Quiet Thursday ahead of more unsettled weather

finger lakes weather forecast thursday december 3 2020
Sunshine will mix with clouds today as highs push back into the 40s. More cloudy, cool, and sometimes snowy weather is on the way though. [Photo by Gwen Moshier]

Changing Weather

An overall active weather pattern will continue across our region, but for today, the weather will be tranquil.

High pressure over the Southeastern United States is extending its influence into our region. The high will not be a dominating force, however, with the jet stream overhead, containing several subtle disturbances.

This set up will keep skies mixed today with sunshine filtering through thin clouds and contending with the occasional batch of thicker clouds.

Light south winds will blow today, which combined with the sunshine, should nudge temperatures upward. Look for highs today mostly in the mid 40s with higher elevations in the low 40s.

Clouds will trend thicker late in the day and will continue to thicken tonight as a stronger disturbance approaches from the northwest. Meanwhile, unsettled weather over the Gulf States will expand north-eastward.

Despite systems approaching from both sides, much of Friday may end up dry in the Finger Lakes. Rain and snow showers from the northern system are expected to mainly stay over and north of Lake Ontario, while rain from the south will stick to Pennsylvania.

Skies will be mostly cloudy in our dry wedge, but some breaks of sun will be possible here and there. Temperatures should again push into the low and mid 40s.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast Thursday December 3 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 Thursday December 3 2020

Weekend Storm Analysis

Yesterday, I outlined the uncertainties regarding this weekend’s weather, centering on the two systems that will approach us tomorrow and whether or not they will be able to fully phase into a larger, stronger system.

Many of the non-European models do not support the complete phasing that would be necessary for significant weather in the Finger Lakes. The European continues to jump around, but only a couple of its 51 ensemble members show a major snow event.

While the uncertainty remains elevated, I have not seen anything that makes me think we stand much of a chance at seeing a major or even moderate snow event.

What seems much more likely is a period of lake effect snow showers on Saturday as northwest winds set up behind whatever coastal storm does manage to form.

The significance of the lake effect is somewhat influenced by the strength and track of the parent storm, but not to the degree that the weekend is a complete mystery.

Barring some major and at this point unexpected shift westward with the parent storm, we can expect some rain and snow showers Friday night as the northern system drops south, followed by a spray of lake snows on Saturday.

These snows will favor the northeastern half of the region, as is typical with a northwest-wind lake effect event. As such, the best chances for accumulations will be in the higher elevations south of Syracuse, where a few inches could locally fall.

Highs on Saturday will likely be in the low and mid 30s and wind gusts will range from 25-35 mph. Sunday will also have similar winds with highs mostly in the upper 20s and low 30s.

Lake flakes will probably persist into Sunday morning and clouds are likely throughout the day. A cold northwest flow will continue for Monday with plenty of clouds and highs around 30.

Most of next week looks quiet but cool with highs in the 30s and few chances for sunshine.

More Information:

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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.