Lake snows drop south and diminish on chilly, blustery day

finger lakes weather forecast tuesday december 29 2020
A localized snow band will impact the northeastern half of the Finger Lakes this morning and early afternoon before it diminishes. More widespread precipitation is likely through the end of the week. [Photo by Helen Heizyk]

Lake Effect Snow Band

Gusty northwest winds have set up across the Finger Lakes between low pressure northeast of Maine and high pressure spread across the Ohio Valley.

A single, well-organized band of lake effect gradually developed overnight and is now starting its trek south through the northeastern Finger Lakes.

At 7AM, the band was located across Wayne, northern Cayuga, and Onondaga county. The heaviest snow was just north of Auburn and just south of Syracuse.

Through the morning and midday hours, the band will creep southward, ending up roughly along a line from Rochester to Geneva to Ithaca. The band will remain well organized for most of this journey, but will start to break up as it approaches its southern limit.

A rapid weakening is expected between 2-4 PM, with nothing but a few stray flurries remaining by sunset.

While the snow band moves through, expect a period of moderate to heavy snow and reduced, but not quite white-out style visibilities. Travel will become slick with snowfall accumulating up to two inches.

Just outside of the band, and across the remainder of the region, the sun will mix with clouds. The chilly northwest winds will gust over 30 mph at times this morning, but will gradually weaken from west to east this afternoon.

Temperatures will change little today, remaining in the mid 20s for most areas. A quick drop back into the teens and single digits is likely this evening, but clouds will increase overnight and south winds will kick in, pushing temperatures back into the 20s by dawn Wednesday.

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

Mixed Precipitation

A weak weather system will track from the northern Great Lakes to northern New England Wednesday into Wednesday night.

Initially, as warmer air pushes back north, a few flurries may move into the region Wednesday morning. Any snow that falls should be brief with little to no accumulation.

South winds will gust over 30 mph at times during the day Wednesday, especially over higher elevations.

Temperatures will push into the low 40s along and north of I-90, while areas further south stay in the mid and upper 30s.

Precipitation will move in from the northwest late in the afternoon and early in the evening. Most of this will fall as rain, but some higher elevations could see some sleet or snow mix in. Snow will become more common after midnight, but many lower elevations will remain rain into early Thursday morning.

Precipitation will pull out Thursday morning, but skies will remain rather cloudy throughout the day. Temperatures throughout the day will be in the low and mid 30s.

A second, stronger low will develop along the cold front associated with the weaker system, tracking from Texas Thursday afternoon to just north of Lake Ontario Saturday morning.

Precipitation will move in from the southwest Friday afternoon, likely starting as a period of freezing rain. Areas along and north of I-90 have the best shot at seeing plain rain from the start, while pockets of the Southern Tier and Central New York could see over a tenth of an inch of ice. This still remains a bit uncertain though, so continue to monitor the forecast.

Travel conditions late Friday will thus be hazardous but will improve during the overnight as warmer air moves in and all precipitation turns to rain.

Rainfall amounts could approach an inch in some areas, but flooding is not expected. Winds will also be gusty Friday night into Saturday, coming from the south with gusts over 30 mph.

Temperatures Saturday will push well into the 40s before dropping later in the afternoon.

Another weak system may bring some snow showers into the area on Sunday, but then a quiet pattern is expected for much of next week with temperatures generally above 35 degrees.

More Information:

» Finger Lakes Weather Radar

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finger lakes weather 7-day forecast tuesday december 29 2020This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected.

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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.