Wednesday Snow, Mixed Precipitation
A well organized area of low pressure will lift northeast through the Ohio River Valley today before crossing Lake Erie this evening and Lake Ontario overnight.
Precipitation is running far ahead of the center of low pressure and is entering the Southern Tier as of 7 AM. Over the next 2-3 hours, snow should spread across the remainder of the Finger Lakes region from south to north.
At first, the snow may be light, but should steadily increase in intensity through the morning. From the late morning into the first half of the afternoon, some heavy snow bands will be possible with localized snow rates of an inch an hour.
Dry, warm air will quickly race northeastward and will start to impact our region by the mid-afternoon. At first, areas of sleet will start to mix in. Then, precipitation will start to break up, coming and going. Some brief, localized pockets of freezing rain will be possible during this time.
Eventually, during the late afternoon or early evening hours, most of the precipitation will end with just some spits of non-freezing rain scattered about the area.
There is some uncertainty in the snow amounts until this lull and warming take place. Generally speaking, most areas should see 2-4 inches with localized areas of 5 or even 6 inches. There is a small chance for a narrow band of 6-8 inch amounts setting up, though only one weather model has been inconsistently showing that. However, that particular model can sometimes deviate from the consensus and end up being correct, so it is worth mentioning.
Should this narrow band set up, it will be most likely somewhere across the southern half of the region, and higher elevations will be the most likely to reach those higher amounts. Again, though, the chances for this are relatively small.
Travel conditions will deteriorate this morning as the snow moves in and steadily increases in intensity. With temperatures remaining below freezing until the late afternoon, expect snowy, sloppy roads for much of the afternoon. Sleet and pockets of freezing rain may extend the sloppiness even as the precipitation tapers off.
By this evening, temperatures will push into the mid and upper 30s and road conditions should vastly improve. Even by Thursday morning, as snow showers on the backside of the low return, temperatures should initially be in the mid 30s, making for an easy morning commute for most.
One last piece of today’s weather will be increasing southeast winds. The wind will be at its strongest during the late afternoon and early evening, with speeds of 10-15 mph and gusts of 30-40 mph. These winds will only last a few hours before declining overnight.
Snow showers will linger throughout Thursday as lake enhancement kicks in. With Lake Ontario playing an increasing role throughout the day, areas closer to the lake will have better chances for snow.
All in all, snow accumulations tomorrow will range from nothing more than flakes in the sky across the Southern Tier to perhaps an inch or so immediately southeast of Lake Ontario.
Temperatures will slowly drop on Thursday, starting in the mid 30s and ending up in the mid and upper 20s. West-northwest winds will become blustery, with speeds around 15 mph and gusts of 30-40 mph.
The snow showers will consolidate into a narrow band of lake effect after midnight, which will persist into early Friday morning. This band will only impact far northeastern Wayne, far northern Cayuga, and northern Onondaga counties. Locally several inches of snow may fall, including in the Syracuse area.
Winds will turn to the southwest on Friday, removing the lake effect band. There will be a small window for some sun to break through the clouds before a new area of cloudiness moves in. It should remain dry, though, with highs in the mid 30s.
A few snow showers will move through Friday night into early Saturday with little to no accumulation or impact. The afternoon will dry out but will remain cloudy. Highs will be in the mid and upper 30s.
Another system will pass by Sunday into Monday with a few spits of rain and snow. Highs may approach 40 on Sunday and should be in the upper 30s Monday.
A stronger system will move in for the middle of next week, with precipitation likely falling mostly as rain. A shot of cold air will move in behind this system with highs next weekend possibly struggling to reach 20 degrees.
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected.
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