Sunny today, but weather pattern remains active

finger lakes weather forecast thursday february 4 2021 sunny high pressure snow freezing rain friday
Sunny skies will be common today, resulting in milder temperatures. Our next weather maker arrives early Friday with snow and a bit of freezing rain. [Photo by Gwen Moshier]

Temperatures Bump Up

An area of high pressure will move through the Finger Lakes today, resulting in a rare sunny day.

Skies are clear across most of the region to start the day. The one exception is for some lake effect clouds east of Cayuga Lake and south of Route 20. These clouds will mix with some sun and may linger into the afternoon before dissipating.

As the high moves overhead this afternoon, winds will become nearly calm. The lack of a northerly flow of air and the bright sunshine should help temperatures rise well into the 30s. This, in turn, should help compact the fluffy snowpack, so it will not seem like there is quite so much on the ground.

Thin clouds will start to arrive near and just after sunset, signaling the approach of our next weather maker. Temperatures will drop back into the 20s this evening, but south-southeast winds will pick up overnight and temperatures will return to near 30.

An area of snow will move in from the west between 3-6 AM. Some of this may mix with a little freezing rain. This area of precipitation should depart after just an hour or two with no more than an inch of slushy snow.

Still, the morning commute tomorrow may be a little slick, so use due caution.

A wedge of warm air will move in behind this precipitation, boosting temperatures into the upper 30s and even low 40s for the late morning and early afternoon. By the mid-afternoon, a cold front will bring an end to the warmup.

This front may be marked by a couple brief bursts of snow that could put down a quick light coating.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast thursday february 4 2021
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.

Parade of Systems and Lake Effect

Cold air will move in on southwest winds Friday night, triggering some lake effect off Lake Erie. At first, this band should stay northwest of even Rochester and Batavia.

By Saturday morning, the band will creep south and east. During most of Saturday, the band will stretch across the northern tier counties, mostly impacting an area near and north of a line roughly from Geneseo to Newark to Fulton. A few inches of snow could fall.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Finger Lakes will have partly cloudy skies and the occasional wayward band of snow. High temperatures will be in the mid and upper 20s.

On Sunday, there will be two systems in the eastern United States. The first will be moving through the Great Lakes and should bring a little light snow to the Finger Lakes. Second is a coastal low off the Carolinas that will move harmlessly out to sea.

That is the current expectation at least, but the two systems are still close enough that there is some concern they could phase up into a larger coastal system. This possibility was showing earlier in the week and has generated a large amount of hype and concern.

The next 24-36 hours will be telling in the forecasting of this system. The energy that will be responsible for the northern system is currently over northern Alaska, while the energy for the southern system is in the Gulf of Alaska.

As these systems move further inland over North America, the observational data on them will increase. This in turn will give more data to the models. Usually, this results in subtle changes in the forecast. Sometimes, like with our storm this week, the change is dramatic. As late as last Friday, our storm looked like a weak, non-event passing to our south. Obviously, that did not happen!

So, while it remains unlikely that another storm will develop, it is still too early to make any guarantees.

Additional weather systems are likely Monday and Tuesday. Depending on the path of these, temperatures could get a small boost and some rain could even mix in.

Cold air will ultimately win out next week, with highs in the teens starting Thursday and persisting into the weekend. Bouts of lake effect will be possible given the cold air, but it is too early to say which areas will be most favored for more snow.

More Information:

» Finger Lakes Weather Radar

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finger lakes weather 7-day forecast thursday february 4 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.

2 Responses

  1. Stuart G Staniford

    Did you mean “Gulf of Mexico” rather than “Gulf of Alaska”?

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Nope. The system in question is just south of Alaska in the north Pacific, which is why there is sparse observational data for it. It will dive south once inland over the western part of North America.