Cold front brings showers today, flurries and wind tomorrow

finger lakes weather forecast thursday november 18 2021 cold front rain lake effect snow tonight
Temperatures will drop this afternoon after a mild start to the day. [Photo by Tracy Marisa]

Dropping Temperatures

The day is off to a mild start across the Finger Lakes with widespread temperatures in the 50s.

However, the cold front is already sweeping through Western New York, causing temperatures to quickly drop into the mid 40s.

The rain associated with the front is scattered across our region so far this morning. The rain will be slow to move east but will gradually become more widespread as it does so this morning. Areas east of roughly Elmira-Ithaca-Cortland may not see the rain begin until the early afternoon.

Once the rain starts in an area, it will continue for several hours. The further west, the higher the chance for some breaks between showers. Most of the region will end up with steady rain, though.

Temperatures will remain in the mid or even upper 50s until the front moves through. By the late afternoon, it will only be in the low 40s.

Winds will be from the south and southwest at around 10 mph until the front switches the winds to the west. Wind speeds will temporarily drop before resuming at around 10 mph.

Lake effect snow will develop east of the Great Lakes this evening as temperatures fall into the 30s. A spray of snow showers will come off Lake Erie and across the southern two-thirds of the region. The axis of these snow showers will pivot south and will mainly impact the Southern Tier after midnight. The Lake Ontario band will stay well north of the area.

Most areas will see either a light coating of snow, or no accumulation at all. Wyoming and Allegany counties could see a few inches in localized areas.

By Friday morning, much of the Lake Erie snow will be south into Pennsylvania. The Lake Ontario band will be approaching from the north, but still out of the region. Therefore, most areas will have a dry morning with some sun poking out between clouds.

Morning lows will range between the upper 20s and low 30s. The wind will kick up after sunrise as it pivots to the west-northwest, and then northwest. By midday, wind speeds will be around 15 mph with gusts around 35 mph.

The Lake Ontario band will drop south for the afternoon but will become disorganized and weaken. Flurries will be possible everywhere with some brief heavier bursts across the northeastern quadrant of the region. These snow showers may briefly turn the ground white, but the accumulation probably will not last long after the individual shower moves out.

Highs on Friday will be near or just above 40 degrees for most areas with upper 30s in the higher elevations.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast thursday november 18 2021
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.

Weekend Weather and Pre-Thanksgiving Hype

High pressure will build in Friday night and should disrupt most of the lake effect. Winds will gradually turn to the southwest, but clearing skies will have the bigger impact on our nighttime temperatures. Look for Saturday morning lows in the mid and upper 20s for all but the immediate lakeshore areas. Even those areas will struggle to stay much warmer than about 30 degrees.

Clouds will already be making their way in before the sun rises on Saturday. The clouds may be thin enough for some early sunshine to filter through but will quickly thicken by midday. The afternoon will be gray but dry.

Winds will turn to the south with speeds around 10 mph. That will help temperatures rise to the low and mid 40s. The clouds and winds will stick around Saturday night, holding nighttime temperatures in the upper 30s and low 40s.

The next weather maker will move in Sunday afternoon with rain showers. The rain will become steadiest Sunday night before tapering off gradually Monday morning. There may be some lake effect over the far western areas Monday afternoon.

Snow showers will become more common on Tuesday as some energy rotates around the parent low pressure system responsible for the unsettled weather.

Earlier this week, there were hints on the models of a more significant storm system developing on Tuesday or Wednesday. All week, I have cautioned to be wary of pre-Thanksgiving hype. Not surprisingly, the models are abandoning this idea, yet the hype machine is cranking in full force.

I will continue to monitor the weather next week, just as I always monitor how the models evolve and shift. Right now, though, I find it quite unlikely that our pre-Thanksgiving weather will be anything particularly noteworthy.

Temperatures will become chilly, especially on Tuesday, when highs will be in the upper 20s to near 30. Thanksgiving looks cloudy with a few rain or snow showers possible and highs in the upper 30s and low 40s.

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finger lakes weather 7-day forecast thursday november 18 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.