Will Winter’s First Punch Strike This Weekend?

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The “chatter” over some teeth-chattering chill and the potential for accumulating snowfall by the end of this weekend is growing.

The truth of the matter, although there is high confidence in a major drop in temperature, is that it’s just way too premature at this point in the game to give you any kind of specific snowfall projections. In fact, any forecast from any outlet that delivers that kind of specificity at this juncture should be called into question right now.

The reasons I say this are many. Firstly the storm in question is more than a thousand miles and five days away and in its infant stages. It’s over the Pacific Northwest now and will strengthen across the Plains and upper Midwest this week. Secondly, there are still many run-to-run model differences resolving the evolution of this system.

A couple of things are for sure. The storm we’re tracking will draw in unseasonably to near record warmth to our area Friday and even into Saturday. There’s also no doubt that temperatures will take a dizzying drop by early Sunday.

With air growing colder Sunday, and the winds picking up, showers of rain will mix with and change to a bit of snow with even some lake enhanced snow forming Sunday night and Monday. 

Pattern recognition is always an important tool I use as a meteorologist to make a good forecast. In my sixteen years of forecasting Western New York weather, I can safely say right now that this system is definitely worth watching, as it has *the potential* to produce significant snowfall somewhere in New York state. It all depends on the development and track of the system. The highest elevations, at this time, stand to have the best chance of seeing a significant accumulating snowfall (e.g. Tug Hill, high terrain of the Southern Tier). However, that does not mean that we can completely rule out a significant snowfall here in Rochester.

Bottom line: stay tuned!  Both Stacey and I will have a better handle on this situation by Friday. 

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