Conditions to Get Worse by this Afternoon
7am Update: Everything appears this morning as it should. The models are in good agreement with one another and with the current position and strength of the storm over the Ohio Valley and Upper Great Lakes. There is little doubt now that a dangerous event will unfold over our area today.
Low pressure was located over southern Indiana at 7am with an expected track across Ohio and Pennsylvania, ending up near Philadelphia this evening. A large area of precipitation was already associated with this low. The low is expected to strengthen significantly as it moves east. As a result, increased precipitation and more intense precipitation will develop.
While light precipitation, mostly rain, has been falling throughout the overnight, the transition to snow is starting to take place as colder air gets sucked into the storm from the northeast. This transition should continue across much of the Finger Lakes this morning as the main area of precipitation moves in. The rain/snow line should set up near the yellow dashed line on the snow accumulation map around noon before sinking south and east through the afternoon.
Snowfall will be extreme, especially this afternoon. Snowfall rates of 1-2" per hour, maybe more, will be common place. Some thunder and lightning may even be possible. Snow falling at this rate makes it very difficult to keep the roads clear. Winds will begin to increase late this afternoon as temperatures drop. The snow will change from wet and heavy to light and fluffy. This lighter snow will blow around in wind gusts to 40mph, creating white out conditions and extremely dangerous travel. Wind chills will drop to -15º overnight. Thursday may not be much better, with snow showers and strong winds lingering into the afternoon.
This is a DANGEROUS storm and will have a higher impact and higher risk than previous storms this winter. The combination of very heavy snow, strong winds and bitter cold temperatures make this more than the average big snow in our area.
Travel is strongly discouraged. If you must travel, pack a safety kit including food, water, flashlight, batteries, handheld radio, charged cell phone, blankets and warm clothes. If you go into a snowbank, beware of carbon monoxide poisoning from the exhaust of your car. Let someone know your travel plans and check in with them often.
As always, if you have any questions, please let me know.