LocalSYR

High Wind and Lake Effect Snow Today

<B>(Thursday January 31, 2013)</B> High Wind Warnings are in effect for much of Central New York today. Winds are expected to gust up to 50-60 mph, with the highest wind gusts near Lake Ontario and over higher elevations. This has the potential to cause downed trees and power outages. Lake effect snow will also develop well north of Syracuse but move south later today and tonight.
Strong low pressure centered north of Montreal, Canada as swept a cold front through the region, and consequently, our record warmth out to sea.  Additionally, this low is chiefly responsible for potentially damaging wind gusts today.  This has prompted High Wind Warnings or Advisories for the entire region today.  The strong west winds will import colder air into the region, which will trigger lake effect snow off Lakes Ontario and Erie.

Off Lake Ontario, with the wind coming the west and even west-southwest, lake effect snow will develop and impact areas between Oswego and Watertown…and in particular… the Tug Hill Plateau region.  By early evening there could be a foot or more of snow in the most persistent snow, especially over the higher terrain east of Lake Ontario. With such strong wind speeds, lake effect snow is likely to travel (but weaken as in doing so) well away for its origin and into parts of Central New York.  Thus, we think lake effect flurries and snow showers may give a light accumulation (2” or less) for areas along and south of Rt. 20 and especially west of Syracuse over the Finger Lakes region. 

Back to the Lake Ontario snow band: we are still keying in on a shift in the wind this evening and tonight from the west to the northwest as a jet stream disturbance moves through Central New York.  That will cause the heavier lake effect snow to shift south and eventually into the immediate CNY/Syracuse area.  Current indications suggest lake effect snow may find its way into the Syracuse area sometime around or after midnight.  There are indications that the snow band should break up sometime Friday morning, before eventually re-developing during the day. 

Several inches of snow are a distinct possibility as the band moves south this evening and tonight. The upshot of it all is that the morning commute to work and school tomorrow may be challenging.  Chilly temperatures along with the threat of snow showers and/or lake effect snow will persist into the weekend.
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