Powerful cold front rumbles through the Finger Lakes

finger lakes weather forecast friday march 20 2020 wind rain thunderstorms cold front
A strong cold front will rumble through the Finger Lakes this afternoon with gusty winds, a few thunderstorms, and an overnight crash in temperatures. [Photo by Gwen Moshier]

Wet, Windy, Stormy Weather

An impressive cold front stretches from Lake Huron to Texas this morning with its sights set on the Finger Lakes.

Warm air has been pouring into the region overnight with the passage of a warm front. Western areas are starting the day in the 60s while the rest of the Finger Lakes is warming through the 50s.

Temperatures will continue to rise this morning, pushing into the upper 60s to near 70 degrees by the early afternoon.

Strong southwest winds will develop as well, with gusts between 45-55 mph. As a general rule of thumb, the further northwest, the stronger the winds. High Wind Warnings are in effect for Rochester and the Genesee Valley, while Wind Advisories cover most of the rest of the Finger Lakes. Only the southeastern Finger Lakes, including Elmira, Ithaca, and Cortland, are not under some type of wind alert.

There will be little to no sunshine throughout the day, but on and off showers will be possible. This afternoon, a few thunderstorms are also likely. These will contain only modest amounts of lightning but may tap into the strong winds to produce some locally damaging wind gusts. A couple severe thunderstorm warnings may be needed.

The cold front will plow through between 5-9 PM tonight. Temperatures will tumble through the 50s and into the 40s within a matter of an hour or two. A continued fall will introduce 30s and a few flurries to the region before midnight.

By Saturday morning, temperatures will have fallen all the way to the low and mid 20s.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast friday march 20 2020
Click to enlarge.

Now that it is Spring, a Taste of Winter

A cold, dominating high pressure system from Canada will build in for the weekend. Few, if any, clouds are expected on Saturday and Sunday.

Despite the plentiful sunshine, cold air will be in abundance. Highs on Saturday will range from near 30 degrees along the shore of Lake Ontario to the mid 30s in the southern half of the region. Sunday will warm a bit more, with mid 30s near Lake Ontario and highs around 40 for most other areas.

Saturday’s winds will be blustery from the northwest, but not nearly as strong as today. Top gusts should be around 25 mph. Sunday’s winds will drop further and may turn calm for the afternoon. What wind there is will be from the east and northeast.

Winds will increase Sunday night, holding temperatures close to 30 degrees. Low pressure will then track well to our southeast on Monday, spreading snow into the Finger Lakes.

It is becoming increasingly likely that some accumulation will occur, with the greatest amounts coming across the Southern Tier and Central New York. Early estimates would be in the 2-5 inch range, but this remains uncertain.

Temperatures will work back into the 40s for Tuesday and Wednesday and may push into the 50s for Thursday. Tuesday will be a quiet day, but Wednesday will have some early snow showers turning to rain. Scattered rain will then be possible for the remainder of the week.

Temperatures then look as though they will settle into a near-normal pattern, with highs most days in the 40s.

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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. langburn

    Just sent a modest donation, with thanks for your ongoing work. Your thoughtful message of concern earlier this week was much appreciated. Counting on you in the months ahead!

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Thank you so much for your generosity! I greatly appreciate it!