Mild and Wet
A stalled-out frontal boundary is sitting over the far northern Finger Lakes this morning.
To the south of this front, temperatures are mostly well into the 40s to start this morning. However, in and around Rochester, on the other side of the front, temperatures are starting in the low 30s.
This front extends westward to about Chicago, then turns south into the southern Plains. Areas of low pressure moving along the front are serving as focal points for precipitation, but the primary center of low pressure is lifting north through Missouri and Illinois this morning.
Southerly winds out ahead of that primary low will help push the front north this morning with temperatures well into the 50s for much of the region. Some filtered sunshine is likely early on this morning, but clouds will thicken over time.
Rain should arrive as some scattered showers by the late morning or midday hours. These showers will transition to a steady rain that will persist for much of the afternoon. The steadiest rain should push out by the early evening, leaving spotty showers through the evening and overnight.
Most of the Finger Lakes region should see up to a half-inch of rain this afternoon. A few localized pockets may see more, and some areas may come in closer to a quarter inch. This should keep the overall flood risk low through the area.
Still, low-lying areas and poor drainage areas will see some minor flooding issues, and if any streams and rivers still have some lingering ice, a localized ice jam cannot be ruled out.
The flood threat is a bit higher west of I-390, where slightly higher rain amounts and some extra snowpack will cause some streams and rivers to produce minor flooding. A flood watch is in effect for those areas.
While the rain falls this afternoon, temperatures will retreat to the 40s. However, tonight, temperatures will make another rise back into the 50s. Between 3-8 AM, the frontal boundary will pass through as a cold front, sending temperatures quickly into the mid and upper 30s.
Eyes Turn to Friday
Wednesday will have some lingering precipitation, but nothing with too much of an impact. Rain showers will be possible early on, followed by flurries. Some lake enhancement will be possible over the northern half of the region with locally up to an inch of accumulation.
Temperatures on Wednesday will hover in the 30s much of the day before falling into the 20s as the sun sets. Widespread mid 10s are likely by Thursday morning.
Thursday will start and end with some clouds, but sun will be possible during the middle of the day and much of the afternoon. A few flurries cannot be ruled out Thursday morning across the Southern Tier. Afternoon highs will range from the mid 20s near Lake Ontario to the low 30s in the Southern Tier, with most areas in the upper 20s to near 30 degrees.
Low pressure will then take a track across northern Pennsylvania and into southeastern New York on Friday. Wintry precipitation will be in the area much of the day, starting in the predawn hours and tapering off late.
With the track of the low nearby, enough warm air should work in for a mix of at least snow and sleet for the southeastern half of the region, but possibly with some freezing rain mixing in as well. To the northwest, mostly snow should fall.
Dry air also may entrain into the region as it wraps into the low, cutting off precipitation early for southern areas.
Snow totals generally seem unlikely to exceed a foot, and many areas will probably not reach double-digit snow amounts. Still, there are many fine details that still need to be worked out. Travel will be significantly impacted on Friday throughout the region, regardless.
Temperatures on Friday will depend on the path of the low but could pop into the 30s for a time in southern areas. Further north, highs in the 20s are likely.
Some minor lake effect snow is likely behind this system Friday night into early Saturday. Temperatures Saturday morning will start around 10 with afternoon highs around 30.
Sunday, too, may have a little minor snow, this time coming from a weak front during the closing hours of the day. Highs should again be around 30 after a morning low in the upper 10s.
Monday looks quiet but cooler with morning lows near 10 but afternoon highs in the mid 20s. Temperatures will slowly work their way back into the 30s for the first few days of March next week with mainly dry conditions through the mid-week.
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This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected.
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Hi Drew. I’m planning on driving home from north Florida leaving Thursday afternoon. Can you give me an indication of weather as I make my way back? I can either come up 95 to Washington DC and then head towards Harrisburg or go the route to Columbia-Charlotte and then to 81 to Harrisburg then head north to Rochester. I’m a little nervous about driving so far. I’m hoping to get home Saturday night.
Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
There may be some rain showers in the Carolinas on Thursday. On Friday, as long as you don’t go further north than about Washington DC, you should not have any issues outside of some rain showers. You may be able to push up to Harrisburg Friday evening. Saturday looks fine for traveling through PA and into NY. Choosing 95 or 81 does not really matter in this case.
Thank you Drew!