Lake Effect Snow Updates
Since this morning’s update, I have continued to monitor the progress of lake effect developing off Lake Ontario and how the models are evolving with the forecast.
As such, and given several Winter Weather Advisories issued by the National Weather Service, I’ve gone ahead and made a snow map for tonight.
For a refresher, lake effect will become better organized this evening east of Lake Ontario. As winds shift, the band will come south. This morning, I expected the band to mainly stay over Oswego County until after midnight. I have revised that slightly and think the band will make it into far northeastern Wayne, far northern Cayuga, and far northern Onondaga County prior to midnight tonight.
These areas will see the highest snow rates and the longest duration of snow. Accumulations of 4-8 inches are likely, though a few localized amounts could be even a bit higher.
The band is still expected to continue south after midnight and lose its organization. An inch or two of snow will still be possible across northern Wayne, a good portion of Cayuga, and all of Onondaga counties.
As always, lake effect can be highly variable with vastly different amounts in nearby locations. As such, lake effect snow maps almost never have a HIGH confidence rating. But, there are unlikely to be any major deviations from the overall idea, so a MEDIUM confidence rating is appropriate.
I am aware that this snow map does not necessarily jive with the Winter Weather Advisories issued by the National Weather Service. I cannot speak to their forecasts or decisions, only my own work and experience.
Travel conditions could be tricky later this evening and through the overnight in the areas of heavy snow and higher accumulations. Most of these areas should see the snow diminish by the morning commute and conditions will improve.
Further south, as the band weakens and becomes more on and off, travel conditions should generally remain in fair shape. Some brief periods of low visibility are likely, and roads may briefly get a light coating of snow. Rural roads, as usual, are the most likely to stay messy during the morning commute.
Given that, for most areas, this will be the first snow where it is cold enough for on-road accumulations, take it easy and use extra caution as you get used to winter driving conditions once again. Even the most seasoned winter weather drivers can use a break-in period to get used to snowy roads at the start of a new season.
As usual with a northwest wind lake effect event, most of the Finger Lakes will see a few flurries or brief snow showers but with little impact.
The snow will dissipate over the course of Tuesday morning as it continues to push southward with little to no accumulation.