After quiet Wednesday, wet, windy, and warm weather to end the week

finger lakes weather forecast wednesday march 18 2020 sun mild wet windy thunderstorms
High pressure will depart today, opening the Finger Lakes to warmer weather, but also rain, wind, and a few thunderstorms by Friday. [Photo by Gwen Moshier]

Active Weather Pattern Begins

A large area of high pressure is centered over the Finger Lakes this morning, but an active weather pattern will unfold for the remainder of the week, beginning tonight.

Most of the region is starting the day in the 20s or low 30s underneath the high pressure system. Skies are generally clear, but a few patches of cloudiness linger. These clouds should dissipate this morning, only to be replaced this afternoon by a deck of thin overcast.

These thin clouds will allow some filtered sunshine through at first, but should become thicker late in the day and into the evening. No daytime precipitation is expected.

As the high tracks east this morning, south winds will develop this afternoon. The wind will remain light, with gusts during the day under 20 mph.

Temperatures will respond to the south winds and sunshine by rising to around 50 degrees. Higher elevations and areas close to the shore of Lake Ontario will stick in the 40s. Evening temperatures will then fall into the mid 40s.

A first batch of rain will move in from the southwest tonight, beginning around 10 PM. Steady rain will fall through the night, but should end by sunrise Thursday. Temperatures will bottom out near 40 degrees for most, with a few mid 30s east of I-81. A quarter to half inch of rain is expected tonight.

The daytime hours Thursday will be mostly dry. Clouds will hang tough, but a few glimpses of sunshine will be possible. Light south winds will persist.

Most of the Finger Lakes will end up in the mid and upper 50s Thursday afternoon. Low 50s are possible in the higher elevations of Central New York, while areas west of Canandaigua Lake may break into the low 60s.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast wednesday march 18 2020
Click to enlarge.

Wet, Windy Roller-Coaster

Another area of rain will move in Thursday night. This rain will be spotty and light. Temperatures will initially fall to the low 50s and upper 40s, but increasing south winds will push temperatures back into the upper 50s by Friday morning.

Those winds will gust over 40 mph during Thursday night, especially over higher elevations. Wind speeds will drop slightly early in the morning, but will then build again for the midday and afternoon hours Friday.

Wind gusts of 45-55 mph will be common throughout the region on Friday. Temperatures will push into the upper 60s with a few places reaching 70 degrees.

A strong cold front will approach from the west Friday afternoon. Scattered showers and a few thunderstorms will pop up ahead of the front. Any storms that manage to form will have the potential to become low-end severe as they tap into the strong winds. A couple damaging wind gusts could result.

The front will clear the region Friday evening as winds turn to the northwest and cold air floods into the region. Temperatures will rapidly fall, bottoming out in the low and mid 20 Saturday morning.

Saturday and Sunday will be sunny but cold days. Highs Saturday will reach the low and mid 30s and Sunday will only add a couple degrees to that. Morning lows Sunday will be in the upper teens and low 20s.

The wind will remain blustery, but not as intense for Saturday. Top gusts should be between 20-30 mph. Winds will decrease further for Sunday with gusts under 20 mph.

Monday and Tuesday next week will bring active weather back into the picture. Some of the precipitation could fall as snow, but the chances for accumulation remain uncertain. Regardless, beyond that, a return to milder weather is expected.

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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.