Light snow clips region Sunday night but bigger snow possible into Tuesday

finger lakes weather forecast snow map sunday january 31 2021 monday february 1 2021
Snow will move into the Southern Tier Sunday evening and linger into early Monday. Additional snow, maybe heavy, is possible Tuesday, but highly uncertain.

Pattern Overview

A complicated weather pattern will unfold across the Northeastern United States over the next several days with areas of significant snowfall, possibly in the Finger Lakes region.

A storm system impacted California and the West Coast earlier this week. The primary bundle of energy in the atmosphere responsible for that system moved inland off the Pacific Ocean yesterday.

Once inland, the amount of observational data on this system greatly increased. This additional data was incorporated into the models, which have shifted the thinking on the weather over the Northeast for the early week period.

Now, a strengthening low is moving across Missouri and will pass into the Ohio Valley tomorrow before redeveloping along the coast of the Carolinas Sunday night. This low will move north before stalling near the shore of Delaware, where it will remain through much of Tuesday.

With this pattern, there are two Phases of possible impacts in the Finger Lakes. Phase 1 will run from late Sunday afternoon into early Monday afternoon. Phase 2 will be possible late Monday night, through Tuesday, and possibly even into Wednesday.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast saturday january 30 2021
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.


Phase 1 will mainly be a light snow event restricted to the Southern Tier. Dry air from the high pressure overhead this evening will limit the northward progression of the snow late tomorrow.

Light snow may start near the Pennsylvania state line just before sunset tomorrow, gradually spreading north in the evening. The snow should make it about half way through the Finger Lakes, but is unlikely to spread further.

Snow accumulations for Phase 1 are shown on the map at the top of the page. The best chance for over an inch will be near and south of Dansville and Ithaca. Over two inches may fall closer to the state line. Little to no accumulation is expected to the north.

The commute Monday morning may be a little sloppy on secondary roads across the Southern Tier, but no major problems are expected.

Most of Monday will then turn out quiet as the coastal storm becomes the primary low. As the low stalls, bands of snow will work northwest. How far they make it into the Finger Lakes, if at all, remains to be seen. A wide variety of possibilities exist.

If snow arrives, it should begin after midnight Monday night. At its latest, it could snow steadily through Tuesday and into early Wednesday.

Expected accumulations from Phase 2 are all over the place, depending on the progression and evolution of the bands. It is conceivable that the bands do not make it to the Finger Lakes, or only clip the eastern areas. On the flip side, a worst-case scenario would be for a heavy snow band to move overhead and sit for many hours.

As such, it is too early to give snow amount predictions for Phase 2. Significant snow may be possible on Tuesday into Wednesday, so it is prudent to prepare for that, even if it does not come to pass.

I am hopeful that I will be able to post an update sometime Sunday, preferably later in the day after the morning runs of the models are available, for Phase 2 of the storm. I do not expect to need to adjust the Phase 1 forecast.

Stay tuned.

More Information:

» Finger Lakes Weather Radar

» Finger Lakes Weather Radar

» Zip Code Forecasts

» Your Forecast
finger lakes weather 7-day forecast saturday january 30 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.