A cold front is moving through the Finger Lakes region Friday morning, setting the stage for a chilly weekend.
Temperatures ahead of the front remain in the 20s with little to no cooling taking place overnight. In Western New York, where the front is making slow by steady progress early this morning, temperatures have fallen into the teens.
The front will move through this morning with scattered snow showers and a few brief, heavier bursts. The snow is disorganized, so not all locations will see snow bursts, and those that do should only see brief impacts.
As the front clears the area, snow showers will decrease for the afternoon hours. The snow will linger longest over the Southern Tier. By the evening, the area should be free of snow, outside of perhaps a stray flurry here or there.
In all, snow accumulations today will mostly be around or under an inch.
The cooler air behind the front will be offset slightly by the daytime heating cycle. Still, the cooler air will win out, with a slow drop in temperatures today. By the time the sun sets, most areas should be in the mid teens.
Clouds will not clear out tonight, thanks in part to a powerful coastal storm. Snow from this system will stay far to our east, but some clouds and an increase in northwest winds are likely, especially in the eastern half of the region.
Wind gusts through the night will remain under 25 mph but will increase Saturday morning and into Saturday afternoon. Gusts over 35 mph will be possible across the southeastern quadrant of the region.
The winds will combine with cold temperatures to produce hazardous wind chills. With morning lows Saturday within a couple degrees on either side of zero, wind chills could end up in the -15 to -25 degree range. This has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a Wind Chill Advisory for most of the area.
Even as afternoon temperatures rise to around 10 degrees on Saturday, wind chills will still be slightly below zero.
Clouds from the coastal storm will depart Saturday night, but some lake effect clouds may develop, accompanied by a few stray flurries. The clouds, plus the still present, but not as strong wind, will again hold nighttime temperatures around zero degrees.
Sunday will still have a few flurries around as limited lake effect continues. Outside of the light snow, some sun may shine. Temperatures will warm to around 20 degrees in the afternoon.
Uncertainties Increase Next Week
The forecast for next week has trended towards a more active, messier pattern with several points of uncertainty.
Monday and Tuesday remain relatively quiet and unchanged, at least until late Tuesday. The weather Monday should be quiet with sunshine mixing with a few clouds. Highs will work their way to around 30 degrees, with light south and southeast winds.
Winds will increase from the south on Tuesday with gusts over 30 mph possible. Temperatures will push to around 40 degrees with some early sun. Clouds will increase and a few rain showers will be possible late. A little snow could mix in.
A front will then set up nearby and stall out for Wednesday. Low pressure will track along this front, but its strength and eventual track are uncertain and could result in meaningful weather in our region.
The trend has been for the front to set up to our south on Wednesday, allowing snow to fall with temperatures in the mid 30s. Several inches could be possible in this scenario.
The precipitation should eventually turn to rain, though this is not an absolute certainty at this point.
If this system evolves into a strong, large system, there are multiple paths to hazardous weather. These range from rain and warm temperatures, which could cause ice jams on area rivers, to freezing rain, to snow. If the system stays weaker, then the chances for hazardous weather will be lower.
The bottom line is the keep an eye on the forecast for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday next week, but to know that uncertainty is extremely high at this point with a wide variety of scenarios possible.