Major winter storm arrives late today

<B>(Wednesday Morning December 26, 2012)</B> Clouds will increase today but it will stay dry through sunset. However, snow will develop this evening and quickly become heavy at times overnight. Snow will begin to ease Thursday but not before 8-12” fall in the Syracuse area.
A Major Winter Storm to Impact Central New York Wednesday Night and Thursday

Low pressure moving north through the Mississippi Valley has already made headlines with tornadoes in parts of the Deep South and blizzard conditions across parts of the southern Plains.  This area of low pressure will track northeast today. During the daylight it looks like all of central New York will stay dry.  Things will change tonight.

As our coastal storm strengthens, the counterclockwise winds around this storm will circulate plenty of Atlantic Ocean moisture back into central New York.  This will cause snow to fall, heavy at times, with snowfall rates tonight approaching 2 inches per hour.  In addition to the snow, the wind will be gusty and over higher elevations, in particular, there could be wind gusts past 30 mph.  Needless to say, travel tonight will be treacherous over all of central New York.

The peak of our storm will be tonight. Even though the snow will continue through the day Thursday, the intensity of the snowfall will drop throughout the day. Total snow accumulations through late in the day could approach a foot and a half over the Finger Lakes up toward Oswego County and Watertown.  Here in Syracuse, there are still some questions as to how much snow will fall, but we feel fairly confident of 8-12” Because of the threat for some sleet mixing we have even lower accumulations (4-8”) over parts of Chenango, Madison and Oneida counties. If the sleet doesn’t materialize in these counties, snowfall will be higher.

Our weather quiets down on Friday but then we watch a new area of low pressure heading toward the East Coast.  The computer models we look at today are either a) weaker with this low or b) farther east off the coast than in past days.  That minimizes the possibility of a significant snow here in central New York this weekend but we’ll keep a close eye on things over the next few days.
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