possible throughout the region.

I will have wind maps and/or graphics Saturday morning. At this point, confidence is high in a meaningful wind event at least on par with last April’s wind storm.

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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.

3 Responses

  1. john


    Why does the area between Rochester and Buffalo usually have the highest forecasted winds during wind events? Is it the topography…generally flat land?



    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      The winds are highest there when it is a southwest wind, which is often the case in these scenarios. The winds roar across Lake Erie, then continue across the flat terrain. As you will see in my maps tomorrow, the highest winds will be in a direct line down the length of the Lake right from Buffalo to Rochester.

      • john

        Makes sense. Great explanation.