Week starts warm, potentially ends wintry

finger lakes weather forecast monday february 21 2022 sun warm mild late week snow
Temperatures will start the week by pushing into the 50s, but winter may have its way with the area on Friday. [Photo by Gwen Moshier]

Mild Early Week

Warm air is making another push at the Finger Lakes thanks to high pressure over the Atlantic Ocean and stormy weather over the northern Plains and Upper Great Lakes.

South winds over the area have most places starting the week in the 30s this morning, though a few localized colder pockets are showing up in the observations early this morning as well.

The winds will be much lighter than the last few days. Wind speeds will be under 10 mph and top gusts should remain under 20 mph.

Winds may turn northerly for a time near Lake Ontario as a weak frontal boundary sets up. This boundary could work its way as far south as I-90 at times, but will mostly be further north.

Sunshine will be plentiful today, though occasional thin clouds will mix in.

Temperatures will be near or slightly above 50 degrees for most of the area. A few higher elevations will stick to the upper 40s. Along the shore of Lake Ontario, where the north winds will be coming off the cold lake waters, highs in the mid and upper 40s will be possible.

Clouds will increase this evening and overnight as low pressure draws closer to the area. No precipitation is expected, and most areas should stick to the mid and upper 30s overnight.

Tuesday will start dry, but rain will move in during the afternoon. At first, the rain will be scattered, but it should become more widespread for the mid and late afternoon. By evening, the widespread rain will move out, with scattered showers lingering through the night and into early Wednesday.

Rainfall amounts look to be between one-third and two-thirds of an inch. The flooding and ice jam threat is lower than last week, but not completely reduced to zero. Sporadic, mainly minor flooding will be possible.

Temperatures Tuesday will push into the 50s ahead of the rain, but fall back into the 40s as the rain moves in. Warmer air will return overnight, with widespread 50s through the evening and early overnight.

A cold front will drop southeast through the area during the predawn hours, resulting in 30s by dawn Wednesday for western areas, with 40s for much of the region. After sunrise, the falling temperatures will be halted, leading to a wide range of temperatures through the Finger Lakes during the day Wednesday.

By the late afternoon, cold air will win out and temperatures will drop throughout the area.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast monday february 21 2022

This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.

Late Week Wintry Concern

In the immediate aftermath of the returning cold air, the weather will be quiet. Some sun should work its way out late Wednesday, and only a few stray lake effect flurries are expected Wednesday night.

Thursday should be fair with sunshine and some thin clouds, especially later in the day. Morning lows will start in the 10s with afternoon highs around 30 degrees.

Low pressure will move into the area on Friday. So far, models are in good agreement on this system, but it is still too early to count on the fine details.

Assuming the expectations hold (which is probably not a great assumption), snow will move in Friday morning and continue into the afternoon. Across the Southern Tier and into Central New York, ice will mix in as well.

This looks to be a quick-moving system, so there will be an upper bound to how much snow falls. A slightly further north path could introduce ice to a greater portion of the region, while also cutting off precipitation sooner as dry air wraps into the low pressure center. A further south track could mean all snow and now ice, but missing the heaviest core of precipitation.

These different scenarios are well within the realm of possibility, with only slight adjustments to the storm track needed to enact them.

As an early comparison, this system looks unlikely to exceed the previous winter weather events in early February or mid-January, though it has a chance to have a similar level of impact, especially since it will be coming during the daytime hours.

Behind this system, Saturday will be cool and quiet with highs in the 20s and some sun mixing with clouds. Some snow showers will be possible later Sunday as a front drops south. That may end February on a cold note Monday, but temperatures are then expected to increase as we head into the first few days of March.

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finger lakes weather 7-day forecast monday february 21 2022
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.