Icy precipitation will turn to very heavy, rapidly accumulating snow Friday morning, followed by lighter snow and gusty winds Friday afternoon.
A strong area of low pressure will track northeastward, crossing downstate New York during Friday afternoon. Heavy precipitation northwest of the low will fall across the Finger Lakes, especially during the morning hours Friday.
As cold air gets pulled into the strengthening low, a light icy mix will overspread the region Thursday night, changing to snow before or near dawn Friday. Behind the low, gusty northwest winds will develop as temperatures continue to fall, causing significant blowing and drifting of the snow.
WINTER STORM WARNINGS are in effect for the following counties, listed in alphabetical order:
Cayuga, Cortland, Monroe, Onondaga, Seneca, Tompkins, Wayne
WINTER WEATHER ADVISORIES are in effect for the following counties, listed in alphabetical order:
Allegany, Chemung, Genesee, Livingston, Ontario, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, Wyoming, Yates
Spotty freezing rain, fog, and drizzle will continue in the Finger Lakes this evening. The precipitation will begin to increase as an icy mix toward midnight. The ice should remain generally light through about 4 AM. After 4 AM, precipitation rates will start to increase, especially east of I-390. Ice will also begin to change to snow from west to east.
By 8 AM, all precipitation should be snow. Once the precipitation turns to snow, it will come down very heavily and accumulate quickly. Snowfall rates of 1-3 inches per hour will be likely into the midday hours. Snow will continue to fall lightly through the afternoon before tapering to flurries for Friday evening. Northwest winds will increase Friday afternoon and temperatures will drop, causing significant blowing and drifting of the snow.
Because of the timing and evolution of this storm, some eastern areas may wake up Friday morning with little to no snow having accumulated yet. Do not be deceived by this, as conditions will rapidly deteriorate and remain treacherous throughout the day.
The highest amounts are expected near the shore of Lake Ontario, especially east of Rochester, and into Cayuga and Onondaga counties. These locations should see at least a foot of snow.
Most of the Finger Lakes region will see 8-12 inches. Higher elevations will be more likely to see closer to a foot, while lower elevations will see slightly less. Snow amounts will drop off rapidly just southeast of the Finger Lakes.
Most of this snow will fall during the Friday morning hours.
Temperatures will hold steady in the upper 20s tonight, but will drop into the low 20s Friday morning. After holding steady through the early afternoon, another drop into the mid and upper teens will occur late Friday afternoon.
There will be slight impacts on the roads this evening and overnight due to freezing rain. Rural roads will become icy, while main roads will vary between wet and slick.
Travel will be dangerous from early Friday morning into the early afternoon. Remnant icy patches will quickly become snow covered as precipitation types change. Localized snowfall rates over 2 inches per hour will make all roads snow covered and dangerous.
Conditions will only improve slightly in the afternoon as snow rates drop. Gusty northwest winds will develop, causing blowing snow that will reduce visibility and keep drift prone roads snow covered.
Northwest winds will increase during the midday hours Friday with gusts of 30-40 mph through the afternoon. During this time, the snowflakes should become fluffier, leading to significant blowing and drifting.
LOW- There are two primary sources of uncertainty with the forecast, which have been talked about in previous posts.
First, the changeover to snow. This primary effects areas east of Seneca Lake. If precipitation does not change over to snow quick enough, snow totals could be reduced, but ice totals would increase. Conversely, if the ice changes to snow quicker, even higher snow amounts will be possible. This forecast represents a middle of the road solution, leaning slightly more towards a quicker changeover to snow.
Second, the placement of the heaviest bands of precipitation remain uncertain. There is still a chance that the heaviest bands could set up further east, taking the axis of heaviest snow out of the western half of the Finger Lakes.
Overall, the “bust potential” is high with this system given the extremely sensitive nature of this complex scenario. This forecast represents a moderately-high snow scenario, but it is not unreasonable to envision scenarios with less snow, or scenarios with more snow. At a bare minimum, most areas should see a moderate snowfall and difficult travel conditions Friday. At worst, a memorable, but not epic snow event is possible.
FUTURE SNOW OUTLOOK
A few flurries will be possible Friday night into early Saturday.
An area of widespread light snow will move through Sunday night with an elevation dependent 1-3 inches of accumulation.
- Friday morning updates (Between 7-8 AM Friday)
- Saturday morning updates (Between 8-9 AM Saturday)
- Get the forecast for your Zip Code
- Finger Lakes Weather Radar
- Ask Meteorologist Drew Montreuil a question
- Advertise on Finger Lakes Weather
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