Snowy, windy Wednesday behind cold front

finger lakes weather forecast wednesday january 8 2020 snow squalls windy cold front
Snow squalls are likely in the Finger Lakes today, accompanied by strong wind gusts over 40 mph. Lake snows will develop tonight before a big warm up this weekend. [Photo by Meteorologist Drew Montreuil]

Snow Squalls Likely

A wintry day is ahead for the Finger Lakes with strong winds, on and off snow squalls, and nighttime lake effect.

A cold front is exiting the region early this morning. Some snow is moving through with the cold front and additional snow is already developing behind the front.

finger lakes weather what is a snow squall warning
Snow Squall Warnings are a new alert that have been issued for the last couple of winters. They identify areas of dangerous travel conditions due to intense snow squalls with near-zero visibility and rapidly changing road conditions.

A few waves of snow will track southeast across the region this morning and this afternoon. Within these areas of snow, heavier squalls will be possible.

These squalls will be capable of snow rates over an inch per hour, greatly reducing visibility and quickly putting down a slick coating of snow on roadways.

Strong northwest winds will not help matters, with gusts over 40 mph further reducing visibility and causing areas of blowing and drifting snow.

The squalls today will be similar to what we have seen several times already this winter (December 5, December 18). Some areas may not see an intense squall today, while others may see several. This will be a bit different from the New Year’s Eve squall, which was a widespread, but one-and-done squall. The end results will be similar, though.

Most areas should see a coating to an inch of snow during the day today, with a few areas seeing two inches. Temperatures will hold steady near or just shy of 30 degrees.

After sunset, the squalls will collapse, but a band of lake effect snow will develop. This band will be connected both to the Georgian Bay off Lake Huron and Lake Ontario.

This band should develop across Wayne, northern Cayuga, and Onondaga county this evening before sinking south overnight. The final position of the band should be just north of a Rochester-Geneva-Ithaca line. Several inches of fluffy snow are likely across these areas.

I will have a Snow Report this afternoon which includes a map of expected snow accumulations.

Large Scale Weather Systems

While today’s weather will be fairly unique to our particular region, we will come back under the influence of larger weather systems for the end of the week and the weekend.

First, high pressure will build in on Thursday. Any lake effect snow that lingers into Thursday morning should be shut down rather quickly. A brief window for some sunshine exists before new clouds build in Thursday afternoon.

Temperatures Thursday will start in the teens before rising to around 30 degrees. Temperatures will rise a few more degrees overnight, especially in the western and northern Finger Lakes.

On Friday, precipitation will move in from the west. Most of this will fall as rain, but if the precipitation moves in quick enough, some eastern areas could see a brief period of ice.

Temperatures on Friday will range from the mid 40s near Rochester to the mid 30s near Cortland.

Friday night will see increasing temperatures. By Saturday morning, the Rochester area could be above 50 degrees with mid and upper 40s widespread across the Finger Lakes. Mid and upper 50s should be widespread on Saturday, and a few places may even have a shot at 60 degrees.

On and off rain showers are likely Saturday, but the heavier precipitation should stay further north.

A sharp gradient in temperatures will develop Saturday night, with temperatures remaining close to 60 degrees to the south, but falling into the 30s to the north. Currently, this boundary looks to remain near or over Lake Ontario, but it is too early to be sure.

After a warm start, cooler air should work in on Sunday from northwest to southeast. However, it will probably not get cold enough for snow before precipitation pulls out. Much of Sunday will end up dry, with quiet weather for a couple days to start next week.

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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 four young boys. When not working or playing with the boys, he is probably out for a run through the countryside.

  1. John and Sue Gregoire

    I wonder if it is possible to standardize locational terms used such as Eastern and Western FLs or N and S areas? I like East of a point or line or South of , etc. I know you use this but it varies and some are nebulous. Happy New Year to you and yours and we are happy to see you getting a plug on WEOS many times a day. Station is far from us but more accurate than Ithaca venues. PS. I comment as I’m addicted to your math refresher course at the bottom here. 😉