Soaking daytime rain ends with first snow overnight

finger lakes weather forecast thursday october 29 2020 rain snow zeta
The remains of Hurricane Zeta will bring a steady rain, heavy at times. The rain will turn to the first snow of the season tonight with more snow in the forecast for Monday.

Rainy Day Ahead

Rain will fall throughout the day as a very large area of precipitation moves north into the Finger Lakes.

Widespread precipitation is falling steadily from the Southern Tier south into the Mid-Atlantic and Ohio Valley this morning as the remains of Hurricane Zeta interact with a slow moving low pressure.

The northern edge of the rain will slowly but steadily creep northward through the Finger Lakes this morning. Areas near and north of I-90 may not enter the rain until the midday or early afternoon, but once the rain starts, it will continue deep into the overnight.

Periods of heavy rain are likely this afternoon before the intensity of the precipitation drops this evening. There could even be a brief break in the precipitation around and just after sunset for some areas.

For the Southern Tier, where the rain has already begun, temperatures will struggle into the mid 40s today. Further north, upper 40s are more likely with a few areas near Lake Ontario reaching 50 degrees.

As the rain moves in, temperatures will settle in the mid 40s regionwide.

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The low pressure associated with the remains of Zeta will move off the Mid-Atlantic coast tonight and intensify while high pressure builds in north of the Great Lakes. These two factors will turn our winds more northerly and drop temperatures into the 30s.

Snow may start to mix in over higher elevations as early as 9 PM. Over the next 4-6 hours, rain will transition to snow across the entire region. A few hours of steady snow are likely before the precipitation ends from northwest to southeast Friday morning. The final flurries should exit between 8-10 AM.

When all is said and done, liquid precipitation amounts will be between one and two inches in the southern half of the region, and between one-half and one inch across the north.

A slushy inch or two of snow will accumulate over higher elevations, though it is not out of the question that the highest hilltops see more like three or four inches. Lower elevations and areas north of the northern tips of the lakes should see little to no accumulation.

Travel Friday morning should have few impacts on major roads or lower elevation roads. Rural, higher elevation roads may get messy, though.

The cut-off for what is considered a higher elevation should be considered between 1200-1500 feet.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast thursday october 29 2020
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.

Cold Through Early Next Week

Clouds will stick around for much of Friday and possibly into Friday night. No additional precipitation is expected once the snow ends Friday morning.

Friday’s winds will be from the northwest at around 10 mph. Gusts of 25+ mph are also likely. These winds, along with the clouds, will hold temperatures in the upper 30s to near 40 degrees on Friday.

Most areas will drop into the 20s Friday night, though the usually warmer lake shores will stay just above 30 degrees.

High pressure will pass through on Saturday with light winds and sunny skies. The wind direction will turn southerly behind the high for the afternoon, pushing temperatures in the mid 40s. Evening temperatures will drop into the mid and upper 30s with a clear, moonlit sky.

Temperatures will start to come up slightly by Sunday morning as the south wind increases and clouds start to push northward. After sunrise, wind speeds will be near 15 mph with gusts of 30-40 mph. Highs on the day will occur during the first part of the afternoon, topping out near or just above 50 degrees.

A cold front will then move through, turning winds to the west and dropping temperatures into the 40s. Rain showers will accompany the front.

Cold air will continue to move in on west winds for the evening and lake effect snow showers will develop. These will initially be limited to near the Lake Ontario shoreline, where they may mix with rain, and over the western Southern Tier.

By Monday morning, winds will become more northwesterly, sending a spray of snow showers into the Finger Lakes. Winds will increase further, with gusts around 40 mph commonplace. High temperatures Monday will stick to the low and mid 30s, resulting in a coating of snow for some.

The lake effect may intensify some Monday night, leading to some minor accumulations southeast of Lake Ontario. The wind will start to shift on Tuesday, bringing an end to the snow and the promise of warmer days ahead. Some areas could approach 60 degrees as soon as Wednesday.

Once the temperature warms, we will settle back into a pattern of 50s and the occasional day in the 60s. The pattern also looks dry, which will not be good news for the ongoing drought.

More Information:

» Finger Lakes Weather Radar

» Zip Code Forecasts

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.