Weekend weather complexities increase as system begins to approach

finger lakes weather forecast friday december 13 2019 clouds rain snow weekend weather
A strengthening low pressure system will lead to an increase in clouds today and a few showers late this afternoon. Saturday’s conditions will vary greatly depending on location with periods of rain turning to snow. [Photo by Gwen Moshier]

Weekend Weather System

After some areas of sunshine this morning, clouds will be on the increase today as our next weather maker approaches.

What initially looked like a straight-forward, mostly rain event has gradually been trending colder and more complex.

Low pressure will develop along the East Coast today and work its way north overnight and into Saturday, passing directly through Central New York before it heads northeast as it strengthens.

The first sign of this system will be an increase in cloud cover this morning. While some clouds are already in place across the southeastern Finger Lakes on the very outer fringe of this system, much of the region is starting sunny.

South winds increased overnight and have held temperatures in the upper 20s and low 30s. Winds will remain blustery at times today, especially over higher elevations. With the increase in clouds, much of the warming today will be driven by the wind.

Highs will range from the mid 40s along and north of I-90 to the upper 30s across portions of the Southern Tier and Central New York.

The first rain showers will arrive during the late afternoon as an initial batch of precipitation pushes through. This will clear out in the evening, but a larger area of rain will be moving in for the overnight hours.

Saturday morning, the region will be split as the low moves overhead. Near and underneath the low, precipitation should taper off to a few showers, or end altogether. To the west of the low, a band of heavier rain will develop. This heavier band is most likely north and west of Keuka Lake.

As we head into the afternoon, the low will pull away to the east. Heavier precipitation will come east as well, and so too will colder air.

Rain will turn to snow from west to east during the late afternoon and evening and will come down hard at times. Snowfall rates over an inch an hour are possible, especially north and west of a Wellsville-Penn Yan-Syracuse line. These heavy snow rates will move northeast through that region between about 5-10 PM Saturday.

With marginal temperatures in the low and mid 30s, this is bound to be a wet, heavy snow that will not accumulate as fast as fluffy, light lake effect type snow. Still, several inches are likely for the northwestern Finger Lakes (as described above) with lesser amounts to the southeast.

The steady snow will end between midnight and dawn Sunday, but some limited lake effect will develop quickly in its wake. This snow will be most likely across Wayne, northern Cayuga, and Onondaga county, and across portions of the Southern Tier.

Accumulations locally will be minor, but greater snow amounts will be found north of Syracuse into Oswego county.

Sunday will otherwise be cloudy and windy with frequent gusts of 30-40 mph from the west and northwest.

A Look at Next Week

Lake effect snow may sink back south into the northeastern Finger Lakes Sunday night but should dissipate Monday morning.

This will give us a brief window of calm weather before the next system rolls in late Monday.

This system is still too far out to determine what we will see, but all modes of precipitation are possible. A scenario where we start as snow, turn to ice, and end as rain is certainly in play and could impact Tuesday morning’s commute.

Behind this system, cooler air will once more work back into the region. Lake effect snow looks likely Wednesday and possibly Thursday, though the favored locations are still uncertain this far out.

There will also be a chance for a more widespread light snow late in the week, but once more, uncertainty remains high.

Temperatures do generally look to be sticking near normal for the foreseeable future, with no multi-day thaws or deep freezes showing between now and Christmas.

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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.