Cold front brings gusty winds and lake effect today

finger lakes weather forecast wednesday december 22 2021 windy snow showers cold front lake effect
Most areas will see under an inch of snow today and tonight, but a narrow corridor could see several inches of accumulation from lake effect snow. [Photo by Gwen Moshier]

Small Window for Wintry Weather

A cold front will move through the Finger Lakes region this morning, leading to an increase in wind gusts and some narrow areas of lake effect snow.

The front itself will only have some scattered snow showers accompanying it. These snow showers should be brief but may put down a quick light dusting of snow. Some areas will probably be missed by most of the snow this morning.

Temperatures will reach their high point in the mid 30s as the front comes through. It will not be a dramatic drop behind the front, but most areas should be near or below 30 degrees for the afternoon hours.

West and west-northwest winds will set up behind the front and increase. Sustained wind speeds will be near 15 mph, with top gusts of 35-40 mph. The best chance for 40 mph wind gusts will be along the shore of Lake Ontario, over the Bristol Hills, and west of I-390.

Winds will turn more northwesterly and speeds will drop closer to 10 mph this evening. This will cause lake snows off Lake Ontario to pivot south into the region. A primary band of snow, aided by support from the Upper Great Lakes, will develop across the northern and northeastern Finger Lakes. Other narrow, weaker bands will also be possible, especially this evening.

The primary band will fluctuate in strength and position, but should focus in a corridor from eastern Wayne county, through central Cayuga county, and into southern Onondaga and northern Cortland County.

A core of 2-4 inch accumulations with localized amounts around 6 inches is likely. Pinpointing the location is much less certain. Areas such as Clyde, Auburn, Skaneateles, and Tully at least have the potential to end up with much snow, but it will be a narrow corridor of higher accumulations.

Immediately outside of this core, an inch or so will fall, with most other areas seeing under an inch of snow.

The lake effect may linger into the morning as it gradually drifts north and dissipates by midday Thursday.

Temperatures will start Thursday in the upper teens and low 20s, though some areas underneath the lake effect may hold in the mid 20s. Afternoon highs will average out to the low 30s, but a few areas will see mid 30s. Higher elevations of Central New York will stick to the mid and upper 20s.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast december 22 2021
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.

Warming Up for Christmas

After much of Thursday being quiet and rather cloudy, a warm front will approach during the evening.

Out ahead of the front, an area of widespread snow will move in, mostly after 9 PM. A general inch or so of accumulation can be expected. Temperatures will be near or below 30 degrees most of the night but will gain a couple degrees before sunrise.

South winds will blow on Friday for what will be a cloudy but quiet day. Temperatures will push into the low and mid 40s, and will hold in the mid and upper 30s for Christmas Eve.

Another batch of nighttime precipitation ahead of a warm front will move in Friday night, this time as rain showers. By sunrise Christmas Morning, temperatures will be in the mid 40s for roughly the western half of the region. To the east, upper 30s and low 40s are likely.

Rain showers will taper off to just a few isolated sprinkles for most of Christmas Day. High temperatures Saturday will be in the mid and upper 40s. South winds will remain with light speeds.

An active and highly uncertain pattern will develop thereafter. Daily chances for precipitation will continue for much of next week. The chances for rain will be higher than the chances for snow, but the questions come in the fine details of timing and ice chances.

Temperatures will continue to run above average with many days seeing highs in the 35 to 45 degree range.

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finger lakes weather 7-day forecast december 22 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.