Sun and wind Friday, snow and wind Saturday

finger lakes weather forecast friday march 5 2021 windy snow cold warmer next week
After a sunny but nippy Friday, snow will move in tonight and persist through Saturday with more gusty winds. [Photo by Meteorologist Drew Montreuil]

Taste of Winter

For the next few days, the weather will feel wintry with chilly temperatures, blustery winds, and periods of lake effect snow.

Winds will be at their strongest today out ahead of a cold front tonight. Northwest winds will blow at around 15 mph with gusts as high as 40 mph.

The atmosphere is dry and hostile to lake effect, so few clouds and no precipitation are expected for much of the day. The sunshine will help temperatures to creep into the upper 20s and low 30s. A few higher elevations in the Southern Tier and Central New York will only reach the mid 20s.

Clouds will start to move in late this afternoon and this evening from the north. Snow showers will hold off until after sunset. The initial push of snow will be in the form of a band that will move from northeast to southwest during the evening hours.

This band will transition into lake effect by midnight with multiple bands of snow through the night. Transient lake effect bands will continue through the daytime hours Saturday and into the evening. It will not be until after midnight tomorrow that the snow starts to gradually dissipate. A few flurries may linger into Sunday morning.

The snow will often be widespread through the region, but the heaviest will fall in narrow bands that will travel throughout the region, not staying in any one place for very long. This will lead to widespread accumulations of 1-3 inches.

The best chance for locally higher amounts will be in Wayne, Cayuga, Onondaga, Cortland, and the northeastern half of Tompkins County. Maximum amounts should be near or under 6 inches.

Travel conditions on Saturday will likely be messy at times, so allow for extra time if out and about and prepare for rapidly changing conditions.

Winds will remain blustery as well, with gusts around 30 mph, still from the northwest. Areas of blowing and drifting snow should be expected. Temperatures on Saturday will be in the low and mid 20s.

Any lingering flurries early Sunday should quickly dissipate as dry air moves in and winds over Lake Ontario begin to shift. Sunny skies will develop and dominate most of the day. Winds will be much weaker, with gentle gusts at or under 20 mph.

Temperatures will reach the mid and upper 20s for highs, but will drop back into the single digits Sunday night.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast friday march 5 2021
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.

Taste of Spring

Next week, a rapid change in our weather will take place, reminding us that winter is in its final stages.

Winds will turn to the south and southwest early on Monday. Skies will be sunny with some clouds mixing in, but no precipitation is expected.

After starting in the single digits, temperatures will make a good effort to warm, reaching the upper 30s and low 40s. A 35-40 degree difference between the morning and afternoon is not unheard of during the springtime, but is on the upper edge of what we can expect.

Southwest wind will continue to drive warm air in, and temperatures will only drop a few degrees to the mid 30s Monday night. Sunny skies will continue the warming on Tuesday with highs well into the 50s.

Wednesday looks to be our best shot at breaking the 60 degree barrier. Sunshine will mix with a few clouds, especially later in the day. A few evening showers may be possible. Southwest winds will be steady, but not too strong.

There will be a better chance for rain showers on Thursday as a front approaches the region. Nonetheless, temperatures still have a shot at reaching at least 60 degrees.

Friday is less certain with the front draping west to east near or over the region. To the south, 60s will again be possible. To the north, 40s are more likely. A sharp gradient in temperature should be expected in between. Rain showers will continue to be possible.

Temperatures will eventually fall back into a pattern of 30s and 40s behind the warm air. Our weather pattern continues to look active, so there will still be plenty of opportunity for shots of snow during the second half of March.

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finger lakes weather 7-day forecast friday march 5 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.