Weekend Snow Chances Dropping
An area of low pressure is passing far to the north across eastern Canada, dragging a cold front through the Great Lakes, Ohio River Valley and Lower Mississippi Valley.
At the southern end of this front there is a second, weaker low over Arkansas that will track northeast, then east over the next several days.
Rain is attempting to push into the Finger Lakes region from the south, but it being met by dry air. From time to time, showers will succeed and be scattered about the area, but the rain should never become overly widespread or heavy.
The rain will be possible at any time today. When it is not raining, it will be cloudy with some fog or drizzle possible, especially in higher elevations.
Temperatures today will not move much with most areas starting near or above 40 degrees. Highs will only be a couple degrees warmer than it is this morning.
By Saturday morning, the Arkansas low will be located over western Pennsylvania and will have strengthened slightly. There will be a better chance for rain Saturday morning as the low skirts along the NY-PA line.
This low track is further north than was expected yesterday. This is because energy diving into the upper Midwest this morning will not have fully phased with the initial system. Without this phasing, the low will continue eastward through New England before strengthening off the coast.
Our rain will still turn over to snow Saturday afternoon, but the heaviest snow should stay north of our region. Areas around and west of Rochester will have the best shot for a few inches of accumulation, with little more than a coating now expected for most of the Finger Lakes.
The phasing process, where extra energy merges with an existing storm system, is a complicated phenomenon that models frequently overestimate more than a couple days in advance. The overestimation of storm phasing leads to big storms showing on the models that never come to be. This is why it is important to be cautious with snow predictions more than a day or two in advance.
Active Pattern Ahead
It appears as though our region will settle into a new, active weather pattern as we head deeper into January.
A quick moving, small weather system will bring some snow showers to the area Sunday night and Monday. Temperatures on Sunday will be near 30 degrees while Monday reaches the mid 30s.
On Tuesday, another complicated weather set up will begin to unfold. Two low pressure systems will approach, one from the south and another via the Great Lakes. These two systems will likely phase together at some point, but when that happens will impact what we see. As I just explained, the models are not reliable this far out with such scenarios, so this remains a wait-and-see situation.
Beyond that, an active storm track that takes low pressure systems from the Deep South northward will persist into mid-January. This will lead to increasing snow chances, but there is no way to tell how each system will unfold.
This is also a pattern ripe for weather hype, so be wary over the coming weeks.
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