A Pair of Lows
There are two areas of low pressure near the Finger Lakes this morning with each set to impact the region in different ways.
Several days ago, weather models were phasing these two lows together into a larger, more significant storm system. I discussed storm phasing in a blog post last week and cautioned that models often exaggerate phasing. Today’s setup is another example of that, with each low remaining separate.
The first low is located over the Appalachian Mountains and tracking northeast toward the Mid-Atlantic. The second low is north of the Great Lakes and has a cold front extending south into Wisconsin.
Between these two systems, an area of cloudiness has developed and is pushing into the Finger Lakes. These clouds are mostly in the mid and high levels of the atmosphere, so a bit of filtered sunshine may still be possible, especially early in the day.
Clouds will gradually thicken but the day will remain dry. With light winds from the south, look for afternoon highs today to reach the mid to perhaps upper 30s.
This evening, light snow from the first low will just clip the far southeastern portions of the Finger Lakes. Areas near and south of an Elmira-Ithaca-Cortland line will have the best chance at seeing a few flakes, but little to no accumulation is expected.
Temperatures will remain close to 30 degrees overnight. During the predawn hours, the aforementioned cold front will race through the region. A burst of heavy snow is possible with the front, but it will be well east of the region by sunrise.
Behind the front, strong northwest winds will set up with gusts of 40-45 mph. Conditions are favorable for a series of snow squalls. We have already seen similar set ups a couple times this year, where it snows heavily for a short time, the sun comes out, and then another snow burst moves through.
Be ready for rapidly changing weather conditions, slick roads, and near zero visibility at times tomorrow. Snow squall warnings may be issued.
The squalls will be possible anywhere in the Finger Lakes at any time during the daytime hours.
Temperatures Wednesday will hover in the upper 20s and low 30s, but the wind will make it feel colder.
A more organized band of lake effect snow will take shape Wednesday evening as the squalls diminish. This band will wobble around the northern and eastern Finger Lakes, bringing anything from a coating to several inches of snow. The band should weaken by sunrise Thursday and dissipate shortly thereafter.
More Active Weather on the Way
Thursday will start out on the cold side, with upper teens in the lake effect areas and mid and low teens elsewhere.
Thursday morning will bring our best chance for sunshine as lake effect clouds dissipate. However, new clouds will quickly move in from the west, so the opportunity for clear skies is brief.
No other precipitation is expected on Thursday as temperatures rise to around 30 degrees.
Precipitation will move back in early Friday, however. At first, a mixed bag of precipitation seems likely. While the western Finger Lakes may see a quick transition from a little snow to just rain, much of the region appears to be under the gun for some icy precipitation.
This seems to especially be the case over the Southern Tier and Central New York, where over a tenth of an inch of ice could be possible. This is still a couple days away though, so uncertainty is high. Continue to monitor the forecast for Friday morning.
Precipitation will turn over to rain at some point Friday and continue into Saturday. A strong low pressure will move into the region. The path of the low will have a huge impact on our weather, with a very tight gradient in temperatures expected to set up.
If the low pressure stays far enough west, we could shoot well into the 50s on Saturday. Cold air will be nearby though, and there is potential for a band of significant icing somewhere with this system. It is far too early to tell where this will be for sure, but it is more likely north of the Finger Lakes than in our region.
More strong winds will also be possible with this system at different points this weekend.
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