Lake Effect Snow Details
Cold winds continue to be the main story across the Finger Lakes, with a secondary concern from lake effect snow.
West-southwest winds will increase again this morning as the sun rises after a small reduction in speed overnight. Gusts will not be as a high as yesterday, but should still top out at 35-45 mph.
Areas of blowing and drifting snow will reduce visibility and cause areas of snowy travel.
These winds are carrying plenty of cold, moist air to fuel lake effect snow. Wind direction is key on determining where the snow will fall.
This morning, a very heavy snow band off Lake Ontario continues just south of Watertown with blizzard conditions. Off Lake Erie, a weaker snow band is producing steady snow into Wyoming county. In the Finger Lakes, a few scattered snow showers and brief bursts exist, also courtesy of Lake Erie.
Through the morning and first part of the afternoon, winds will turn more southwesterly. This should cause the snow to shift northward. For the Finger Lakes, that means the snow showers will become more likely in the northwestern Finger Lakes and less likely in the southeast.
After 3 PM, the snow will become better organized and the chances for a few heavier bursts will increase in the Finger Lakes. Still, most of the region will continue to have good to fair travel conditions with little to no snow accumulation.
High temperatures today will range through the 20s, with higher elevations in the low 20s and lower elevations in the mid and upper 20s.
Tonight, another wind shift will take place with a turn to the northwest. After midnight, brief squalls will become likely in the Finger Lakes with a quick inch or so of accumulation.
By Saturday morning a widespread spray of lake effect snow should be in place over the Finger Lakes. Localized heavier snows will be possible within this area with slight travel impacts.
Most areas will see around or under an inch of accumulation. Areas near Lake Ontario and higher elevations, as well as those that get stuck under a heavier band for an hour or two, will see as much as 3-4 inches.
The snow should be disrupted in the afternoon with spotty, on and off snow showers. Another batch of snow will move through in the evening, lasting for 1-2 hours in any given location.
Behind this batch, one final band of lake effect will develop southeast of Lake Ontario. Wayne, central/southern Cayuga, Cortland and Onondaga counties have the best chance at seeing heavier snow during the second half of Saturday night. Several more inches will fall.
The lake effect will gradually dissipate Sunday morning as another major pattern shift begins to take place.
I will wrap this all up into a single snow map this afternoon for my Snow Report.
Warming Up Again
As the lake effect dissipates Sunday, sunshine will return to the region in abundance.
Temperatures will be driven up by the sunshine and the dying off of the northwest wind. Look for highs to range through the 30s, with the warmer temperatures in the south and west.
Winds will turn to the south and increase Sunday night, keeping temperatures in the 30s. Clouds will increase and rain will enter the region Monday afternoon.
Along with the rain, warm air will continue to surge into the Finger Lakes. High temperatures Monday should reach the 50s for most areas, with mid or even upper 50s in the typically warmer areas.
Rain will taper off Monday night, only to return Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday looks cooler than Monday, but still plenty mild, with highs in the mid and upper 40s and low 50s.
Low pressure will pass by on Wednesday with more rain and some wind. The track of the low will determine how warm it gets, but some 50s are still a reasonable expectation.
Temperatures will retreat by next week and the weekend, but will not turn overly cold. Highs will probably end up close to normal in the mid and upper 30s.
No big cold snaps are foreseen as we head through the first couple weeks of March. That isn’t to say it won’t be cold for a day or two, or that there will not be more snow, but the multi-day cold snaps that we have been seeing appear to be becoming less likely, while the chances for warm temperatures appear to be creeping upwards.
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