Quick moving system brings snow, wind starting late this afternoon

finger lakes weather forecast thursday february 15 2024 sun snow wind advisory lake effect
A widespread burst of snow this afternoon will usher in a windy period that will peak Friday morning. More wind is expected through the weekend. [Photo by Kelly Doolittle]

Wind Advisories

A weather system will race across the Great Lakes today, arriving in the Finger Lakes late this afternoon with a burst of snow and increasing winds.

The day is starting off anything but active. Clear skies dominate most of the region, with just a few stray lake effect clouds southeast of Lake Ontario. The clear skies have temperatures off to a cool start with almost all areas in the 10s this morning.

South winds and sunshine early this morning will help temperatures rise steadily, but clouds will begin to move in by the late morning. Skies will quickly become overcast.

Snow will arrive during the mid to late afternoon hours. The initial burst of snow may be heavy at times, but in all should last under an hour as it very quickly presses eastward.

Temperatures will have peaked in the mid 30s ahead of this snow but will probably drop a few degrees as it arrives. Behind the burst, temperatures will bump back up into the mid 30s.

This should lead to mostly wet roadways this afternoon, but the snow may come down hard enough to overcome the warmth, especially on lesser traveled roads and those in higher elevations. Visibility will drop significantly as the snow moves through as well. Accumulations will be limited, with most areas seeing around or under an inch.

Allow yourself some extra time to reach your destination late this afternoon and be prepared for changing travel conditions.

South winds will be a bit blustery today, but the wind will increase further behind the burst of snow as they turn to the west. Evening and overnight wind speeds will be as high as 15 mph with gusts to 40 mph.

Overtime this evening, the wind will turn slightly to the northwest. This will lead to lake effect snows developing across Wayne, northern Cayuga, and northern Onondaga counties. A narrow but strong band will be possible overnight, but probably will not stick in one area for long. Still, locally several inches may fall in these areas. With the wind, blowing snow and low visibility will contribute to the wintry conditions.

The lake snows may fluctuate southward at times overnight, but for the most part, snow across the rest of the region will come in the form of on and off snow showers and flurries. Most areas will see an inch or less of accumulation overnight.

Temperatures will start Friday in the mid 20s as small bands of lake effect snow continue over the northeastern Finger Lakes. These will linger into the afternoon but should gradually diminish and disappear.

The wind, however, will continue to increase Friday morning. Still from the northwest, wind speeds may approach 20 mph with widespread gusts over 40 mph and a few isolated gusts approaching 50 mph. The entire region is under a Wind Advisory through Friday morning. Winds will decrease during the afternoon rather abruptly, with gusts dropping to 20 mph or less before sunset.

High temperatures on Friday will top out in the low 30s.

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finger lakes weather 7-day forecast thu feb 15 | thur, late snow, wind mid 30 | fri, windy snow showers low 30 | sat, snow showers upper 20 | sun, cloudy maybe a few flakes mid 30 | mon, a little am lake effect low 30 | tues, mostly sunny mid 40 | wed, sun and clouds mid 40
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.

More Wind this Weekend

An active weather pattern will persist across eastern North America through the weekend. A pair of systems, one Saturday and one Sunday, will pass by our region. While direct impacts in the way of precipitation will be small, both of these systems will have a large influence on our weekend weather.

For Saturday, the weather system will pass to our south. Northwest winds will increase during the morning and peak during the afternoon with gusts of 30-35 mph.

This will bring cool air into the region, with highs Saturday mainly in the mid and upper 20s. A spray of on and off lake effect snow showers will pass through the region.

Individual snow showers may briefly be heavy but should be short-lived. This will continue into the evening and overnight as well. Accumulations will be limited to an inch or so, except along the shore of Lake Ontario extending towards Syracuse, where a couple inches may fall.

Winds will turn to the southwest on Sunday as low pressure passes to our north. These winds are unfavorable for lake effect in our region, so most of the day should be cloudy with just a small chance for a few flurries.

The wind will be strong again, though, with gusts of 30-40 mph, particularly west of Seneca Lake. High temperatures will reach the mid 30s after a chilly start in the 10s.

Early next week, the weather will calm down with lighter winds and warming temperatures.

A few flurries may develop Sunday night southeast of Lake Ontario as winds turn back to the northwest. These will linger into Monday morning, but the afternoon should turn sunny. Highs will be in the low 30s.

Temperatures will jump to the mid 40s on Tuesday with an abundance of sunshine. Mid 40s are likely to persist for Wednesday and Thursday as well. Some clouds will be possible on Wednesday with a few rain showers moving in on Thursday.

Late next week and next weekend, temperatures should take a dip back into the 30s, but the following week is looking mild with highs back into the 40s to close out February.

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finger lakes weather 7-day forecast thu feb 15 | thur, late snow, wind mid 30 | fri, windy snow showers low 30 | sat, snow showers upper 20 | sun, cloudy maybe a few flakes mid 30 | mon, a little am lake effect low 30 | tues, mostly sunny mid 40 | wed, sun and clouds mid 40
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.

  1. Karen Merritt

    It’s been snowing steadily in Ontario since about 1:30pm. It’s 5:25pm and we have about an inch of snow.