Focus turns to snow squalls behind cold front

finger lakes weather forecast tuesday december 10 2019 cold front lake effect snow squall
A cold front will move through today, ending our thaw and bringing snow squalls into the area late Tuesday and again late Wednesday. [Photo by Nancy McCraine]

Two Periods of Snow Squalls

Temperatures Tuesday are starting well in the 40s, but wintry weather is back on the doorstep following the passing of a cold front this morning.

For this morning, expect cloudy skies with a stray shower here and there. Temperatures will remain about where they are for a couple hours before the cold front passes through. A slow but steady drop in temperature is expected from there.

Even after the cold front first passes, precipitation should still be rather limited. Snow showers will become more common by the late afternoon with some localized squally conditions expected by the evening commute.

finger lakes weather what is a snow squall warning
Snow Squall Warnings are a new alert that have been issued for the last couple of winters. They identify areas of dangerous travel conditions due to intense snow squalls with near-zero visibility and rapidly changing road conditions.

These squalls will reduce visibility and make for some slick spots on the road. I do not expect the weather service to issue any Snow Squall Warnings for particularly dangerous snow squalls though.

Flurries and squalls will continue into the evening before tapering off after midnight. Most areas will see an inch or less of accumulation, but localized amounts to two or even three inches is not out of the question.

Temperatures will bottom out in the mid 20s Wednesday morning. A few morning flurries will be possible as winds turn to the southwest and lake effect pivots north.

From the late morning into the mid-afternoon, we should see some sunshine on Wednesday. While we enjoy the sun, a strong lake effect band will develop northeast of Lake Erie. A cold front will pick this band up and push it through the Finger Lakes from northwest to southeast between roughly 4-7 PM.

This squall will have the potential to create dangerous travel conditions with very low visibility and rapidly changing road conditions. Unlike today, I would expect Snow Squall Warnings to be necessary tomorrow.

The band should weaken slowly as it moves southeast, so areas like Ithaca and Cortland may not see conditions as bad as Rochester and Canandaigua. I will have more on this band, its expected strength, and possible timing tomorrow morning.

Another Thaw

Behind the squall, lake effect snow will set up in the Syracuse area for Wednesday night and early Thursday. That snow should lift north and dissipate by the early afternoon.

Elsewhere, quiet conditions are expected. There should be a period of sunshine again before new clouds work in from the west during the afternoon. Temperatures Thursday should just make it above 30 degrees.

South winds will develop on Thursday and strengthen Thursday night into Friday. This will hold temperatures in the mid and upper 20s Thursday night and push highs Friday into the upper 30s and low 40s.

Friday may start with a little sunshine, but clouds will thicken as the day goes on. No precipitation is expected, though.

That will move in for late Friday night and early Saturday, when rain, some heavy, will fall. Showers will linger deep into Saturday with rain showers turning back to snow showers on Sunday.

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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 four 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.

  1. Avatar
    David Seager
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    Just a suggestion: when possible, can location of the featured photo be added to the photo caption? I often see a photo of a place and think, “I wonder where that is?” Like today’s stone bridge photo, for example. Thanks.