Deepening cold brings lake effect squalls

finger lakes weather forecast thursday january 28 2021 lake effect snow squalls thursday evening
Lake effect will gradually weaken this morning, only to become locally intense this evening and overnight. [Stock Photo]

Snow Squalls

Another front in a series of waves of cold air moved through the area last night.

North-northwest winds in its wake have given birth to a spray of lake effect snow showers, including a narrow but intense Cayuga Lake squall. At 7 AM, this squall was directly over Ithaca, stretching east-southeast toward and beyond Owego.

Most areas will see no more than an inch of snow this morning, but within this squall, several inches may fall in a very localized area.

The lake snows will gradually shift east and weaken this morning as winds adjust slightly. The Cayuga Lake band should dissipate with the wind no longer blowing down the axis of the lake.

This afternoon, flurries will be contained mostly to areas near and east of Owasco Lake, while a second area of flurries develops late for areas west of I-390.

Temperatures are well into the teens this morning and will change little during the daytime hours. Expect mid teens throughout the day, but with wind gusts of 30 mph making it feel colder.

finger lakes weather forecast snow map thurdsay evening january 28 2021
Snow amounts during the evening and overnight could locally exceed 8 inches in southern Cayuga County with a widespread 1-4 inches falling across much of the Finger Lakes. Click to enlarge.

The atmosphere will become exceedingly primed for lake effect and snowflake growth tonight at the same time that the late day flurries begin to organize into a band of snow over the northern Finger Lakes. Aiding this band will be a snow band off the Georgian Bay of Lake Huron.

As early as 8 PM, a heavy squall will develop from northwest to southeast, stretching from western Wayne County to eastern Tompkins and western Cortland Counties. Over the next few hours, the band will continue to intensify as it slowly sinks south.

By midnight, the band will begin to weaken as it moves off the lake on its journey south. At this time, it should stretch from roughly Geneseo to Penn Yan to Whitney Point.

The band will pivot to the southwest after midnight with a new spray of light to moderate snow across the Finger Lakes. This will continue into Friday morning. Winds could become aligned for some Cayuga Lake enhancement once again tomorrow morning.

With the expected evolution of the band, the eastern end will serve as a pivot point and will not move as fast as the western end. Combined with topographical influences and very fluffy, rapidly accumulating snow, and some localized areas in southern Cayuga County could see over 8 inches of snow by 7 AM Friday.

Other areas that bear the brunt of the band this evening will see 4-8 inches, with a widespread 1-4 inches throughout much of the Finger Lakes. An additional 1-3 inches will be possible on Friday, though if any persistent bands develop, such as a Cayuga Lake band, locally higher amounts will be possible.

Wind gusts of 25-30 mph will also persist through the night, causing near white-out conditions within the band this evening and plenty of blowing and drifting snow through the night and well into Friday.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast thursday january 28 2021
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.

Cold Weekend Temperatures

Temperatures will fall into the mid and upper single digits by Friday morning with daytime highs near or below 10 degrees on Friday. Subzero wind chills will be likely throughout the day.

Snow showers will persist into Friday evening before slowly tapering down Friday night and Saturday morning. A few snow showers are likely to continue through Saturday afternoon.

Temperatures Saturday morning will range from 0 to 10 degrees with highs Saturday in the mid teens. Some clearing Saturday night will lead to temperatures of -5 to +5, but with some cold pockets getting even colder.

With at least partial sunshine on Sunday, high temperatures should get back into the low and mid 20s for most areas. Clouds will increase and thicken later in the day as a new weather system approaches.

The path and evolution of this system remain uncertain as we head into Monday and Tuesday. A miss or minor snow event still is the most likely scenario, but only at a 60-70% chance. Heavier snow amounts remain a reasonable possibility and one that will continue to be monitored closely.

Late next week, temperatures will warm as a weather system passes to our west. Highs have a good shot at getting into the 40s at some point next weekend.

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finger lakes weather 7-day forecast thursday january 28 2021This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected.

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Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
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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 and also run a goat milk soap business, Ye Olde Goat Cart. When not working or playing with the boys, he is probably out for a run through the countryside.

9 Responses

  1. Avatar
    Mike Smith
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    Drew, Thanks for the hype-free weather! Your site was recommended by a friend/customer of my shop. We now have it as our go-to weather info source. Thanks for what you do. Best Regards, Mike, Patterson’s Service Station, Ithaca NY

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      |

      Hi Mike! Thanks for the comment. I’m very glad I was recommended to you. I’m thrilled to be able to do this service ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Avatar
    James Hamilton
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    “Deeping cold,” Drew? The snow here in East Ithaca deepened a few inches this morning (beautiful Cayuga Lake effects!), but your use of “deeping” is pretty interesting. Is it different from deepening? My Oxford English Dictionary has “deeping” defined as “Each of the sections (a fathom deep) of which a fishing-net is composed,” but I can’t find “deeping” in any of my other 16 dictionaries. A typo, maybe? Or do you really see it in meteorological use?

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      |

      Yeah, should be deepening. That is what I get for trying to get a snow map in and still get things posted at a reasonable time ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. […] Drew Montreuil from Finger Lakes Weather says most of the region will see 1-4 inches, but localized areas of southern Cayuga County could […]

  4. Avatar
    Wendy Kryger
    |

    Hi Drew – Traveling from Binghamton to Elmira noon time and back on either Monday or Tuesday. Trying to determine which is looking better for driving. Thanks.

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      |

      Hi Wendy. If the system next week misses us, either day will be fine. If the storm moves in, Tuesday will likely be messy, while Monday will be more of a question based on how quickly the system moves in. Unfortunately, it is just too early to tell.

      • Avatar
        Wendy Kryger
        |

        How is Tuesday midday looking to drive from Binghamton to Elmira

        • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
          Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
          |

          While still not 100% certain, the chances of the storm system impacting our region are drastically decreasing, so most likely you will have dry roads and sunshine ๐Ÿ™‚