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Late Season Winter Storm
A late-season winter storm will impact the Finger Lakes tonight with areas of heavy snow.
It will be a very deceptive day today out ahead of this storm system. While there will be clues that inclement weather is ahead, it will not seem like the type of day that is just hours ahead of a memorable snow event.
Sunshine is plentiful this morning, but thin clouds will start to move in from the south. These will gradually filter out the sunshine, with grey, overcast skies likely this afternoon.
The increasing clouds will be one sign of the coming weather, with blustery southeast winds the other. Wind speeds will increase to 10-15 mph with gusts of 30-35 mph as the coming storm approaches.
Temperatures will be one of the biggest deceivers today, with highs generally in the low and mid 50s. Parts of the western Southern Tier will be a bit cooler with highs in the 40s.
Precipitation will move in late this afternoon as rain. Multiple cooling processes in the atmosphere will take place, sending temperatures tumbling into the 30s quickly by sunset. Rain will turn over to snow and become heavy this evening.
As low pressure tracks up the coast, a particularly intense band of snow will set up from the late evening through the overnight hours. The models are still a bit split on the position of this band, but the models I typically trust have brought the band west of I-81. Be aware that a scenario where snow amounts are all shifted eastward remains a possibility, but my forecast favors the western scenario.
While this band is in place, snowfall rates over 2 inches per hour will be likely. This will cause significant accumulations, even at lower elevations. Higher elevations will still see higher snow amounts, with localized areas in Chemung, Tioga, Tompkins, Cortland, Cayuga, and Onondaga county possibly exceeding a foot.
Ithaca is one of the trickiest locations to forecast for with this event, both due to being near the edge of the band and with the elevation differences in and around the city. It would probably take a spectacular event for over a foot to fall in the city, but double-digit snow amounts are not impossible. On the flip side, if the band just misses the area, snow amounts could be limited to a couple inches.
This highly uncertain, razor-thin difference between an annoyance and a significant impact event also extends throughout the Keuka-Seneca-Cayuga lake areas and for the Syracuse metropolitan area.
Further to the west and north, cold air will be weaker and snowfall rates much less, so accumulations should be more on the order of an annoying several inches.
The snow will taper off during the early to mid morning hours Tuesday, though flurries and rain showers will persist into the afternoon.
West winds on Tuesday will gust between 30-40 mph. Combined with the heavy, wet nature of the snow, some tree damage and power outages will be possible where the highest accumulations fall. Also, since it will be a very heavy snow, please use caution when shoveling and take frequent breaks.
Back to Your Regularly Scheduled Spring
Showers and flurries will taper off Tuesday night after daytime highs around 40 degrees. Nighttime temperatures will fall into the low and mid 30s.
Wednesday will have a good deal of sunshine, which will nudge temperatures upward and melt the snow. Look for afternoon highs ranging from 45 to 50 degrees for most of the region.
Scattered showers will move through on Thursday as a weak weather system passes through. Rainfall amounts should limited to one-tenth to one-quarter of an inch, with some areas not even seeing that much.
Temperatures will reach a high in the low and mid 50s, supported by blustery south winds which may gust over 30 mph at times.
Friday will have increasing sunshine with temperatures again in the low to mid 50s. Saturday will be warmer, with highs reaching the low 60s. A few isolated showers will be possible late in the day, but most areas stay dry.
Less than a week removed from the snow, temperatures will soar again. This weekend will finally break out of the snow-on-Sunday pattern of the last several weeks with some sunshine and highs well into the 70s.
Warm weather will persist into Monday, and between the two days, several areas may hit or exceed 80 degrees.
A mid-week cold front will send temperatures back down for the final days of April, and I cannot even guarantee that it will not snow again toward the end of next week.
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected.
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