High pressure off the East Coast combined with a small weather system moving across southern Canada has resulted in warmer air returning to the Finger Lakes.
Some areas are as much as 30 degrees warmer than yesterday morning with temperatures already into the 30s in the Rochester area. Most places have warmed into the 20s, with a few upper teens hanging on in the southeastern Finger Lakes.
As the small Canadian system tracks east, it will set down a frontal boundary that will stall to our north. This front will lock the arctic cold to our north while milder air settles in for about 48 hours.
Temperatures today should work their way into the upper 30s for much of the area. If a little sunshine works out, some places may hit 40 degrees.
The sun will be limited, though, with the front nearby. The best chance for sun will be this morning across the southern half of the region. Most northern areas will see little to no sunshine today. A few flurries may even develop across the north this afternoon with little to no impact.
Occasional snow showers will continue tonight with a small area of steadier snow possible early Thursday morning in the southern half of the region. Again, the impacts from this snow should be minimal.
Thursday, too, will be cloudy and a few more flurries will be possible from time to time. Temperatures will return to the upper 30s after morning lows around 30 degrees.
Winds the next two days will be from a generally southerly direction, though some wobbles to the southwest or even west are possible today, and to the southeast tomorrow. Wind speeds will be stronger today, coming in around 10 mph, while tomorrow’s winds will be near or under 5 mph.
Snow showers will increase on Thursday night as the front finally begins to make its way southward. Less than an inch of accumulation is expected. By Friday morning, temperatures will be in the mid 20s.
Arctic Cold Returns
Blustery north winds will set up as the front passes through the area early Friday. Winds throughout Friday will be 10-15 mph with gusts of 25-30 mph.
The north wind will produce a few lake effect flurries, but a due north wind is not the best for lake effect. Accumulations should stay minimal.
Temperatures will fall throughout the day. Much of the afternoon will see temperatures in the teens with wind chills beginning to fall below zero.
Friday night, the winds over Lake Ontario may jog slightly to the west, pushing the lake effect clouds and flurries into the western Finger Lakes. This could expose areas east of Cayuga Lake to clear skies overnight.
If this happens, overnight temperatures in the I-81 region could be as low as -10 to -15 degrees. Winds will not be as strong, but may still have speeds up to 10 mph during the predawn hours. This would produce windchills to -30 and a Wind Chill Warning would likely be needed.
Further west, where the clouds are more likely, temperatures will be around 0 degrees with wind chills to -15 degrees, similar to yesterday.
Lake effect on Saturday will be limited to near the shore of Lake Ontario in Wayne and Monroe counties. Some non-lake effect clouds may also move through, keeping skies mostly cloudy. Without sunshine and with north winds continuing, highs Saturday will struggle, topping out in the single digits for most areas.
Temperatures Saturday night are less certain, but at least pockets of subzero evening temperatures are likely. In the coldest scenarios, Saturday night will mirror Friday night, just without the gusty winds.
Sunshine looks to dominate our weather on Sunday with winds swinging around to the south or southeast. Temperatures will return to a more tolerable level in the mid 20s.
The sunshine may turn out to be a deceptive trick, with an increasing chance for a strong winter storm along the East Coast on Monday.
For the Finger Lakes, the chances of a heavy snowfall and a complete miss are about 50-50 right now with little middle ground showing on the models. This has been a dramatic shift towards the snow in the models over the last 24 hours, yet all major models are showing the possibility.
Obviously, uncertainty is high, and the hype is sure to start flying, if it has not already. The next couple of days should be very revealing, so stay tuned here for the latest honest analysis.
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This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected.
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