Snow Report: Wednesday Night- Thursday, December 18-19, 2019

finger lakes weather snow report thursday december 19 2019

Lake effect snow will become better organized tonight and continue into the daytime hours Thursday.

WHAT

Winds will shift tonight from the west-northwest to the northwest. While only a slight change in wind direction, the shift will send a band of lake effect snow south from Lake Ontario this evening with widespread snow behind the band over the northeastern Finger Lakes.

ALERTS ACTIVE

WINTER WEATHER ADVISORIES are in effect for the following counties (listed alphabetically):
Allegany, Cayuga (ALL), Cortland, Monroe, Onondaga, Wyoming, Wayne

WHEN

A band of heavy snow will drop south off Lake Ontario this evening, beginning around 8 PM. A burst of heavy snow is likely across the northern Finger Lakes until the band moves further south and weakens. After midnight, the band should be mostly dissipated as it moves towards the areas south of Penn Yan-Ithaca.

Bands of lake effect snow will be widespread behind this initial band, especially across Wayne, Cayuga, Onondaga, and northern Cortland Counties.

A flare up of Cayuga Lake Effect Snow will be possible Thursday morning for areas just southeast of the southern tip of Cayuga Lake, including Ithaca, stretching southeast into Tioga and Broome counties.

The snow should become lighter Thursday morning and afternoon but is unlikely to completely end. Additional squalls may redevelop late Thursday and Thursday evening, mostly over the far northeastern Finger Lakes.

finger lakes weather snow map thursday december 19 2019
Lake effect snow will become better organized Wednesday night and continue into Thursday. Click to enlarge.

HOW MUCH

The highest amounts of snow will be in the favored snowbelts southeast of Lake Ontario, including the Syracuse area. Widespread amounts of 4-8 inches are likely, and locally higher amounts cannot be ruled out.

There will be a sharp gradient between moderate snow amounts and minimal amounts on the south side of the snow band. Locally higher amounts are possible if a snow band off Cayuga Lake also develops.

Outside of the typical lake effect prone areas, little to no additional snow is expected.

TEMPERATURES

For areas where snow falls overnight, temperatures are likely to stay in the teens, albeit the lower teens. Outside of the lake effect, single digits are likely overnight.

High temperatures Thursday will range through the teens.

TRAVEL IMPACTS

Within squalls and the areas of highest accumulation, moderate travel impacts are likely with snow covered roads, poor visibilities, and areas of blowing and drifting. Rural roads will be treacherous and main roads will be snow covered at times.

Outside of the lake effect, a few areas of blowing snow may create minor travel impacts.

Temperatures will be cold enough where road salt will begin to lose its effectiveness, making road treatment more difficult.

OTHER IMPACTS

Northwest winds will gust over 30 mph during squalls, greatly reducing visibility and creating areas of significant blowing and drifting. Wind speeds will slowly lessen on Thursday, but will still cause areas of blowing and drifting.

Overnight wind chill values will drop below zero and could go as low as -10 in some areas. Wind chills will be between -5 and +5 most of Thursday.

FORECAST CONFIDENCE

MEDIUM- Lake effect is inherently difficult to pinpoint, especially in cold temperatures where snow can accumulate much faster than models indicate. The position of the lake effect bands can also be uncertain, causing greater or lesser amounts than forecast, especially on the edges of the forecast zones.

The development of Cayuga Lake Effect Snow Thursday morning is uncertain. If it fails to develop, or is very brief, areas near and southeast of Ithaca will not see as much snow as shown on the map.

FUTURE SNOW OUTLOOK

Additional lake effect snow will be possible Thursday night into very early Friday.

No precipitation is expected Friday through at least Tuesday and probably Wednesday next week.

FUTURE UPDATES

  • Regularly scheduled Thursday morning post (Between 7-8 AM Thursday)
  • Snow Report: Thursday Night (Between 4-6 PM Thursday- IF NECESSARY)

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

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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.