Winter Weather Advisories
A strong area of low pressure will track northeast toward Lake Erie today and tonight before transferring its energy to a new low off the coast of New Jersey Saturday morning.
The first thin clouds ahead of this system are beginning to move into the Finger Lakes this morning. Clouds will gradually increase this morning, and the afternoon should be cloudy. Temperatures will reach the upper 30s and low 40s with light southeast winds during the early to mid afternoon hours.
Precipitation will move in from the southwest later in the afternoon, with most areas seeing an onset time between 4-6 PM. Some of the earliest precipitation may start as a little rain, but most of what falls should be snow this afternoon.
Road temperatures may be warm enough to prevent much accumulation on the roadways at first, but as the sun goes down, temperatures will find their way into the low and mid 30s. Untreated roads especially will become hazardous.
After a couple of hours of snow, sleet will start to mix in from south to north. Pockets of freezing rain will also be possible. Icy precipitation will persist through the evening hours before tapering off slightly around midnight.
Between midnight and dawn, precipitation will fill back in as the coastal low starts to take shape. Cold air aloft will change the icy mix back over to snow.
Accumulations by sunrise Saturday will be variable throughout the region and over small scales. Elevation will play a role, with higher amounts generally at higher elevations. Most of the area should see 2-5 inches of snow and sleet. A few places will probably see less, and a few may see slightly more.
One particular area of high uncertainty is between I-90 and the Lake Ontario shore. The cold air may try to hold on longer here. Localized amounts of six inches or more are not out of the question, but I think the chances for that are still relatively low.
Southeast winds will also become strong tonight, with occasional gusts over 40 mph possible. Temperatures will spend the night hovering around the freezing mark in the low and mid 30s.
Saturday will likely see snow continue throughout the day with varying intensities. Temperatures will nose their way into the mid 30s. Combined with the increasing strength of the March sun, even behind the overcast, and daytime accumulations will be minimal despite the persistent snow.
Road conditions will likely vary quite a bit on Saturday based on treatment plans and traffic loads. It would not surprise me if main roads, especially in and around heavier populated areas, are mostly wet and snow free throughout the daytime hours. Rural areas and secondary roads are less certain and may continue to be messy to hazardous.
For travel Saturday, I advise planning for extra time, being ready for varying road conditions, and using prudence and common sense by continually assessing the conditions for your exact location and travel routes.
Winds on Saturday will be light or even calm during the morning, but will turn to the northwest and increase for the afternoon. Gusts of 30-35 mph will be possible, mainly over the southern half of the region.
The snow should end during the late afternoon and early evening, though stray snow showers or bits of drizzle and freezing drizzle will remain sporadic into the overnight hours.
A large area of high pressure will build into the Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic region on Sunday and will pass overhead early Monday. This should bring dry weather Sunday and most of Monday until a weak system moves in from the west.
Sunday will likely start out with a fair amount of cloud cover, but that should gradually decrease through the day. The afternoon will be a mix of sun and clouds, and skies may clear for the evening hours.
Winds will be from the northwest on Sunday, but there will not be a big pool of cold air to tap into. High temperatures, therefore, should rise back into the low 40s.
Clear skies and light winds for much of Sunday night will allow temperatures to fall into the low and mid 20s. If some deeper snowpacks develop as a result of tonight’s snow, localized pockets of 10s could develop Sunday night.
Clouds will increase before sunrise on Monday. These will be thin at first, so some morning sunshine is still expected on Monday. Clouds will thicken by the afternoon and some late day or evening rain showers will be possible. High temperatures should be in the mid 40s.
Rain showers and southeast winds will hold temperatures close to 40 degrees Monday night and into early Tuesday. A morning cold front will send temperatures into the 30s for Tuesday afternoon, changing the rain to snow.
Minor snow accumulations will be possible Tuesday afternoon with an inch or two falling in some areas. Some lingering flurries may persist into Wednesday morning with temperatures dropping to the mid 20s.
The rest of Wednesday should be quiet, with some sun poking out between the clouds. It will stay cool with highs in the low 30s. Thursday will reach the mid 30s with plenty of clouds, but no precipitation.
Active weather seems likely towards the end of next week and especially next weekend. It is too early to tell much more than that at this early vantage point, though.
Temperatures should remain near or slightly below average through the middle of March.
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected.
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