Snow bookends today but will melt before Christmas

finger lakes weather forecast thursday december 23 2021
Christmas Day is looking mild but rainy, especially during the afternoon. [Photo by Gwen Moshier]

Thursday Snow

Lake effect snow this morning will diminish, but widespread light snow will move in tonight.

A band of lake effect snow has set up from just west of Rochester southeast through Ithaca and Binghamton.

The band of snow will wobble in its position some this morning but will mostly stay in these areas as it weakens and dissipates. Some areas could see another inch or so this morning.

Rapid weakening should take place during the latter half of the morning, and by the early afternoon, nothing more than a stray flurry will be left.

The demise of the band will be facilitated by a shift in the wind to the southwest ahead of a warm front that will approach this evening. Until that arrives, though, the weather will be quiet, albeit cloudy, this afternoon.

Temperatures will remain on the cool side with highs mostly in the low 30s. Areas near and east of Owasco Lake will remain in the 20s.

Widespread snow will move in after 8 PM tonight as the warm front moves in. An initial burst of snow may last an hour or two before a small lull. Then, steadier snow will fall for several hours overnight.

Total accumulations from the snow tonight will be one or two inches. A few localized areas may approach three inches.

The snow will be gone by dawn Friday. There should even be a little sunshine mixing with clouds for the first part of the day.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast thursday december 23 2021
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.

Mild for Christmas

Temperatures will quickly rise Friday morning once the sun is up. By noontime, most areas should be in the 40s. Afternoon highs will approach or eclipse 45 degrees for a large portion of the region.

Clouds will increase by the afternoon, but the daytime hours will remain dry. During the night of Christmas Eve, some light rain showers, drizzle, and pockets of freezing drizzle will be possible. The freezing drizzle will be limited to a few higher elevations, mostly in Central New York.

Temperatures will spend most of the night in the mid and upper 30s but will rise just before dawn. Low 40s will spread into areas such as Rochester, Canandaigua, Geneva, and Penn Yan.

Christmas Day on Saturday will again see highs reaching into the mid 40s. Scattered rain showers will be around in the morning, but it is looking increasingly rainy for the afternoon. Some areas could see upwards of a half-inch of rain by Saturday evening.

Gusty northwest winds will set up behind this system for Sunday, especially during the morning hours. Gusts over 30 mph are likely.

A limited response from Lake Ontario is expected with snow showers southeast of the lake. A few of the typically warmer areas could see a little rain mix in as well. Temperatures Sunday will top out in the mid 30s.

An unsettled, low confidence weather pattern is looking likely for next week. Multiple weather systems will move into the area. Depending on the timing and evolution of these systems, mixed precipitation will be possible as snow changes over to rain.

The most significant system looks to come late in the week. As things stand now, this stronger system will be more efficient at moving warm air north, so much of what falls would be rain in an appropriate closure to a very soggy year.

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finger lakes weather 7-day forecast thursday december 23 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.