Afternoon rain showers today as warmer air surges northward again

finger lakes weather forecast wednesday december 15 2021 rain warm breezy
Temperatures Thursday will push 60 degrees before colder air moves in. Mixed precipitation is likely Saturday.

Warm Front

Another push of warm air will move into the Finger Lakes late today and into Thursday.

Ahead of this warm front, clouds will thicken this morning and rain showers will arrive this afternoon.

The rain will start from west to east during the early to mid afternoon. A second batch of showers will move in during the early evening hours. A few heavier downpours are possible in the second batch of showers, but any heavier rain will be brief.

With the showers and clouds, temperatures will be held to the low and mid 40s this afternoon. South-southeast winds will increase, especially over the hills south of Syracuse and the higher elevations around Canandaigua and Keuka Lakes. Some gusts of 35 mph are possible. Lower elevations will mostly see gusts around or under 30 mph.

The wind will shift slightly late today and tonight, becoming southerly or just west of due south. Top gusts over higher elevations will drop to around 30 mph with lower elevations under 30 mph.

Warmer air will start to move in. By sunrise Thursday, the lake plains of Lake Ontario will be near or above 50 degrees. Upper 40s are likely further southeast, with mid 40s across the Southern Tier east of Bath and into Cortland County.

South winds will continue Thursday with gusts of 25-35 mph. Again, the highest gusts will be over the higher elevations, at least until the late afternoon. Some breaks of sunshine will poke out between clouds and only a few stray showers are expected.

This will all add up to another warm day. The I-90 Corridor will be warmest with highs in the low 60s. Most other lower elevations will be in the upper 50s with mid 50s in the hills around the region.

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

Returning to Cold

A cold front will move through with little fanfare late in the day. Winds will turn more southwesterly and increase for areas west of Keuka Lake. A few gusts over 40 mph will be possible Thursday night, with gusts of 35-40 mph along the Lake Ontario shoreline. Gusts will mainly be under 30 mph elsewhere.

Temperatures will fall to the mid 30s Thursday night. Friday will still be above average, with highs in the mid 40s. It will be a dry day with sunshine through the morning and some thin clouds building in for the afternoon.

A sloppy Saturday is likely across the region as a small weather system moves west to east over northern Pennsylvania. Precipitation will spread north during the morning hours with the bulk of the precipitation coming in the afternoon.

An initial, brief period of snow is likely, followed by a chance for some freezing rain or sleet. Parts of the Southern Tier will likely change over to rain, while a few areas along and north of the Thruway may stay mainly snow.

The weather models frequently underestimate the warm air in these systems, leading to less snow and more ice or rain. I have already attempted to account for this in the forecast, but would not be surprised if the rain makes it further north and we see the entire area change over from snow at some point.

These details will continue to be fine-tuned over the coming days.

As the low presses eastward, cooler air will wrap back around the system and into our area, changing precipitation back to snow showers Saturday night and early Sunday. High temperatures on Sunday could struggle to reach 30 degrees in many areas.

High pressure will build in late Sunday and make stick around for much of next week. Temperatures will moderate slightly, with highs in the mid and upper 30s Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Our best chance for snow before Christmas will come with a strong cold front late next week. There probably will not be a large amount of accumulation, but it may be enough to turn things white.

Temperatures will turn colder as we get into the days surrounding Christmas, which means lake effect snow, too, could increase the odds of snow for Christmas. Stay tuned!

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