Saturday, Monday thunderstorm forecast updates

finger lakes weather forecast saturday may 25 2024 thunderstorm outlook
The 9:30 AM Storm Prediction Center update continues to have our region in a Level 1- Marginal Risk, though I have annotated an area of highest chances for severe weather in the western Southern Tier.

Saturday Thunderstorms

The Storm Prediction Center has our area in a Level 1- Marginal risk for severe thunderstorms both today and Monday.

Of the two days, Monday has a great potential for a more robust severe weather event, but also has more uncertainty still being a couple days out.

For today, the thunderstorm risk has increased since yesterday’s forecast. This is due to a faster approach of the parent system triggering the thunderstorms. Areas that were originally expected to hold off until after sunset for showers and storms may now see them in the late afternoon instead.

Showers and thunderstorms are ongoing as of 10 AM over Lake Erie and southern Ontario, moving toward the northeast. By the early afternoon, these will be clipping northwestern parts of the area while new development initiates over southwestern New York.

During the mid and late afternoon, these storms will organize into a couple of small clusters and move east through the Finger Lakes. Most areas will probably see some rain or at least hear thunder from a nearby storm before sunset.

Overall, the severe weather threat is not very great, with mostly a few isolated strong to severe wind gusts or some small hail. Occasional to frequent lightning is likely.

The best chance for some of these stronger storms will probably be over the western Southern Tier, roughly in Wyoming, Livingston, Allegany, Steuben, Yates, Schuyler, and Chemung counties.

After an early evening lull, a few more showers and perhaps a rumble of thunder will be possible overnight, but with no severe potential. Sunday will be sunny and dry.

finger lakes weather forecast monday may 27 2024 severe thunderstorm outlook
The Storm Prediction Center also has our area in a Level 1 Marginal Risk for Monday, though I feel this is a conservative forecast due to uncertainties still in play. Click to enlarge.

Monday Thunderstorms

A more dynamic, robust weather system will pass by to our northwest on Monday in a favored track for severe weather across our region.

While the potential for severe storms is higher, the uncertainties are as well. The Storm Prediction Center has conservatively placed our region in the same Level 1- Marginal classification as today, though the potential high-end outcome for Monday is much greater than today.

One of the keys to how Monday will unfold will be an early morning warm front. The amount of cloud cover and rain showers with this front, and its speed lifting north of the region, will determine how much fuel develops for the afternoon storms.

The more dry time and sunshine during the first part of the day, the greater the chances for robust afternoon thunderstorms.

Winds at the surface and aloft will be blustery and supportive of severe thunderstorm development and may be enough to overcome lesser amounts of atmospheric fuel.

Getting a severe thunderstorm event together is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle with no edges and the pieces flipped upside down with a cat batting them around. Usually, there are a few pieces missing that prevent everything from coming together.

Sometimes there are enough pieces to complete parts of the puzzle, analogous to events like Wednesday where there are pockets of severe weather. Other times there are too many pieces missing and nothing really comes together. And once in a great while, it all comes together for a memorable severe weather event.

But often, the path the event takes will not become clear until the day of the event, or even until the event is ongoing. Looking two days out and trying to get too specific usually doesn’t work well.

All that being said, Monday is Memorial Day. People will be outdoors more than usual, and thus the relative risk of any severe weather is heightened.

I will have another update tomorrow and at least one update Monday morning. Please continue to monitor the forecast closely, especially if you have outdoor plans.

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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.