A cold front moving through central New York this evening will bring a change to colder weather. The return of the colder air will also signal the return to heavy lake effect snow, at least for parts of the region. Overnight, our winds will settle into a west-southwesterly direction and that will bring heavy snow off of Lake Ontario well north of Syracuse. Later tonight and into the first half of Wednesday the target zone for these heaviest squalls will be the Tug Hill region of Jefferson, Lewis and Oswego Counties where snowfall rates of an inch or more per hour are possible. By later Wednesday, accumulations in the most persistent squalls in these areas will range from 8-16”
With that generally westerly wind we will have to watch for some lake snows off Lake Erie. However, because the lake is nearly frozen, the snows off Erie into the Finger Lakes east to just south of Syracuse won’t be as productive as what comes off Lake Ontario.
The squalls off Lake Ontario won’t stay north of Syracuse all day Wednesday. A storm system in the upper atmosphere currently in the Great Lakes will move east Wednesday and track east across central New York during the middle of the day. This will cause the wind direction in the lower atmosphere to ‘veer’ or turn from the west into the northwest. That will take the squalls and move them south toward the Syracuse area. While they will weaken quite a bit when they south, the squalls will still be capable of putting down a light accumulation later in the day.
One more note about Wednesday: the winds will be strong. The parent storm down at the ground (not in the upper atmosphere we mentioned above) will be moving into Canada and the difference in pressure between this deep low and high pressure back over the Midwest will cause our winds to gust past 30 mph during the day
Our wind flow is forecast to remain out of the northwest Wednesday night into Thursday. While the set up is not favorable for big snows, the persistent nature of the wind flow alone in and around the Syracuse area will mean additional accumulations are expected. Once the lake effect ends later Thursday it will just remain chilly by late February standards.
A whole new storm system is forecast to pull out of the middle part of the country for the end of the week, but it will be weakening as it does. At this point any rain or wet snow that moves in from this system starting late Friday into Saturday will be fairly light in nature. Temperatures will moderate, too, for the weekend with highs in the 30s.