Highly variable winter storm expected Tuesday

finger lakes weather forecast snow map tuesday march 13 2023
Highly variable snow amounts are likely across the Finger Lakes on Tuesday, but the highest amounts will be in a lake-enhanced snow band over the northeastern quadrant of the region. Elevation will play a role in amounts as well.

Winter Storm Details

Light snow will mix with rain today with little to no snow accumulation as a precursor to more significant wintery weather on Tuesday.

No travel issues are expected during the daytime or even the evening hours today. Precipitation will fall lightly, but will diminish during the evening.

Overnight, heavy precipitation will develop east of the Finger Lakes region, and may start to make it into the I-81 corridor during the predawn hours. Many areas will wake up Tuesday morning with little to no additional snow on the ground.

Snow will spread westward into the Finger Lakes Tuesday morning, and especially Tuesday afternoon and evening. A band of particularly heavy snow is expected across portions of Wayne, Cayuga, Onondaga, northern Cortland, northern Tompkins, and northern Seneca counties.

This band will partially be fed by lake enhancement from Lake Ontario, so while its exact location has some slight uncertainty, it is not likely to deviate significantly from those locations.

This band will not move much from the late afternoon through the evening hours and will eventually dissipate in place. Snow amounts will decrease outward from this band, possibly quite sharply and dependent on elevation.

The end result will be highly variable snow amounts, ranging from over a foot in the higher elevations of southern Cayuga, northern Cortland, and southern Onondaga counties, all the way down to fewer than two inches in portions of the western Southern Tier.

I am well aware that my snow map is vastly different from other forecasts, and the forecast confidence is low. However, with marginal temperatures in the low and mid 30s, the core of the storm remaining well to the east of our area, and the heavy snow band getting enhancement from Lake Ontario, I feel that only select areas in the Finger Lakes will see high snow amounts.

Strong northwest winds will blow regionwide during the day on Tuesday and Wednesday. Northwest winds will gust to 40 mph on Tuesday and 30-35 mph on Wednesday. For areas that see large amounts of snow, the heavy, dense nature of the snow combined with the winds may result in scattered power outages.

Snowfall rates will drop sharply after midnight Tuesday with only some flurries lingering after sunrise Wednesday.

Key Points in Summary

  • Travel conditions will be fine today and tonight, and probably even early Tuesday morning for most of the Finger Lakes.
  • The heaviest snow is expected Tuesday afternoon and evening, focusing on portions of Wayne, northern Seneca, southern Cayuga, southern Onondaga, northern Cortland, and northern Tompkins counties.
  • A sharp gradient in snowfall is likely outside of this heavy band and dependent on elevation. Forecast confidence is therefore low, especially along the boundary of the heavy snow band.
  • I am aware that my snow map likely looks different than others. I can only control what I predict and will not comment on other forecasts.
  • Strong northwest winds Tuesday and Wednesday may cause some scattered power outages in the areas of greatest snowfall.
  • Snow will end Tuesday night with little to no additional snow after sunrise Wednesday.
finger lakes weather medium range snow outlook monday march 13 2023 see blog text for pertinent information
Behind Tuesday’s snow, mild weather will keep snow chances near 0 through the weekend and possibly beyond.

Mild Behind the Storm

As implied above, Wednesday will be a windy but overall quiet day. Since the snow will be heavy and dense in nature, blowing and drifting will be limited. Still, some lingering power outages may be possible with winds gusting as high as 35 mph from the northwest.

High temperatures on Wednesday will reach the mid 30s. Wednesday night will drop to the upper 10s and low 20s as winds diminish and some breaks in the clouds develop.

On Thursday, skies will remain mostly cloudy, but temperatures will rise into the mid 40s. Light south and southwest winds will push the warmer air in. Temperatures Thursday night will remain in the mid 30s as the winds persist.

Friday will see some rain showers move into the area. Temperatures will again be well into the 40s with south winds up to 10 mph.

A few lingering showers will be possible on Saturday. Temperatures will not be quite as warm, but many areas should see low 40s for at least a little while.

Cooler air will return for Sunday with a few flurries. Highs will be in the mid 30s. No snow accumulation is expected.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast mon mar 13 | mon, snow, some rain upper 30 | tues, snow windy low 30 | wed, windy mid 30 | thur, mostly cloudy mid 40 | fri, rain showers mid 40 | sat, a few am rain showers low 40 | sun, a few snow showers mid 30
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.

Temperatures look as though they will warm back up right away, with highs most days next week in the 40s. Snow chances will remain very low.

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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.