High variation winter weather slowly winds down today

finger lakes weather forecast friday december 16 2022 snow rain weekend weather
The weather will continue to be highly variable across the Finger Lakes today. Here is the latest analysis of what has happened and what is to come. [Photo by Melissa Stella]

Snow and Rain Showers

Areas of precipitation continue across portions of the Finger Lakes this morning as low pressure along the coast of New Jersey meanders northeastward.

Temperatures remain near or just above freezing, where they have been for the majority of this event. This has led to large variations in the weather across the region.

As expected, higher elevations have seen the most snow accumulation, while lower elevations have seen less. Unsurprisingly, the weather models generally overestimated the snowfall, especially in the lower elevations.

If you have been following my forecasts for this event throughout the week, none of these results should surprise you. No, my snow map totals did not verify over lower elevations. That is exactly why I stressed the low confidence, high variation nature of this event. I even said, Wednesday night:

“The map and graphic below are useful for guidance with the expectation that deviations from them are to be expected…. [and] any graphic or forecast you see for this event, from any weather source, is fraught with uncertainty and will almost certainly end up incorrect for some areas.”

This event follows the pattern of many other marginal-temperature, mixed precipitation events, with more mixed and liquid precipitation, and snow not accumulating as quickly as expected.

These events put forecasters in a terrible spot. Literally, all it would take is a degree or two of cooling, and snow would dominate with impressive totals. And once in a while, this does end up happening. There is an argument to be made for erring on the side of a higher impact event rather than having the public unprepared. But the key is stressing the uncertainty.

As I always say, the science of meteorology still has plenty to learn, especially in the arena of communicating science and uncertainty to the public.

You probably did not even notice, but not once did I call this a “winter storm”. The colors I use on my snow maps are deliberately chosen to reduce the anxiety for amounts under a foot. These are deliberate choices I make in an effort to more accurately match risk and reality.

So where does the weather go from here?

Precipitation will continue throughout the day, steadiest east of Seneca Lake. Much of what falls will be snow, but some rain will mix in. With the exception of some higher elevations, the snow will accumulate little.

Higher elevations may see a few additional inches today, but most lower elevations will not see more than an inch, if even that. Road conditions will vary, but most major thoroughfares and lower elevation routes will improve and be traversable with just a little due caution. Rural, higher elevation routes may remain difficult.

The precipitation will gradually drift northeastward, and by the late afternoon or evening, will begin to exit the region. Temperatures will remain mostly in the mid 30s.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast friday december 16 2022
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.

Looking Ahead

Cooler air will move in overnight as the low departs and winds turn to the northwest. The wind will continue to turn overnight, ending up out of the southwest.

Lake effect snow will develop overnight as temperatures fall back into the 20s. The winds will be unfavorable for much in the Finger Lakes, with most of the snow ending up near Buffalo or over the Tug Hill.

Saturday, therefore, should have a mix of sun and clouds and just a few stray flurries. Highs will be in the low and mid 30s with wind speeds up to 10 mph from the west and southwest.

The winds over Lake Erie will become more westerly Saturday night into Sunday, which should increase the snow showers across the Finger Lakes. These will remain hit or miss and mainly light, with little if any accumulation for most areas.

Sunday will start with temperatures in the mid and upper 20s in the morning with an afternoon high in the mid 30s.

On Monday, Lake Ontario will send some snow into the area as winds turn to the northwest. Favored areas southeast of the lake may see a couple inches of accumulation, mostly during the nighttime and early morning hours as temperatures rise back to the mid 30s Monday afternoon.

The middle of next week looks quiet with sun and clouds and temperatures still sticking to the mid 30s. However, during this time, a major invasion of arctic air will be taking place across much of the nation. This, in turn, has the potential to spawn a strong weather system late next week.

I’ve already seen plenty of hype surrounding this set up with single images grabbed from a single model posted on social media. And it is true that the models have been on the extreme side with some of their projections.

But it is far, far too early to pinpoint what will happen. Be wary of the hype that is sure to increase in the coming days, and know that I have already been watching late next week for several days and will be there for you without the hype and drama, as always.

More Information:

» Finger Lakes Weather Radar

» Finger Lakes Weather Radar

» Zip Code Forecasts

» Your Forecast

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finger lakes weather 7-day forecast friday december 16 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.

11 Responses

  1. Gail B. Dalmat

    Well, I hope I just got you another couple followers. My snow removal guy, who’d “booked” today with his customers based on tv or weather reports, and my friend in Aurora, who drives to work at Ithaca College, usually around 4 am. I’m a stay-at-home who’s fascinated by the weather; they actually DEPEND on a RELIABLE, RESPONSIVE, NO-HYPE report in their daily lives and work.
    So, another friend shared “Winter Storm Diaz” info last night. I’m left SMH.

  2. Marlo

    Thanks for all the time and energy that went into giving us info last week and yesterday.

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      You are most welcome!

  3. Susan Poppenger

    Drew, your doing a very good job of teaching us the science of meteorology. It’s complex, but I understand your forecasts and why events may turn out differently than expected. It’s a far different approach than the local news, which tries to offer some of the science, but the format probably doesn’t allow for an in depth explanation. Which, sadly, results in the public saying the weather forecasters always get it wrong. Thanks for the education and the time you take to keep us informed.

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Thank you so much for this, Susan! I’m glad to hear I am achieving my goals!

  4. Karen Merritt

    Drew, we appreciate your honesty! Being up by Lake Ontario, we know that the lake is a huge heat sink – sometimes it keeps the air warm enough to prevent snow accumulation and sometimes it provides a huge reservoir of moisture for the production of a lot of snow. It’s always interesting!

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Thank you! Yes, the Great Lakes are such an interesting factor on our weather!

  5. Langburn

    Thank you for everything, Drew, and especially for all of your work yesterday! You are a wonderful asset to the community. And before we forget in the holiday rush, our year end donation will be made today with all best wishes to you and yours.

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      You are so kind! Thank you!


    Thank you Drew. Here on the East Lake Road about 10 mi south of Geneva we have a slushy snow mix on surfaces. There is a light mist of precipitation falling and it’s above freezing. Roads are clear.

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Thank you!