Memorable storm slowly winds down

finger lakes weather forecast wednesday february 3 2021
Snow will gradually wind down today as the storm finally pulls away. [Photo by Gwen Moshier]

Final Stages

Snow continues to fall across much of the Finger Lakes this morning as a snow band remains parked over the area.

By now, the low pressure center of this storm is east of Maine and snow has cleared out of almost all of the Northeastern United States. The only exception is this lingering snow band, which stretches from the St. Lawrence Seaway to northeastern Pennsylvania.

Light to moderate snow will continue within this band this morning with an additional couple of inches falling. The band should slowly shift east. This may keep at least flurries in the area deep into the afternoon, especially for the eastern half of the region.

Northwest winds gusting to 30 mph will continue as well, creating areas of blowing and drifting snow. Travel conditions will remain poor, though the main roads should begin to improve through the morning.

This has certainly been a memorable event for its duration, intensity at times, and for having a mind of its own and consistently going outside of expectations. Even though some areas ultimately got into their predicted snow zones, it was for the wrong reasons. Many areas, including my house, vastly overshot the forecast.

This is the nature of science, but it is important to complete the scientific method by reviewing and learning from the event, which is something I will be doing for some time!

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast wednesday february 3 2021
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.

Looking Ahead

Eventually, the snow will stop and skies will begin to clear. For the western half of the Finger Lakes, a little sun will be possible before it sets today. To the east, the clearing will be less complete as it takes hold overnight.

A few areas of lake effect clouds will linger into early Thursday, but with no associated snowfall. Sunny skies will overspread the entire region during the morning and linger through the afternoon.

Temperatures will climb into the 30s Thursday afternoon. The I-390 corridor may reach into the upper 30s, while the I-81 corridor looks more like low 30s. The warmer temperatures and sunshine will help compact the fluffy snow from the storm, reducing the on-the-ground snow depth without melting much.

Thursday’s winds will start from the northwest at around 10 mph, but will weaken through the day. Calm winds are expected late before a turn to the southeast overnight.

Snow will move back into the area Friday morning as a warm front moves through. Little to no mixing is expected with other precipitation types, and only an inch or two of accumulation should fall.

Temperatures Friday afternoon should end up near 40 before dropping late in the day.

Cold air will move back in and some lake effect snow showers will develop for Saturday. With southwest winds, these will be most likely in the northwestern Finger Lakes, coming off Lake Erie. Highs Saturday will be in the low and mid 20s with a few pockets not even reaching 20 degrees.

Sunday has been prompting lots of questions due to another pending storm. The European model has backed off of the nor’easter potential altogether, instead showing a couple of minor, separate systems Sunday and Monday.

Just as it is too early to say a big storm will happen, so too is it too early to say nothing at all will come to pass, either. Continue to monitor the forecast and anticipate at least a chance for some light snow.

Cold air will exert itself again next week with daily highs near or below 20 degrees. A steady stream of lake effect clouds and snow should keep overnight temperatures above zero. Of course, this also means more snow accumulations will be possible. Stay tuned.

A Personal Note

A tremendous amount of work goes into forecasting a major storm, starting days before the first flakes fall. Monday evening, as Phase 2 started here in Groton, I was outside marveling that so many people not only rely on my forecasts, but put their finances behind their support, allowing me to follow my passion.

It is a truly humbling feeling, and I was just in awe of the support.

Tuesday morning, after forecasting, I checked my Facebook memories, and realized that it was on February 2, 2006…fifteen years ago yesterday…that I began my daily forecasting career while just a junior in high school by launching my first weather website.

Again, it was such an awesome feeling to realize how far this path has taken me and how many people I’ve had the honor of talking with and hopefully helping.

Then, as the morning went on, the forecast fell apart. The storm took a mind of its own. When it was supposed to ramp up, it died down. When it was supposed to wind down, it reached an unexpected peak in intensity and coverage.

In the past, such an occurrence would have greatly discouraged me. And while I now look at such occurrences through the lens of science and their inevitability, the kindness, support, and encouragement I received from so many of you once again overwhelmed me.

I am so truly honored to be able to serve and help you. I love being able to do what I do: making these forecasts, answering your questions, having a laugh with the good natured and appropriately placed humor in the comment threads.

This community we have built is so special, and I am only a small part of it. Without you, none of this would be possible. Without your loyalty, dedication, reports, comments, and support, Finger Lakes Weather would not exist.

To sum it all up, I cannot state enough how much I appreciate all you do for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

More Information:

» Finger Lakes Weather Radar

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» Your Forecast
finger lakes weather 7-day forecast wednesday february 3 2021This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected.

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.

27 Responses

  1. Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

    Thank you everyone for your comments! You exemplify exactly what I was talking about in my reflection. YOU are all awesome! Thanks!!

  2. Jim K

    Your map from late yesterday, indicating the band from Penn Yan, arcing up to Auburn and beyond, stayed in my mind as we traversed from Geneva through Ovid – hello Nebraska snow plains – and over to the Ithaca Mall was treacherous but your map informed my expectations, though the experience was beyond my wildest, especially in the morning. Thank you for that imprinted mental map, with the evolving but seemingly pretty accurate, blue smudge.

  3. Stuart

    Great job, Drew. We appreciate the detail — and the qualifications.

  4. Dawn

    That was just Mother Nature saying “hold my Pepsi, watch this!”

  5. Kelly Doolittle

    I loved your personal note Drew, and want to chime in with some others that nobody is perfect in what they do, but you are still the most accurate and honest, local weather forecaster we have and we are proud to support your work even if it is in small ways!

    I have a question for my favorite weather forecaster 🙂 I’ve always wondered if climate change would make it more difficult to predict the weather? Could that be a factor in this case, or is it typical for some storms to just confound the forecasters? I’d be interested in knowing what you think about that possibility. (There may be more involved in trying to explain that than you want to spend time on right now, lol, but I am curious….)
    Thanx for all you do for us!

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Hi Kelly! I personally am inclined to chalk it up to the fact that there is still a lot in meteorology that is unknown. Those knowledge gaps result in poor models and consistent model biases. The strides meteorology has made in the last 30 years, like so many branches of science, are truly impressive. Even the December storm, which was more straightforward, had models showing 30-40″ exactly where it happened…I just don’t think anyone (myself included) actually believed them!

      But we don’t know it all yet, not even close! And the more complex systems, like this one, is where things are more likely to break down.

  6. Lisa

    We rely on you and appreciate all you do ! Thank you Drew!,

  7. Matthew Glenn

    I found your website a while ago when you started sponsoring WEOS. My wife and I have a vegetable farm in Hector. I have come to rely on your forecasts and appreciate your format. As a farmer it certainly can be frustrating when forecasts don’t come true, but we are also constantly learning about our profession, too. Keep up the good work. We enjoy the blog posts immensely.

  8. Karen

    We are so fortunate to have you to turn to, Drew. The way you calmly and clearly explain the weather events in our area is not only helpful, but so interesting. Hopefully the rest of today’s weather will soon become boring — time to enjoy a good soak with Ye Olde Goat Cart products!

  9. john bruzdzinski


    In baseball, players make the Hall of Fame for getting a hit 3 times out of every 10 trips to the plate. In basketball players are paid $100,000’s for making a little bit more than half their shots. Nobody in ANY profession is successful 100% of the time. In regards to weather forecasting, you have a pretty darn good percentage of accurate forecasts. Better yet, you don’t buy into the hype game. This is why I, and many others, turn to you when we need to know what nature will bring us, especially when it comes to storms. Please…just keep doing what you have been doing. Your work is much appreciated by many.

    John B. in Syracuse

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Love the sports analogy! I am definitely going to use it on the next cynic who says “only job where you get paid to be wrong half that time!” haha!

      Storms like this hold a wealth of information and I can’t wait to see what I can learn in the days, weeks, and months ahead! 😀

  10. Laurel McIntyre

    Thank you for being with the weather and sharing with us, including through your Personal Note, with such thoughtful care and insight. We are fortunate for your honest and knowledgeable guidance in our community!

  11. Carole

    Drew, no apologies needed! The local tv meteorologists missed the mark by waaaaay more than you did, and were slower to admit to the shifts and changes! PLEASE keep doing exactly what you’ve been doing!

  12. Toni Andres

    You are so appreciated, Drew! Thank you for your honesty and humbleness. Mother Nature has a mind of her own and sometimes that mind changes and we are all surprised.

  13. Janet Reid

    Love you, Drew! your forecasts have been a tremendous help over the years. I may tease, but certainly realize that we are all still learning throughout our lives. Thank you!

  14. Marie-Ann Scala

    Aww Drew, we love you! You are not responsible for Nature’s tantrums 🤣
    I will always trust your forecasts over others, you’re more accurate 99.9% of the time.
    Thanks for doing what you do x

  15. Kirk Van Dee

    Drew, your forecasts are remarkable in their accuracy and honesty. You have proven yourself to be a superb meteorologist time after time. Thank you for providing such a valuable service.

  16. Bob Maxon

    I enjoyed your personal note very much! As an Oswego native, and fellow Cornell weather geek, I feel like I almost know you! Living in Connecticut, I don’t follow your forecasts all that often, but as a fellow forecaster….you perspective is shared and appreciated. Forecasting is a great challenge and the weather is going to do, what the weather is going to do! Keep up the great work as I have family in the area that depend on our updates and excellent forecasting!

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Thanks so much, Bob! I really appreciate that coming from a colleague in the field! Let me know if you are ever in the area…it would be great to meet up once this pandemic is a thing of the past!

  17. Valerie

    Your forecast for the storm was very helpful for us in Auburn. I knew to expect a lull, and that the intensity would increase later. We still got a lot of snow, especially later on in the evening. Thanks for all your hard work!

  18. Beth Bannister

    I love your personal note! Not only do I love the thoughtful, no-hype weather forecasts, but I love the feeling that this is a community. Thanks for creating that for us Drew!!!

  19. Ed McGraw

    Great job as always and thank you for your personal reflection. That reflection made me realize that you are in Groton. We designed a really interesting space at Groton HS for their STEAM program. They are doing amazing things there with their students. If you are able go talk with the Superintendent, she is a devoted and forward thinking educator and I’m sure the students would love your story and what you are doing. Be well!

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Hi Ed! Yes, there are some great things going on in Groton with the STEAM Lab! I’ve met Mrs. Martin a few times, and my brother and sister-in-law are both teachers in the district, and I’ve had an opportunity (pre-covid of course) to talk to a variety of groups of students.

  20. Deb

    Drew,. I found your forecast and revisions to be refreshingly honest and humorous. I appreciate you being candid and still on the job. Last I knew God was still in charge and Mother nature has no sense of humor.

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Amen to that, Deb!

  21. Gita Devi

    No need to apologize. You work so hard to get us the most reliable weather information, but you cannot control nature!
    I always look to your weather forecasts as you are honest in your reporting.

    Thank you.

  22. Josseline Alvarado

    Drew…your forecast was on point. The lake band took longer to reach the western part of NY. But those totals you had for us…were almost on point.