Spits of precipitation today as warmer air nudges northward

finger lakes weather forecast tuesday march 16 2021 clouds rain snow freezing drizzle
Areas of light precipitation will drift through the Finger Lakes today, followed by areas of drizzle overnight. [Photo by Gwen Moshier]

Weak Spring System

A small push of warmer air will cause some light precipitation today across the Finger Lakes.

This area of warmer air is moving north ahead of the disorganized, weak remains of the storm system that brought over two feet of snow to Denver and other parts of the front range of the Rocky Mountains over the weekend.

Early this morning, the warmer air is just starting to work into southwestern New York. Cold air at the surface is holding tough, leading to some light freezing rain and snow showers southwest of the Finger Lakes.

Through the morning, this area of precipitation will become mostly snow as it tracks eastward across the southern half of the Finger Lakes. The snow will weaken as it moves east and should dissipate before it reaches I-81.

The best chance for a dusting of snow this morning will be across Allegany and Steuben counties.

Additional small areas of light snow will be possible this afternoon with no appreciable accumulations. Bits of rain may mix in from time to time.

Temperatures will work into the low 40s across the northern half of the region where precipitation is less likely. Across the southern half, expect upper 30s for highs. Temperatures will retreat to the low 30s tonight.

Bits of drizzle and freezing drizzle will be possible, but organized steady precipitation is unlikely. This may continue into early Wednesday.

Dry, warm air will eventually move in on Wednesday, ending the drizzle early on. Clouds will hang tough until the late afternoon, but light south and southwest winds will drive temperatures upward, anyway. Widespread 50s are likely, with most areas seeing at least 55 degrees.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast tuesday march 16 2021
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.

Rain, then briefly chilly ahead of big warm-up

A new weather system will be taking shape over the southern Plains today and will begin to move northeastward. Unfortunately, the first significant tornado outbreak of the year looks likely tomorrow across Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama.

By Thursday, the storm system will be tracking through the Ohio Valley. Rain is likely to arrive in the Finger Lakes sometime later Thursday morning or Thursday afternoon.

There is still some question about how far north the rain will reach with a strong high pressure system across the northern Great Lakes. The highest rain amounts will likely be across the Southern Tier, while the Lake Ontario shore most likely just sees light showers.

The rain will increase through Thursday afternoon with highs topping out in the low 40s. Cooler air will seep in from the northwest as the sun sets, and higher elevations may see the rain turn to snow.

The precipitation will be winding down at this point, so the window for accumulations is narrow. At this time, it seems like only higher elevations will see an inch or so, but this set up will continue to be monitored closely.

By Friday morning, the sun should be out as high pressure builds in. Temperatures will be on the cool side, with northwest winds keeping highs near 30. The wind may gust over 35 mph at times, especially during the morning.

The weekend will be characterized by sunshine and light winds. Temperatures will quickly climb, with highs in the mid 40s Saturday and possibly near 60 by Sunday.

This will kick off a longer stretch of warm weather that should last through next week. Most days should be at or above 55 degrees with 60s most likely Monday, Tuesday, and possibly Wednesday. Late in the week, precipitation will become possible again, which may hold temperatures to the 50s.

More Information:

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finger lakes weather 7-day forecast tuesday march 16 2021
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected.

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Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
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.