Winter Storm Details
After another quiet, mild daytime today, a cold front will move through the Finger Lakes as low pressure develops, resulting in periods of heavy snow and strong winds.
Clouds will thicken through the day today, but southerly winds will help temperatures rise. Mid and upper 40s will be widespread this afternoon, with parts of the Southern Tier possibly breaking into the low 50s.
Light precipitation, mainly as a few rain showers, will enter from the west late this afternoon and early this evening. These rain showers will transition over to snow by midnight. The snow will also increase in intensity, starting around midnight. Pockets of 1-inch per hour snowfall are possible overnight.
By Saturday morning, the snow will already be turning lighter across the western half of the region while the heaviest snowfall rates shift southeast of the Finger Lakes all together.
Snow will continue to decrease in intensity through the morning, and by the early afternoon, most areas should see mostly scattered flurries for actively falling snow.
This is a more progressive solution that the models have been homing in on, which will keep the heaviest snow totals to the southeast.
For much of the Finger Lakes, this will result in a 6-10 inch snowfall by Saturday afternoon. Since the snow map I use has a 4-8 inch zone and an 8-12 inch zone, this storm did not fit neatly into those zones.
That being said, the best chance for over 8 inches and locally up to a foot will be across Cortland and Tompkins counties, as well as surrounding portions of Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, Schuyler, Chemung, and Tioga counties.
Again, most of the Finger Lakes area that is in the 4-8 inch zone will be on the upper end of that zone and localized areas may easily get upwards of 10 inches.
The best chance for under 6 inches will around be Rochester and into the Genesee Valley.
Northwest winds will steadily increase Saturday morning and spend most of Saturday afternoon gusting over 40 mph. This will prolong the impacts of this event, with significant blowing and drifting of the snow through the afternoon.
Even though the snow will stop by the early afternoon and totals will generally be moderate, the added factor of the wind will make this a higher impact event. Travel at any time Saturday should be avoided as possible.
Additional Snow, then Springy
Lake effect snow will kick up Saturday evening and continue into the predawn hours. Snow off both Lake Ontario and Lake Erie will be possible east and southeast of the lakes.
Several additional inches of snow will fall during this period where the heaviest bands set up. This will especially be the case in Wyoming County in the west, and in the favored snow belts of southern Cayuga, Onondaga, and northern Cortland counties.
Please note that some snow maps from other weather providers include snow totals from both the main snow event and the lake effect, whereas my snow map only shows the snow from the main event through 3 PM Saturday. I will have more details on the lake effect snow sometime on Saturday.
The lake effect will lift north by Sunday morning as winds turn to the south. A weak disturbance will pass through during the afternoon with some additional light snow showers. Little to no accumulation is expected from these.
Winds on Sunday will still be blustery, but not as strong as on Saturday. These winds will also be from the southwest. Rural and open areas will see some additional blowing and drifting snow.
As quick as this wintry pattern comes in tonight, it will leave Sunday night. Monday will start out in the mid 20s and temperatures will quickly rise with many areas getting into the low 50s.
This will kick off a mild week where most days will see highs at or above 50 degrees. Tuesday will be an exception as some clouds and rain showers move through with highs closer to 45 degrees.
By next Friday and Saturday, temperatures may push into the 60s once again. Some rain showers will be possible on Saturday, but the only other precipitation next week will be a few stray and light rain showers Tuesday and late Thursday.
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected.
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