Mild end to the week ahead of unsettled weekend

finger lakes weather forecast friday december 11 2020 mild sunny unsettled weekend
Temperatures will be mild today before unsettled weather moves in for the weekend and next week. [Photo by Gwen Moshier]

Incoming Low Pressure

A warm day is ahead for the Finger Lakes thanks to high pressure off the Mid-Atlantic coast and low pressure taking shape over the southern Plains.

A broad southerly flow has developed between these systems over the eastern third of the nation, including here in the Finger Lakes. Most areas are starting the day well into the 30s despite only some thin clouds overnight.

Thin clouds will continue throughout the day but should never completely block out the sun. South winds of 5-10 mph will also persist.

Combined, the wind and sunshine will work with the warmer start to the day to push highs above 50 degrees. Areas from Rochester to Dansville to Penn Yan and Geneva could sneak into the mid 50s with widespread low 50s elsewhere. A few upper 40s will linger in and around Cortland county.

Temperatures will fall back to the mid 30s overnight with clouds gradually thickening toward dawn Saturday.

It will be cloudier and a bit cooler on Saturday with highs in the mid and upper 40s. Much of the day should stay dry, but some late showers are likely, especially in the north and west. Temperatures will hold in the mid and upper 40s overnight with showers increasing.

Early Sunday, a cold front will move through. Rain showers will diminish and temperatures will start a slow fall. Most areas should be in the 30s by the mid-afternoon on Sunday. A few rain showers will still be possible, but these will start to mix with and turn to flurries late.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast friday december 11 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 friday december 11 2020

Uncertain Next Week

Beyond Sunday, the forecast starts to quickly lose certainty thanks to a pair of storm systems with a variety of possible strengths and paths.

The first of these will be developing over Texas and the western Gulf of Mexico on Sunday and will track northeast toward the Mid-Atlantic on Monday. At the same time, a weak system will be tracking across southern Canada.

Clouds from one or both of these systems should be in the neighborhood on Monday along with a few snow showers. There is a small chance that these systems could end up interacting more and producing more snow here.

As things stand now, there is about a 10% chance that we see that happen with snow amount of six inches or greater. However, there is about an 80% chance that we see under two inches.

Tuesday will be chilly and dry behind these systems with highs unlikely to escape the 20s. A strong high pressure will build into northern New England. A weak disturbance will sit off the Southeast coast while some extra energy sweeps across the Mid-Mississippi Valley.

These two features should combine on Wednesday and form a strong low pressure system along the coast. The interaction of these two features, and the ability of the high pressure to dig in and prevent a more eastern track, are important keys to how this storm unfolds.

Using the same parameters as before, as of now this system looks like it has about a 25% chance of bringing us at least six inches and a 45% chance of under two inches.

Obviously, it is far too early to predict any greater details, and forecasts that do so should be ignored. The pattern bears watching, especially for the middle of the week, but the highest likelihood for both systems right now is for the Finger Lakes to miss out on the heaviest snow.

I will be monitoring these situations closely and updating this weekend if necessary. Stay tuned and be wary of weather hype!

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.