Sunrise Smart Start: Tuesday, December 22

Sunrise Smart Start

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Here are the latest headlines in today’s Sunrise Smart Start on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020.

Congress approves $900B COVID-19 relief bill, sending to Trump

 Congress has passed a $900 billion pandemic relief package Monday night that would deliver long-sought cash to businesses and individuals and resources to vaccinate a nation confronting an increase in COVID-19 cases.

Lawmakers tacked on a $1.4 trillion catchall spending bill and thousands of pages of other end-of-session business in a massive bundle of bipartisan legislation as Capitol Hill prepared to close the books on the year. The bill goes to President Donald Trump for his signature, which is expected in the coming days.

COVID-19 vaccination begins for residents, staff at local nursing homes

On Monday morning, residents and staff at senior homes all over the state received their first COVID-19 vaccination. Jewish Senior Life in Brighton, one of them. Staff members there say this is something they’ve been looking forward to, as it’s a crucial step forward in the return to in-person visitation.

Becky Cavellier is a Physical Therapy Clinical Coordinator at the home, and was among the first to get the COVID-19 vaccinations Monday morning.

Rochester Police Union files petition to stall release of officer disciplinary records

The Rochester Police Locust Club has filed a motion to delay the release of police officers’ disciplinary records.

Those records were previously shielded under section 50-A of the Civil Rights law, which was repealed earlier this year. The City of Rochester announced an effort to make those records publicly available through an online database in July.

Dawn Nguyen released from prison, moved to halfway house

Dawn Nguyen, the woman who bought the gun used in the Christmas Eve ambush that killed two local firefighters, has been released from federal prison and moved to a halfway house in Pittsburgh.

Nguyen, 32, had been sentenced to 8 years in prison with a scheduled release date of June, 4 2021.

2 displaced after house fire on Silver Street

Two people have been displaced from their home after a fire broke out on Silver Street around 3:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

The Rochester Fire Department responded to a fire that started on the porch and eventually spread to the attic. Both people living in the house were able to get out safely and are being assisted by the Red Cross.

Foodlink, Wegmans announce record-breaking total of $700K from Check Out Hunger campaign

 Foodlink announced its annual Check Out Hunger Campaign has raise over $700,000 in donations from Wegmans shoppers.

The annual fundraiser allows you to donate money by adding it to your grocery bill.

Weather forecast: Wild Christmas week on the way

WINTER STORM WATCH FOR GENESEE & WYOMING COUNTIES THURSDAY NIGHT-SATURDAY A.M.

Expect a dull, dreary December day with stubborn clouds, misty light snow, and drizzle to start. Precipitation amounts will be of little consequence, and with temperatures just above freezing, roads will largely just be wet. Temperatures will top out in the upper 30s.

Wednesday looks dry and mild with temperatures climbing into the lower 40s.

NEXT STORM: We have growing confidence in a robust system affecting our weather Christmas Eve into Christmas Day. Expect rain to spread across the area from west to east during the day on Thursday accompanied by a mild southerly breeze. Temperatures will even make a run at 50 degrees! Don’t get too used to that mild air. A powerful cold front will sweep through the viewing area somewhere around Thursday night. This will result in rapidly falling temperatures creating a “flash freeze”. With moisture still leftover, expect a period of widespread, accumulating snow to fall Thursday night. At this point, it appears that most of the moisture that sets up with this front will be out ahead of the cold front and will be “spent” in the form of rain given the mild air that’s out ahead of the front. Residual moisture behind the cold front will be in place which will allow for a brief period of area-wide snow into the wee hours of Christmas morning: Just in time for Santa!

Leftover scattered snow showers will continue Christmas Friday, favoring areas east of Lakes Erie and Ontario. This will persist into Saturday where significant accumulations will be possible.

Winter Storm Watches have been issued for Genesee and Wyoming counties late Thursday night through Saturday in anticipation of what could be significant lake-effect snow. Essentially, the NWS is recognizing that areas downwind of the lakes stand a decent chance of substantial snowfall. It is unusual to see a Watch issued on a Monday that doesn’t even kick in until late Thursday night. None of our other counties are currently under headlines, but that may very well change in the coming days as the forecast evolves.

UNKNOWNS: As always, still several days out, there are more questions than answers. This will be a race between the arrival of cold air and leftover moisture. These races are tricky to time, but have large implications on the overall forecast and impact. A fast cold front turns us to snow earlier Thursday night. I’m closely watching the development of a secondary wave of surface low pressure that could enhance moisture quality across the area. If this surface wave remains weak, the transition from rain to snow is relatively abrupt, limiting accumulation and forcing the area to rely on lake-effect (which will be more selective) for a white Christmas. If the surface wave is more robust, a swath of accumulating snow will blanket the area by Christmas morning, followed by additional lake-effect.

Regardless, we’re confident we’ll experience a rapid freeze-up into Thursday night as temperatures plummet. This alone could be enough for tough sledding for travelers Thursday night into Christmas morning. Any snow on top of that certainly won’t help that situation. With such a large array of possible outcomes still on the table, travelers Thursday/Friday should continue to closely monitor the forecast. We’ll be getting into the wheelhouse of higher resolution model guidance as early as Tuesday. This will help shed some additional light on the evolution of our forecast. Stay tuned.

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