Squally weather Friday, icy Sunday morning

finger lakes weather forecast friday january 8 2021 cold windy lake effect snow squalls freezing rain sunday
Winter Weather Advisories are in effect southeast of Lake Ontario for tonight, with additional alerts likely needed for Sunday. [Photo by Gwen Moshier]

Snow, wind, and cold

A strengthening low pressure system off the New England coast will cause winds to shift and increase across the Finger Lakes today.

Northwest winds will pick up speed to 10-15 mph by the midday hours with gusts around 30 mph. These winds will have two primary effects in increasing the cold air overhead and spreading lake effect snow south off Lake Ontario.

Early this morning, a band of lake effect was seen on radar just off the south shore of Lake Ontario. As winds shift this morning, this band will get caught up in the wind and will drop south as a snow squall.

The squall will be most intense across the northern half of the Finger Lakes with a brief but heavy burst of snow. The snow and wind will greatly reduce visibility and the quick accumulation on road surfaces will make travel slick.

As the squall heads south, it will gradually weaken during the midday and early afternoon hours with lesser impacts the further south it gets.

Additional lake effect snow will develop behind this, especially across Wayne, northern and central Cayuga, and Onondaga counties. The steadiest snow will come during the late afternoon and early evening. These areas should expect a general 2-4 inches with localized amounts of over 6 inches.

Outside of this main area of lake effect, on and off snow showers will be possible with accumulations generally an inch or less.

Any snow that falls, including the light amounts last night, will be blown around by the winds, causing locally reduced visibility and drifting onto roads.

Temperatures will only rise a couple degrees today, if even that, for highs in the low and mid 20s.

A large area of high pressure will build in tonight. Lake effect will gradually diminish overnight, though some lake effect clouds will still be hanging around early Saturday morning.

For areas that do clear out before dawn Saturday, morning lows will be near or just above 10 degrees with some colder pockets. Most of the Finger Lakes should start Saturday in the mid teens.

Sunshine will increase Saturday morning with only a few clouds skirting through the area Saturday afternoon. The center of the high pressure will move through during the morning, so winds will turn to the south and increase to 5-10 mph for the afternoon.

High temperatures on Saturday will generally be around 30 degrees, though higher elevations and most areas east of Cayuga Lake will be in the upper 20s.

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

Icy Sunday, Cold Early Week

The next weather maker will roll in during the predawn hours Sunday. Unfortunately, a period of freezing rain is likely, especially for areas east and south of about Penn Yan. To the north and west, the ice potential is less with temperatures rising into the mid 30s by sunrise.

Periods of freezing rain may persist across the southern and eastern Finger Lakes well into Sunday morning and possibly even the midday hours. Ice amounts are somewhat uncertain but should match or exceed the ice we saw last Sunday morning. Locally, up to a quarter-inch of ice cannot be ruled out.

Accompanying the freezing rain will be south wind gusts of 25-30 mph, especially over higher elevations. If ice loads approach a quarter-inch, the gusty winds and added weight may result in a few sporadic power outages.

Travel conditions will, of course, be slippery, and it would be best to avoid travel until the roads are properly treated and temperatures can get above freezing.

Ultimately, temperatures will range from the mid 30s to the low 40s Sunday afternoon with spotty rain showers. Showers will turn to flurries Sunday night as winds turn back to the northwest.

Lake effect snow on Monday mainly looks to be an issue for the Syracuse area and points northward, at least until the evening hours. Temperatures and winds will be similar to today, with low and mid 20s for highs and gusts to 30 mph.

Lake snows will move south Monday night into Tuesday, but the air will be dry and cold, so accumulations should be minimal. Still, it will be cold enough for road salt to lose its effectiveness, so slick travel conditions will be possible.

Low temperatures Tuesday and Wednesday morning will be near or just above zero. Highs Tuesday will struggle to reach 10 degrees, though Wednesday should bounce back to near 30.

No major weather systems are expected during the middle or latter parts of next week, though the weekend weather could be active once again.

More Information:

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finger lakes weather 7-day forecast friday janaury 7 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.

2 Responses

  1. LJR
    |

    Best forecaster in the finger lakes, no hype, no b.s., just the information we all need to plan our days. Thanks Drew.

  2. Jane Russell
    |

    Good Morning Drew
    Cold here in Pulteney, just a dusting of snow and sun peaking through layers of clouds. We can still see grass here. I am a happy camper with winter weather so far. Thanks for your reports. You have been right on with what is happening here.