A large area of high pressure extends up and down the East Coast this morning but is centered just to our east over New England,
This high pressure will hold its position for the next several days and will become an important factor in our weather later this week.
For now, the high will ensure a couple of quiet days.
Mostly sunny skies are likely today. Residing so close to the center of the high, winds will be minimal, with just a whisper of a southeasterly breeze.
Temperatures are yet again starting in the single digits and negatives this morning. The sunshine especially will help afternoon temperatures into the mid and upper 20s.
Skies will remain mostly clear tonight, but winds will increase to 5-10 mph, still from the southeast. This will keep temperatures a bit warmer with mostly low and mid teens and pockets of single-digit temperatures.
Tuesday will have an increase in thin cloud cover, but it still should be rather sunny. Winds will become a bit more southerly, though there will still be a slight east component to the direction. Winds speeds will increase to 10-15 mph with gusts of 25-35 mph, especially late in the day and Tuesday evening. The strongest gusts are expected over the higher elevations.
High temperatures on Tuesday will make it into the 30s. Lower elevations will be in the low 30s, while the Rochester area could reach the upper 30s. Most will see highs somewhere close to 35 degrees.
Clouds will thicken overnight, but a little sun may still be possible early Wednesday. By this time, high pressure will be off the New England coast with a southerly flow over the eastern United States, while a strong Canadian high builds into the northern Plains with north winds over the Great Lakes.
In between, the clashing air masses will result in a slow moving frontal boundary that will serve as a focal point for precipitation late this week.
High Impact Late Week Weather
The first bits of precipitation should fall late Wednesday, mostly as rain. At this point, the front will still be to our west, so most of Wednesday should be dry, albeit cloudy, with highs around 40.
The front should slide overhead on Thursday with mainly light precipitation at first. Rain will start to change to snow from northwest to southeast, but how far the rain-snow line makes it is just one of many uncertainties.
Precipitation will intensify Thursday afternoon, as will the temperature gradient over the area with the front stalling out. Heavy precipitation is likely through Thursday night and into early Friday morning. The precipitation should end as light snow during the day on Friday.
There are several important yet virtually impossible-to-answers questions that will have a huge impact on how this system unfolds. The precise location of the front and its gradual eastward drift will be the key to everything. However, even removing the frontal position from the equation, there are questions on how the temperatures in the lower levels of the atmosphere set up.
It seems likely that high-impact precipitation will fall Thursday afternoon through early Friday morning.
Heavy snow is most likely across the northern and western halves of the region. Everything is on the table for the southeastern half, ranging from rain (least likely) to heavy snow (next least likely) to an icy mix (most likely, at least part of the time). Whether the ice falls as sleet (medium impact) or turns into a major freezing rain event (high impact) remains a significant question that will be very difficult to key in on.
The bottom line as it stands right now is to expect high-impact weather from Thursday afternoon through early Friday.
Significant snow and ice are on the table. It does not seem too early to alter late-week plans, even though there is still a chance that the front stalls out further northwest and plain rain falls over at least parts of the region. Even in that scenario, flooding and ice jams could be a concern.
Extreme differences in weather conditions over small distances will be possible, so expect the unexpected with this system and be ready for multiple different scenarios.
Behind this system, another shot of cold will build in for the weekend, but the weather will try to warm up again next week. Time will tell if it will have more success than the warm air that was supposed to build in this week.
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected.
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