Small system Wednesday Night sets the stage for cold and lake effect

finger lakes weather forecast wednesday janaury 15 2020 sun snow wind lake effect
After a quiet daytime, a small system will move through tonight, setting us up for a shot of lake effect snow, wind, and cold temperatures Thursday and Friday. [Photo by Gwen Moshier]

Change Occurs Tonight

A small weather system will move through the Finger Lakes tonight, ushering in a return to wintry weather for the end of the week.

Before this system moves in tonight, the daytime hours today will be dominated by a large area of high pressure.

Cloudy skies this morning should break up, leading to a period of afternoon sunshine. No precipitation is expected this morning.

Winds will turn to the southwest this afternoon as the sun shines, helping temperatures reach highs in the low to perhaps mid 40s.

Clouds will move back in this evening as the weather system approaches. Temperatures will fall back into the low 30s at the same time. As light precipitation moves in, expect pockets of rain, pockets of snow, and a few areas that could see some icy mix.

This precipitation will overspread the Finger Lakes between 9 PM and Midnight, traveling from southwest to northeast.

Snow, Wind, and Cold

By Thursday morning, precipitation will be all snow as the low pressure pulls out and a spray of lake effect takes over.

Widespread lake effect snow with some embedded heavier squalls will continue for much of Thursday. All areas should receive a coating of white, but the highest totals will be in the hills between Syracuse and Cortland. A few locations in this area could see as much as six inches.

I will have a full Snow Report late this afternoon with a map of expected snow amounts and the full breakdown of details.

In addition to the snow, Thursday will be windy. Northwest winds will gust between 35-45 mph, causing areas of drifting snow and poor visibilities.

Temperatures will spend most of the day in the low 30s, but will drop back into the teens Thursday night as the lake effect gradually winds down. A few snow showers may linger early Friday, but should end before midday.

North-northwest winds will continue to be on the blustery side Friday, but not as strong as on Thursday. Gusts will be between 20-30 mph. Morning clouds will give way to afternoon sun.

It will be a cold day with highs near or slightly below 20 degrees. With the wind, it will feel like 0-10 degrees most of the day.

Clouds will start to move back in Friday night with temperatures starting to rise slightly after midnight.

Attention then turns to the much-ballyhooed system for Saturday. For more information on what is and isn’t known at this point about the weekend, please read the comprehensive post I published Tuesday afternoon:

Behind that system, lake effect will kick up for Sunday and possibly Monday and early Tuesday. The rest of next week looks quiet as temperatures gradually creep upwards once again.

Don’t Miss an Important Update

Keep updated with the latest on the lake effect Thursday and snow potential Saturday, and all of the weather in the Finger Lakes. Signing up for email alerts will ensure you always get the latest information — Facebook and other social media channels pick and choose what you see and are thus not reliable for getting the most updated information!

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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.