Cold and cloudy Wednesday leads to milder end to the week

finger lakes weather forecast wednesday november 18 2020 cold windy cloudy lake effect snow
Lake snows will gradually taper off but clouds will linger much of the day. A big change in the weather will take place for Thursday-Friday. [Photo by Gwen Moshier]

Wintry Wednesday

An area of high pressure will track from the Ohio River Valley this morning to a position off the coast of the Mid-Atlantic tomorrow.

With the high to our southwest this morning, a cold flow of air continues to blow over Lake Ontario. Lake effect snow showers and a few narrow, heavier bands continue as a result. Cayuga Lake is also getting in on the action by enhancing the snow south-southeast of the lake.

Some areas could see an additional inch or two this morning with temperatures starting the day well below freezing. Watch for slick roads and patches of black ice resulting from the wet, slushy road conditions last evening.

As the high builds eastward, atmospheric conditions will become less favorable for lake effect. Still, it would not surprise me at all to see some snow showers continue into the early afternoon southeast of Lake Ontario.

Outside of the lake effect, there will be plenty of cloud cover lasting well into the afternoon. Some breaks of sun may start to appear just before sunset as winds start to shift over the region. Partly cloudy to mostly clear skies will develop for the evening before a deck of thin clouds high in the atmosphere move in after midnight.

Winds today will blow at 10-15 mph until late in the afternoon. Peak gusts will be 25-30 mph, which will cause some areas of blowing and drifting snow.

Between the clouds and cold winds, high temperatures today will struggle into the low and perhaps mid 30s. Some higher elevations may not even reach 30 degrees. Evening temperatures will settle in the mid and upper 20s.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast wednesday november 18 2020
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.
finger lakes weather 7-day forecast wednesday november 18 2020

Temperature Spike

Winds will turn to the south tonight, halting the overnight cooling and bringing temperatures up a few degrees by dawn Thursday.

Warm air will surge northward into the Finger Lakes, but will have more success across the northwestern half of the region. Mid 50s are likely tomorrow in the Genesee Valley and Rochester area, with low 50s across the western Southern Tier and the remainder of the I-90 corridor.

Further southeast, temperatures will be in the mid 40s from Elmira to Ithaca to Cortland.

Sunshine on Thursday will be filtered by the aforementioned deck of thin clouds. It will be yet another blustery day, with wind speeds of 10-15 mph and gusts of 25-35 mph.

The clouds and wind will remain steady through Thursday night. Temperatures should only drop a couple degrees as a result.

Friday morning, the clouds will start to break up, leading to some breaks of sunshine. It will not get completely sunny, though.

Winds will become more southwesterly on Friday with similar speeds. Temperatures will range from the mid 50s in higher elevations to around 60 degrees in lower elevations.

A new high pressure system will turn winds back to the north Friday night, leading to highs in the mid 40s for Saturday. No precipitation is expected, but low clouds may develop and stick around throughout the day.

By Sunday, the gradient between warm and cold will intensify and start to track back north as a warm front. The front will not make it through our region during the daytime hours, but a few showers or flurries may move in for the afternoon. High temperatures Sunday will be in the low half of the 40s.

Warmer air will move in Sunday night and Monday should top 50 degrees. A cold front will move through with periods of rain and temperatures crashing during the afternoon.

Temperatures will settle back into the 30s and low 40s for the rest of next week. A weather system may move through on Thanksgiving with rain and/or snow possible.

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