A storm system moving out of the middle of the country is behaving more like a spring storm than one in the middle of winter. Record high temperatures and severe weather have highlighted the weather from the Plains to the Mississippi Valley today. It’s a complex system with a cold front stretching south through the middle of the country with areas of low pressure tracking northeast along the front. Meanwhile, a warm front stretches east from the cold front into the Ohio Valley.
The first part of this complex system to impact us will be the warm front. It will move from south to north across central New York tonight. There will be some showers along this front as it moves through and, in spite of the time of year, there could even be some thunder. Temperatures down at ground level will only be in the 40s but several thousand feet up the air will be more favorable for thunderstorms formation. By Wednesday morning, the warm front will have cleared the region and so too will most of the rain.
As one main area of low pressure forms along the cold front to our west and strengthens, winds over central New York will start to increase. This is due to an increasing pressure gradient (change in air pressure over distance) as the weather system to the west gets closer to Central New York. In fact, it’s projected that wind speeds will reach 70 mph or greater 3000-5000 feet above the ground during the day tomorrow. While these kinds of winds speeds won’t be felt down at ground level, it will be a rather windy day across all of central New York. Over the hilltops (closer to the core of strongest winds) there could be wind gusts past 50 mph during the day.
The strong southerly winds will import unseasonably mild air into central New York Wednesday. We feel that the record of 54 set in 2006 is in jeopardy tomorrow and we could end up near 60!
The warmth will be short-lived, however, as that strong cold front (now in the middle of the country) sweeps through central New York Wednesday evening. There will likely be a period of steadier, heavier rain as it moves through and the winds will get quite gusty, even over the lower elevations. Much colder air will surge in behind the cold front
With a cold and moist air mass moving over the Great Lakes Thursday, heavier lake effect snow will fall. Right now it appears the heaviest snow Thursday will fall east of Lake Ontario. That means for most of central New York it will just be a blustery and colder day Thursday with flurries. Now, IF lake effect snow were going to impact the Syracuse area it would have to come Thursday night or Friday as our computer models suggest a switch in the winds to more of a northwesterly direction. Chilly temperatures and the threat for snow showers will persist into the upcoming weekend.