The Calm Before the Storm

<B>(Thursday Morning February 7, 2013)</B>Central New York will experience the proverbial calm before the storm today as clouds increase and we remain chiefly dry. Snow will overspread the region tonight and persist into tomorrow and tomorrow night.
On this morning’s weather map, high pressure stretches from the lower Hudson Valley of New York to south of James Bay in Canada.  Farther west, a complex weather system consisting of multiple areas of low pressure and frontal boundaries is evident over the mid-section of the country with another separate area of low pressure over the Gulf Coast. 

High pressures is forecast to slide off the East Coast and make way for the two aforementioned systems, which in time, will eventually combine into one powerful storm off the New England Coast.  Before that happens, the two storms will travel separately toward the Eastern Seaboard.  The northern storm system is forecast to track to a location just west of Cleveland, Ohio by early Friday morning with the southern storm taking up residence along the North Carolina Coast. 

Our snow in Central New York will largely be the result of the northern storm system as it travels from Cleveland and eventually merges with the southern storm.  The heaviest snow from this storm (northern) is forecast to fall along and north of the storm track.  Computer models have been indicating that areas along and north of the Thruway will stand the greatest chance for staying north of the storm track, and consequently, receive the greatest snowfall.  Farther south, between less in the way of moisture and an elevated risk for sleet/freezing rain (due to milder air above the surface) snowfall totals will likely be lowest.  It should also be noted that there will likely be a sharp snowfall gradient, or change in snowfall over distance.  It’s quite possible that areas like Ithaca and Penn Yan see 6” or less of total snow by Saturday morning, where areas north and east of Syracuse easily see more than 12”.

Eventually, the northern and southern systems will phase, or merge somewhere south of Long Island and turn into a powerful Nor’easter.  This storm will likely give parts of eastern New England more than two feet of snow!  If you have travel plans by plane, train or automobile to the east of Syracuse during this time be aware that this storm will likely impact your plans.

Luckily, Friday’s storm system will be a fast mover as there is no block in the atmosphere up over the Canadian Maritimes to slow things down.  By Saturday, the weather in central New York will be improving.  We still think a few flurries are possible early Saturday as a northerly flow of colder air coming over Lake Ontario will cause a limited amount of lake effect.  Our weather for the rest of the weekend is quiet as high pressure builds right over us.  Plan for a cold night Saturday night but with plenty of sunshine we should begin to warm Sunday.  Rain showers still look like a good bet by Monday as temperatures go above normal.
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