Rain showers Friday end as a bit of snow this weekend

finger lakes weather forecast friday january 3 2019 rain weekend snow chances
On and off rain showers will dot the Finger Lakes today with a better chance for rain Saturday morning. That rain will eventually turn to snow Saturday afternoon. [Photo by Gwen Moshier]

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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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. Yesterday I found a wooly bear caterpillar hauling *** across my driveway. Not very big, and almost evenly divided by color into thirds. I know none of that “means” anything, but it’s as Louise said (above). Mostly I was surprised to see him running around in the open. (I carried him over to some weeds/shelter).

  2. Louise Bement

    We used to be told it was going to rain/snow/be windy/ or have bright clear sunshine. But we didn’t know why. Thanks to people like Drew we now can understand the what, why, and who of the weather systems and be educated about them. Instead of, “Horse tails and fish scales – a sure sign of rain that never fails” we now can say,” there is a low advancing from the southwest…” and still enjoy the old sayings.

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Glad you enjoy the narrative and explanations!