Not as warm this week, but not too chilly either

finger lakes weather forecast monday march 15 2021 sunny high pressure chilly
Monday will be the coolest day of the week and Wednesday the warmest. Precipitation will be possible Tuesday and Thursday. [Photo by Gwen Moshier]

High Pressure in Control

Our week will get off to a sunny but chilly start thanks to a large area of high pressure.

This morning, the high is situated north of the Upper Great Lakes. Northwest winds ahead of the high will keep temperatures at bay, but the winds will be weakening through the day.

Temperatures will be coolest to the southeast of Lake Ontario with mid 20s for highs along the shore of the lake and into areas east of Cayuga Lake. Highs will be closer to 30 degrees further to the south and west.

The wind will go calm for a brief time early this evening before it picks up again from the southeast as the high pressure system passes through the region. These southeast winds should help hold temperatures in the low 20s overnight.

A few thin clouds will move in tonight and will gradually thicken on Tuesday. These clouds will be in response to an approaching, but decaying weather system. Precipitation may arrive Tuesday afternoon with a quick burst of snow, but otherwise, just light precipitation is expected.

High temperatures Tuesday will partly depend on the incoming precipitation but should be in the low 40s across the northern half of the area with upper 30s to the south.

Warmer air will start to move in aloft Tuesday night while surface temperatures fall to around freezing. This could lead to some spotty freezing drizzle, especially in the higher elevations. This will persist through Tuesday night and into early Wednesday before drier air starts to build in.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast monday march 15 2021
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.

Late Week Uncertainties

Wednesday should end up as the warmest day of the workweek as clouds gradually mix with sunshine and light south winds blow. Look for afternoon highs in the upper 40s, though a few places will probably make it to 50 degrees.

If more sunshine is able to work out, low 50s would become more likely.

Low pressure will move into the Ohio Valley on Thursday while another strong high pressure builds into the northern Great Lakes. These two systems will battle for influence over our region, leading to an uncertain forecast.

At this time, the most likely scenario will be for increasing clouds early Thursday with rain arriving in the afternoon. The further south, the better the chances for rain.

If the low is able to track far enough north, some heavy rain could end up falling, but this seems like a low probability at this time. On the flip side, if the high is strong enough and well positioned, all the rain could stay south.

In the most complicated, and therefore least likely scenario, rain moves into the region, then turns to snow late Thursday night.

Regardless, this system should be on its way out early Friday. Skies will gradually turn sunny and highs will settle in the mid 30s in the cool northwesterly flow behind the low.

There are strong indications of another warm period thereafter as the high passes to our east and pumps warm air back to the north. Highs Saturday should be well into the 40s and Sunday should be well into the 50s.

Temperatures should remain at least that warm for much of next week, though it seems pretty likely that 60s will push back into the region for at least a day or two.

More Information:

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finger lakes weather 7-day forecast monday march 15 2021
This 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.