Cold air intensifies with some periods of lake effect snow

finger lakes weather forecast wednesday january 27 2021 cold snow lake effect snow
The coldest air yet this winter will move in for the end of the week, resulting in a few periods of lake effect snow. [Photo by Anne Hyland Woodard]

Waves of Cold

Several reinforcing shots of cold air will send temperatures to levels not seen yet this winter for the end of the week and weekend.

Winds are out of the northwest behind yesterday’s weather maker, bringing in the first of the cooler air.

Combined with overcast skies, the wind will keep temperatures from rising much if at all during the daytime hours today, a pattern that will become a common refrain for the next few days.

Therefore, most areas should hover in the mid 20s throughout the daytime hours today.

Snow from yesterday’s system pulled out early this morning, and conditions for lake effect are marginal at best today. A few more flurries will be possible this morning with no accumulation expected.

Snow showers will increase this evening and overnight as the next push of colder air moves in. A spray of lake effect snow showers south of Lake Ontario will bring an inch or so of fluff by Thursday morning.

Temperatures will fall to the low and mid teens by dawn Thursday with little to no change through the daytime hours. The northwest winds will become blustery with daytime gusts around 30 mph.

Lake effect snow showers will dissipate during the morning with just a few flurries in Cayuga, Onondaga, and Cortland counties by the afternoon.

As the final push of cold air moves in Thursday evening, conditions for lake effect will rapidly improve. A connection to the Georgian Bay off Lake Huron is also possible, resulting in a narrow but strong band of lake effect.

With cold temperatures and ideal snowflake growth, snowfall rates could easily exceed an inch per hour. The position of the band is slightly uncertain this far in advance, but Wayne, northern Seneca, southern Cayuga, northern Tompkins, and Cortland counties are most likely to see heavy snow Thursday evening and overnight. Maximum accumulations could approach a foot of very fluffy snow.

Winds turn more northerly by Friday morning, removing the strong band from the area and resulting in a broader spray of snow showers. This will weaken through the morning and shift northeastward.

Temperatures Friday will start in the low and mid single digits with highs not reaching 10 degrees for most areas. Winds will remain blustery, but not quite as strong as on Thursday.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast wednesday janaury 27 2021
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.

Cold Weekend Before Temperatures Moderate

Lake effect snow will probably flair up again Friday evening and Friday night with a spray of snow showers throughout the Finger Lakes. The snow will linger into early Saturday before gradually dissipating.

Saturday’s temperatures will only gain a couple degrees on Friday, with highs mostly in the low teens.

High pressure will move in Saturday night, both disrupting the winds off of the Great Lakes and diminishing the atmospheric conditions that lead to lake effect. Skies should gradually clear, allowing the bottom to fall out on our temperatures.

By Sunday morning, sub-zero readings will be widespread, with only immediate lake shore locations managing to stay above 0 degrees. Typically colder areas far from any lake influences could drop as low as -10 to -15 degrees, especially in Central New York.

Sunshine during the day Sunday will help temperatures rise rapidly. Still, highs will only manage the upper teens and low 20s. By Monday, 30s could return.

The bigger question on Monday will be the path of a weather system along the Mid-Atlantic coast. The most likely scenario is for little to no snow from this system, but there is enough uncertainty that a moderate to heavy snow event is not out of the question.

Temperatures for most of next week will be typical for early February with highs in the 30s or perhaps upper half of the 20s. Milder weather, and possibly some rain, will be possible by next weekend. Some areas could see highs in the 40s.

More Information:

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finger lakes weather 7-day forecast wednesday janaury 27 2021This 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.