Strong winds continue as widespread snow transitions to lake effect

finger lakes weather forecast thursday february 27 2020 snow wind blowing snow
A variety of weather alerts are in effect for the Finger Lakes this morning. As snow pulls out, strong winds will continue to cause issues through today and Friday.


Widespread snow is pulling out of the Finger Lakes this morning after changing over from rain before dawn.

Roads are slick this morning, so give yourself extra time traveling. Strong winds will continue to blow the snow around, reducing visibility and producing areas of drifting.

As the snow pulls out, areas of lake effect will develop. This will mean light snow showers across the Finger Lakes.

Heavy snow will work into Wyoming county in the west, along with other areas in southwestern New York. Likewise, very heavy snow will fall east of Lake Ontario, near and south of Watertown. Blizzard conditions are likely in these areas, making travel nearly impossible.

The primary hazard for the Finger Lakes today after this morning’s snow will be the wind. West winds will gust between 40-50 mph as temperatures fall into the mid 20s. Blowing snow will continue to cause issues, especially in open rural areas.

The wind will decrease slightly tonight, with gusts of 30-40 mph overnight. Overnight lows will range from the mid teens in the western Southern Tier to the low 20s close to the shore of Lake Ontario.

Scattered snow showers will continue Friday with minimal impacts locally. Winds will increase again, gusting to 35-45 mph throughout the day. These winds will continue to come from the west.

High temperatures Friday will range from the low 20s to the upper 20s.

Lake Effect Moves South

Winds will begin to turn more northwesterly Friday night, sending the lake effect south.

The primary heavy lake effect band off Lake Ontario may be picked up by the wind shift and pushed south through the Finger Lakes as a brief but intense squall. This would happen during the overnight hours, roughly in the 11 PM–3 AM time frame.

A new spray of lake effect will then develop southeast of Lake Ontario. There are still questions as to how well organized this phase of the lake effect will be.

Still, several inches of accumulation are expected in the usual areas, especially Wayne, northern Cayuga, and Onondaga counties. The Winter Storm Watch in place for these areas is specific to the lake effect late Friday into Saturday and will be changed to winter weather advisories or lake effect snow warnings in the future.

The lake effect snow should come to an end Sunday morning.

Temperatures Saturday will be cool again, with highs ranging through the 20s. Sunday will start a new warm up, with highs back in the 30s.

Rain showers will return for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday next week as temperatures climb. Very warm weather will be possible by Wednesday with 60s not out of the question.

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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.

4 Responses

  1. Al

    I have to drive from Corning, to Mt. Morris, across route 20 a to East Aurora and then up route 400 to Buffalo today and return to Corning tomorrow afternoon. Will they close the roads? I see school is cancelled in Warsaw

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Can’t say whether or not the roads will be closed, but travel will be difficult. I’d plan for double the time, minimum, if you have to make the trip.

  2. we had plans to drive from Ithaca NY to Pulaski NY Saturday afternoon around 2 PM. We are considering canceling if you think the roads will still be bad Saturday afternoon…..

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Still a bit unsure…I’ve seen some indications that the lake effect may decrease for a time Saturday. Even then, the trip would probably require some extra time.