Arctic front brings winter’s winds and scattered squalls

finger lakes weather forecast monday march 1 2021 arctic front squalls windy
Strong winds and intense, brief squalls late this afternoon and evening will make for periods of hazardous travel. [Photo by Meteorologist drew Montreuil]

Wintry Surge

The Finger Lakes will get a brief reminder that Winter will not simply go away quietly as an arctic cold front moves through the region today.

Already this morning, one cold front has moved through the region with some rain showers. Temperatures have already reached their daily highs and will slowly back through the 30s during the daytime hours today. By 6 PM, all of the area should be down into the low and mid 20s.

As the temperatures fall, northwest winds will steadily increase through the day today. Winds this afternoon will be 15-20 mph with gusts of 35-45 mph. Winds will reach their peak this evening, when gusts may approach 50 mph, especially over higher elevation. Wind gusts will drop to 30-40 mph overnight.

To highlight the wind risk, a Wind Advisory has been issued for the entire region. This is a lower class than a High Wind Warning would be and is issued for strong winds that could blow around loose objects and take down weak branches or trees.

With the first front already through the region, precipitation will be limited for much of the day. A stray morning shower or early afternoon flurry will be possible. So too, however, will be some breaks of sunshine.

As the second front approaches, conditions in the atmosphere will become more favorable for snow squalls. After 3 PM, scattered but intense squalls should start to show up. These will be short lived, but intense.

Heavy snow rates will combine with the strong winds to greatly reduce visibility within the squalls. A rapid inch of accumulation will also contribute, making travel hazardous. Be on the lookout for Snow Squall Warnings, and if a warning is issued for your area, avoid travel until the squall has passed.

The intensity of the squalls remain high into the early evening, but should drop thereafter. Several bands of lake effect snow will continue through the overnight before dissipating early Tuesday.

By dawn, temperatures will range from 5 to 15 degrees. Snow accumulations will vary greatly thanks to the nature of the lake effect. The best chance for three to six inches of accumulation will be across southern Cayuga, southern Onondaga, and northern Cortland County. The rest of the region should vary between a coating to locally three inches of accumulation.

Tuesday will gradually turn sunny and less windy. High temperatures will be held to the mid 20s for most, though the Rochester area may flirt with 30 degrees, and the higher elevations of Central New York will be locked in the low 20s.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecat monday march 1 2021
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.

Up Down Up

As quick as the cold air arrives, it will disappear and then come back.

By Tuesday evening, winds will be turning to the south and southwest. Despite clear skies Tuesday night, temperatures will change little.

Sunshine will remain plentiful on Wednesday, allowing the south winds to reach their full warming potential. Highs will range through the low and mid 40s.

A subtle cold front will move through Wednesday night. Little to no precipitation is expected with the front, but winds will turn back to the north and northwest. Gusts could approach 30 mph on Thursday. Clouds in the morning will give way to some sun. A few lake effect snow showers could be possible as well.

Temperatures will go right back down, with highs Thursday in the mid and upper 20s. Friday will only be a touch warmer, with upper 20s and low 30s. Another sunny day is expected, though.

In fact, sunshine should stick around through the weekend and into early next week at least. Temperatures will continue to struggle, with highs remaining in the 20s or 30s Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

Beyond that though, Spring will flex its muscles with above average temperatures becoming increasingly likely thereafter.

More Information:

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finger lakes weather 7-day forecat monday march 1 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 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.