Weekend Storm Hype Fizzling

finger lakes weather forecast thursday january 23 2020 sun clouds weekend hype fizzles
Thin clouds will increase on the leading edge of this weekend’s weather system. The hype surrounding said system is fizzling away once again. [Photo by Gwen Moshier]

Hype Machine Flounders Again

An area of low pressure has developed over the middle of the country and will move towards the Finger Lakes this weekend.

Out ahead of this low, Thursday and Friday will remain quiet locally, with sunshine filtered through the thin clouds on the leading edge of the system. Temperatures today will range from the upper 30s to low 40s with most areas between 40-45 on Friday.

The pieces that will make up this weekend’s weather have been inland over North America for over 24 hours now. This is an important step in the forecasting process. When systems are out over the Pacific, there is little observational data for the models to work with. Once inland, the substantial increase in data gives the models much more to work with.

Over the last 24 hours, there has been a dramatic and definite shift on the models away from copious snow amounts. While some fringe models still show the possibility, the chances grow smaller with every run of the models. Gone, too, are many of the projections for even a moderate event.

The shift lays with the storm track and development of the coastal low.

Models have trended towards slower redevelopment and a weaker coastal low. This, in turn, means that the first low, which will work its way into Michigan, remains dominant longer.

With that low to our west, there will be more warm air. With the coastal low slow to develop, we will also miss out on much of the precipitation from that redevelopment.

As I have said many times before, it is hard to get the pieces to align just right for a big storm. More often than not, that alignment does not quite come together.

Details Becoming Clearer

So where does this leave us for the weekend?

The most likely scenario will be for precipitation to increase across the area Saturday morning. This may start out as an icy mix with areas of rain, freezing rain, sleet, and snow throughout the Finger Lakes.

Travel will be slick, so it is still wise to plan for extra time if you must travel early Saturday.

The freezing rain and sleet should decrease during the late morning and afternoon with snow becoming more common than rain. By this time, the heaviest precipitation will be moving out, so snowfall rates should be low.

The most likely outcome will be snow amounts under 3 inches. There is a secondary possibility for a bit more, depending on how the mixed precipitation evolves. That will be the main question to resolve in the forecast from this point on.

Scattered snow showers will be possible on Sunday behind the system, but even some of those may turn to rain near Lake Ontario with temperatures reaching the mid and upper 30s.

A quiet weather pattern will build in for much of next week with temperatures mostly holding in the 30s.

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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.

2 Responses

  1. JANE P Russell

    Hi Drew,
    I have staff driving early in am Sat from Keuka Lake area to Naples…thoughts

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Probably looking at some sort of a mix of snow and ice.