ITHACA, NY — A fast-moving low-pressure storm system is delivering a flurry of fresh snow to much of the northern part of the state today, and temperatures for the next few days will be below normal as cold air of Canada comes down the back of the low. On the bright side, it should literally and figuratively be sunny for the next few days, although another storm system will show up Thursday night into the weekend.
Sun 11/12: A fast-hitting clipper system will bring #snow to the region today, mostly in the higher elevations, with a mix of rain and snow at the lower elevations. Winter Weather Advisories posted for parts of downtown #NYwx and NE #PAwx. pic.twitter.com/2Dj8HFOVGr
—NWS Binghamton (@NWSBinghamton) December 11, 2022
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A blizzard will cross upstate New York this Sunday, dropping widespread light to moderate snow across the region. Generally speaking, accumulations will be lowest in western New York thanks to slightly warmer air allowing some rain to mix in, while the highest amounts will be at higher elevations between I-81 and I- 87. The Catskills and Southern Adirondacks could see amounts of 6-8″, maybe even a 10″ reading on the high end. If you’re heading down I-88 or Route 17 tonight or tomorrow morning, be careful and give the snowplows some room.
Locally, snowfall amounts will be somewhat less. The consensus is 1-2″ in and around Cayuga Lake, where the air is a little warmer and might allow some brief rain into the mix, and 2-4″ on the hilltops and in the towns surrounding Ithaca. The snow will turn rainier later tonight, with the showers continuing overnight and ending tomorrow morning. With the thick cloud cover, temperatures won’t recede much tonight, from today’s highs in the mid-30s to lows in the mid-30s.
Monday will be a calmer day as the winds turn to the northwest on the back of the low. Those winds will strengthen as the low pressure deepens over the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean, and these winds will draw greater amounts of frigid air into the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier. A few morning snow showers will fade, and overcast skies will start to fade by the end of the day. The highs will be in the low 30s. Calm but cold conditions will be expected Monday night as a Canadian polar high builds up in Tompkins County. Skies will see diminishing clouds, becoming mostly clear after midnight, with lows around 20 in Ithaca and in the teens in outlying areas.
Tuesday will be cool but peaceful as high pressure remains under control. The clipper low will have strengthened and moved north into Atlantic Canada, further enhancing the flow of cold air from the north. Skies will be mostly sunny with highs in the mid 30s. Tuesday night will see partly cloudy skies and dry conditions with lows in the low 20s.
Heading into Wednesday, the strong low over Atlantic Canada will push temperatures lower, though the Hudson Bay high will remain in check overall. Skies will be partly cloudy with highs in the low 30s. Wednesday night will be partly cloudy with lows in the low 20s, perhaps moving up into the mid 20s as the high moves east and light southerly winds begin after midnight.
Thursday sees conditions deteriorate as a large but not particularly strong low develops over the Northern Great Plains, moving slowly to the northeast. The low will amplify southerly flow, with a strong breeze and highs in the upper 30s as skies become mostly cloudy or overcast. Light snow is likely to spread across the areas during the afternoon and evening hours, although accumulations may be limited as rain enters the mix at these marginal temperatures. Snow and rain will continue through Thursday night with gusty winds from the south and lows in the mid 30s.
Looking to Friday, a secondary coastal low is forecast to develop in the larger circulation of the Midwest low; you can thank the warm, energetic waters of the Atlantic Gulf Stream for that. Mixed rain and snow with cloudy skies and highs near 40 is expected. The secondary low will shift the winds to the north-northwest on Friday night, though these will become more westerly by Saturday as it moves into the north to the New England coast. Scattered showers and snow showers expected, turning to snow showers, with lows around 30.
As for next weekend, it looks set to be shaky with a mix of rain and snow as the New England Low turns towards Quebec and becomes the dominant low as the Midwestern core transfers its energy eastward. But the air flowing over Tompkins County would be more northerly and continental, which means lower humidity and less accumulation by extension. So far, things can change, so take it with a grain of salt. The highs will be in the mid 30s and upper 30s on both Saturday and Sunday, with lows in the mid 20s.
Looking towards the mid-range in the days leading up to Christmas, there’s a good chance that many places that don’t normally see a white Christmas are in for a pleasant surprise this year. The large-scale pattern requires a long-wavelength jet stream with the highest amplitude over the Northern Plains. Virtually all of the lower 48 will be below normal, although the coasts will be less extreme. On the precipitation side of the equation, it seems to be about normal for the period, so Tompkins County may have some white things waiting when the holidays roll around later this month.