Icy weather concerns later today and again Friday

finger lakes weather forecast wednesday december 30 2020 icy mix rain freezing rain snow
An icy mix of precipitation will fall over parts of the Finger Lakes late today with a more widespread and higher impact ice event late Friday. [Photo by Gwen Moshier]

Icy Mix Late

Two weeks ago it was snow, last week it was flooding, and now as we transition from 2020 to 2021, icy weather will create some difficulties in our region both late today and on Friday.

Today’s icy weather threat will come from a low pressure skirting across southern Canada. Some light snow is falling across the region this morning as the warm front associated with this system passes through.

Most of the morning and the first half of the afternoon will be dry. A glimpse of sunshine can’t be ruled out, but for the most part, it will just stay cloudy.

Temperatures will rise into the low 40s for areas along and north of I-90, and along and west of I-390 south to about Dansville. Mid and upper 30s are likely further south and east.

As precipitation begins to move in from the west during the latter half of the afternoon, temperatures will drop. For northern and western areas, it will still be warm enough for rain. But further south and east, sleet or freezing rain will fall.

The icy mix will spread east this evening, focusing on the areas roughly from and south of Elmira to Ithaca to Tully. A glaze of ice will be possible in these areas, making for hazardous travel conditions.

Meanwhile, to the west, colder air will begin to move in, changing the rain to a period of snow. This will happen throughout the region after 10 PM. Some of the western areas that initially see some ice this afternoon, such as Bath and Penn Yan, may turn over to rain before ultimately ending up as snow.

In all, less than an inch of snow will fall before it tapers off around dawn Thursday.

Given that this is a complex forecast with multiple precipitation types ongoing simultaneously, describing the variety of conditions within the text of this forecast discussion are difficult and inadequate. Please check your local zip-code based forecast zip-code based forecast for specifics on the general conditions expected for your area.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast wednesday december 30 2020
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.

Friday’s Ice and Weekend Weather

Thursday will be a quiet day with cloudy skies but no additional precipitation. Temperatures will reach a high in the mid 30s before temperatures drop back into the 20s during the evening.

While our weather is quiet, a low will strengthen as it tracks northeast from Texas.

Friday will start cloudy ahead of this low, but precipitation will begin to move in Friday afternoon. Unfortunately, high pressure to the northeast will keep supplying cool air at the surface, even as warmer air moves in aloft.

The result will be freezing rain spreading across most of the Finger Lakes late Friday afternoon into Friday evening. The best chance for plain rain will be across the I-90 corridor.

Significant icing looks possible across the southern half of the region, with amounts of a quarter-inch or greater possible. Travel Friday night will become difficult and some minor tree damage and isolated power outages could occur. Travel will be slick even further north, where ice amounts will stay under a tenth of an inch.

The precipitation will gradually turn to rain after midnight as temperatures slowly warm. By dawn Saturday, all precipitation should be rain.

Rain showers will continue Saturday as temperatures work into the 40s. Some late snow on the backside of the low may be possible, especially, across northern areas.

There will not be much of a break before the next system develops along the Mid-Atlantic coast. This looks to be a weaker system, but could it bring some minor snow accumulations to our area on Sunday.

Scattered light precipitation will be possible for much of next week, but the impacts from this activity will be minor. Most days will have temperatures well into the 30s.

More Information:

» Finger Lakes Weather Radar

» Finger Lakes Weather Radar

» Zip Code Forecasts

» Your Forecast
finger lakes weather 7-day forecast wednesday december 30 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.