Cold front brings rain today, snow tonight and Thursday

finger lakes weather forecast wednesday march 31 2021 snow map cold front
A widespread, elevation dependent 3-6 inches of snow is expected over the Finger Lakes overnight tonight into early Thursday behind a strong cold front this afternoon.

Storm Details

A strong cold front will move through the region today, followed by an area of snow tonight as low pressure strengthens along the front.

Out ahead of the front, temperatures are starting out mild this morning with most areas in the 50s. There are a few scattered showers across the region, but a wider area of steady rain was just to the south in Pennsylvania.

That rain will move northeast into the Finger Lakes for the mid and late morning hours before pushing east of the region by the early afternoon.

Additional showers, and possibly a thin line of heavier rain, will develop along the front and move through this afternoon. Immediately following the frontal passage, winds will turn from the south to the northwest and temperatures will drop.

Within 30 minutes of the frontal passage, temperatures will go from the upper 50s to the mid 40s.

A lull in the precipitation is likely following the front and lasting through much of the evening. However, low pressure will develop along the front to our southeast. Snow will develop and move northeast into the region around or just after midnight.

The snow will come down heard for several hours overnight as temperatures fall through the mid 30s and into the low 30s. Higher elevations may end up in the upper 20s before dawn.

Steady, heavy snow will continue into the early morning on Thursday before pulling to the northeast between 8-11 AM. Once the steadiest snow pulls out, a spray of lake enhanced snow showers will take over.

Overall, there are several factors that will help put a cap on snow amounts. Temperatures will start out above freezing and remain there longest over lower elevations. The snow will be wet and will easily compact. Snowflakes will not be the ideal shape for high accumulations. And, lastly, the steadiest, heavy snow will be relatively quick moving and short lived.

Most of the Finger Lakes will end up in a 3-6 inch range. Lower elevations are more likely to stick to 3 or 4 inches, while higher elevations will see upwards of 5 or 6 inches. A few isolated amounts up to 8 inches will be possible, especially in the hills south of Syracuse, and the western southern Tier.

Higher elevations in this case should be considered to roughly be around 1000 feet in elevation, with areas above 1600 feet the most likely to see over 6 inches.

The lowest amounts will be along Lake Ontario, and especially from near Rochester and westward, where just an inch or two will accumulate.

Most of the accumulation will take place by Thursday morning. Even though it will snow during the day Thursday, additional accumulations will be hard to come by.

Snow will taper off by Thursday evening, with just a few stray flurries lingering into early Friday morning.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast wednesday march 31 2021
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.

Behind the Snow

Skies will gradually clear out on Friday with clouds lingering longest over Central New York. Northwest winds will remain in place though, with gusts as high as 35 mph throughout the day.

Temperatures will start the day in the upper teens and low 20s. High temperatures on Friday will again be in the low to mid 30s.

Warmer air will start to move back in on Saturday. Most areas will be in the upper 40s or low 50s. A few higher elevations of Central New York will stick to the mid 40s.

Saturday will have a mix of sun and clouds. Clouds will thicken Saturday night, leading to temperatures starting Easter Sunday in the mid 30s.

A few showers will also be possible, mostly before sunrise Sunday, but possibly lingering into the morning for the I-81 corridor. The rest of the day will be mostly cloudy, but dry.

Temperatures will be warmest along and to the southwest of I-390, where highs will be in the mid 50s. The hills south of Syracuse will be the coolest, with highs in the mid 40s. Most areas will end up in the upper 40s and low 50s.

A few showers will be possible on Tuesday with a better chance for rain next Wednesday. Temperatures will generally stay near 50, except for Wednesday when a brief push into the 60s will be possible.

More Information:

» Finger Lakes Weather Radar

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finger lakes weather 7-day forecast wednesday march 31 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. When not working or playing with the boys, he is probably out for a run through the countryside.