Winter Storm Monday PM Update: Phase 2 Forecast Adjustments

finger lakes weather forecast monday february 1 2021 snow map afternoon update winter storm noreaster
The snow map has been updated with a wider area of 8-12 inches across much of the immediate Finger Lakes region. Please read for full details on the different areas that will see heavy snow at different times, as well as the most uncertain areas.

Phase 2 Begins Tonight

The first phase of our winter storm is now behind us as low pressure continues to intensify off the coast of New Jersey.

The morning suite of models seems to have a good handle on the current conditions and continues the trends and consistencies from the last several previous runs of the models.

Based on these observations and projections, I have adjusted my snow map, mostly in that I have expanded the given zones so that more areas see significant snow.

Uncertainties remain, though, and there are many questions and uncertainties on the hyper-local scale that will almost certainly invalidate the map for some areas by the time things wrap up.

Before we get into that, let’s quick recap how the event will unfold from here.

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The coastal low will continue to strengthen as it remains parked off the coast of New Jersey well into Tuesday. The lack of movement from the low will allow heavy snow to spiral northwestward toward the Finger Lakes tonight.

The low will redevelop Tuesday night off the coast of Maine and slowly pull away to the northeast on Wednesday.

Snow will persist in the Finger Lakes through Tuesday and Tuesday night before coming to an end early Wednesday. The heaviest snow will fall tonight and early Tuesday morning. The snow should taper some Tuesday afternoon before intensifying again Tuesday night.

For most of Monday night, the snow should remain east of Canandaigua Lake, and especially east of Seneca Lake.

Tuesday morning, the heaviest snow will gradually shift northwestward, reaching as far as the Rochester area. Meanwhile, the snow may end for a time for areas near and southeast of an Ithaca-Cortland line.

Tuesday afternoon, most of the snow will be from Geneva and Penn Yan north and westward. Lighter, scattered snow will exist further south and east.

The snow will spread back to the southeast late Tuesday afternoon and Tuesday evening, with moderate to heavy snow throughout the region. The snow will slowly move east, focusing east of Seneca Lake Tuesday night. Light snow will continue to depart to the east Wednesday morning.

finger lakes weather forecast monday february 1 2021 snow map afternoon update winter storm noreaster
Same map as above, posted again for easier referencing.

Storm Impacts

Given the varying intensities, band locations, and long duration of this event, forecast confidence remains lower than normal.

That being said, the overall picture presented in the snow map above has a decent chance at playing out. The heaviest snow should fall across the heart of the Finger Lakes region, where there is at least a chance for amounts to exceed a foot.

Much of the region will see at least 4-8” with a large area seeing 8-12”, possibly spread across multiple rounds of snow. Lighter amounts will fall to the west and north of the Finger Lakes.

In the areas of highest uncertainty, the snow totals could easily depart the forecast either way, outperforming or underperforming the forecast. In these areas, I tended to go on the high end of a middle of the road forecast. These areas include southern Onondaga and northern Cortland counties, and the I-390 corridor, particularly from Dansville to Bath.

On top of the snow, wind gusts of 30 mph will cause blowing, drifting, and poor visibilities. Both commutes Tuesday will be slow going and sloppy, but worse in some areas than others. Wednesday morning’s commute will be worst in the eastern half of the region.

All in all, this event will be notable in its duration, but not overly extreme in its amounts, especially given the lengthy time frame. The snow will come down hard at times and end at others. Further adjustments to timing these shifts will likely be necessary as we head into Tuesday.

I will have another full blog post Tuesday morning, possibly with additional snow map(s) to capture the still-to-come sub-phases of this second part of the storm.

More Information:

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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 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. Shelly
    |

    Tuesday noonime I have to drive from Ithaca to Syracuse, to pick up a friend from the hospital.
    Am I reading correctly, that therewmay well be a lull in the syorm during that time along that particular corridor?

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      |

      Yes that is the current expectation and hope.

  2. Deborah Barr Stevens
    |

    Thank you Drew for keeping us updated and helping us to prepare.

  3. Melissa
    |

    What do you think about leaving for NYC around 9am on Wednesday? Treacherous or ok?

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      |

      Should be pretty good. May still be some light snow but not much.

  4. Dagmar P Nearpass
    |

    At least the Wunderground radar loops have shown snow off and on all day today, but not a flake since this morning. In fact it was sunny for a while, and the roads are clear. (northern Seneca county)

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      |

      Thanks for the ground-truth report! It is very helpful!

  5. Wendy Kryger
    |

    Looks like my clear roads, sunny sky drive from Binghamton to Elmira Tuesday morning went out the window…I moved it to Wednesday. 🙂

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
      |

      Yeah, once the energy came inland off the Pacific Ocean and the models had the extra observational data to work with, everything shifted quite dramatically.