Sunshine takes the edge off the cold

finger lakes weather forecast wednesday january 22 2020 sunny cold warming trend weekend snow storm
Quiet weather will continue in the Finger Lakes as sunny skies and not-as-cold temperatures return. The details on this weekend’s weather remain uncertain, but some general ideas are becoming clearer. [Photo by Helen Heizyk]

High Pressure Shifts East

A sprawling area of high pressure will continue to dominate our weather pattern today.

As the high continues to drift eastward, our winds will turn more southerly today. That will help temperatures warm after a cold morning.

The temperatures across the region are split this morning, with 20s along the shore of Lake Ontario and single digits across the south. By this afternoon, the spread will be more uniform, with most areas in the mid 30s and just a few pockets holding in the low 30s.

There will be ample sunshine throughout the day with just some thin clouds building in late.

The clouds and gentle south winds will keep temperatures warmer tonight with most areas dropping to the upper teens or low 20s.

Thursday and Friday will be similar days. Sunshine will be filtered by thin clouds. Winds will be light, coming from the south on Thursday and the southeast on Friday.

Thursday will have temperatures in the upper 30s and low 40s, while most areas should see at least 40 degrees on Friday.

Uncertain Weekend Weather

On Friday, low pressure will track northward into Michigan before transferring its energy to the Mid-Atlantic coast early Saturday. This low will then strengthen as it moves northeast toward New England.

Confidence is increasing in this general idea, but the placement of the coastal low pressure system is still unknown. The most common scenario currently is for low pressure to track over New York City, but a track further inland is also possible. The track becomes even less certain beyond that into Sunday.

The result is a continuing chaotic look to the models for our weekend weather. Extremes on both side of the spectrum, that is either no snow, or amounts over a foot, still have ample support and need to be considered. Meanwhile, the chances for a moderate event seem to be increasing.

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Should a moderate or heavy snow event unfold, the snow would likely start sometime Saturday morning, possibly mixing with some sleet at first. As the low intensifies, colder air will be pulled into the system, decreasing the chances for mixed precipitation as the day evolves.

Snow would be possible into Saturday night, with more snow Sunday as moisture wraps around the backside of the system and over the Great Lakes.

A less snowy scenario would involve a shorter time period for precipitation and/or more mixed precipitation. This would likely come from a storm track further inland, possibly even as far west as the I-81 Corridor.

The parent system that will spawn this weekend’s weather is now onshore in the Pacific Northwest. Hopefully the increase in observational data will lead to less chaos on the models in the coming 24-48 hours.

In the meantime, the usual message holds true: We need to wait and see and be wary of premature and computer automated projections that will need to be changed time and time again between now and Saturday.

Stay tuned.

Local News from the Cortland Voice

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Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
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 and also run a goat milk soap business, Ye Olde Goat Cart. When not working or playing with the boys, he is probably out for a run through the countryside.