Friday Evening Winter Storm Musings

finger lakes weather forecast friday evening winter storm updates
A highly complex and uncertain forecast is shaping up for much of the Finger Lakes with a large gradient in snow amounts possible.

Winter Storm Updates

Winter Storm Watches remain in place across the Finger Lakes and surrounding areas Friday evening in anticipation of a strong winter storm that will impact much of the Eastern United States Sunday into Monday.

Low pressure is expected to track north inland from the Atlantic Coast through the Carolinas, Mid-Atlantic, and into eastern New York by Monday. A more eastward track will be prevented by a strong high pressure system off the coast of New England.

Such a track for the low immediately raised concerns for me of sleet mixing in over the eastern Finger Lakes, and for a wedge of dry air to end precipitation early over these same areas.

So far, the models simulating the storm have been large-scale global models. As the event draws near, smaller-scale models that run on a shorter timeframe are beginning to have several runs of data to rely on.

Sometimes these smaller-scale models can pick up on intricacies that the global models miss. One factor that the global models seem to miss time after time after time with these types of systems is the progression of warm air aloft into the eastern Finger Lakes.

At least one smaller scale model (the 12 KM NAM for those keeping score at home) is drastically keying in on what I have been expecting all along. Having this model, which I have a fair but not overwhelmingly supportive opinion of, mirroring what my experience tells me is giving me a boost in confidence in my thinking process.

Unfortunately, it makes for a complex and difficult forecast over most of the Finger Lakes region with a sharp gradient in snow amounts likely setting up over the area. To the west, it is a pretty straightforward forecast for Western New York: lots of snow. To the east, it is also fairly straightforward: not much snow.

When I publish my Snow Map tomorrow morning, some may be especially surprised at how low the snow projections are over the eastern and especially southeastern Finger Lakes. I have made these types of forecasts before, had a few people complain about overly playing down the forecast, and then ended up exactly right. My intent is not to downplay the forecast, but to simply get it right as much as possible.

I do not yet know what amounts I will be putting in these areas though, and more research on this and previous storms needs to be completed first.

The main point here is to give an early indication of my thinking and to head off the surprise that *may* come with a forecast that calls for quite a bit less snow than the hype this storm is generating may cause one to assume. Again, this is mainly an issue for the areas shaded in yellow on my map above, which admittedly covers most of the Finger Lakes region.

Stay tuned for more, starting with my snow accumulation map tomorrow morning and further updates through the weekend.

More Information:

» Finger Lakes Weather Radar

» Finger Lakes Weather Radar

» Zip Code Forecasts

» Your Forecast

» Friday Morning Full Forecast blog post

» Friday Morning Full Forecast blog post

» Get the FLX Weather Mobile App

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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.

  1. Lori Welsh

    Drew, thank you for your clear explanation of events like these!