Clouds & quiet weather take over the forecast for now, but what’s next… Sun? Snow? What gives?

Weather Blog

2020 was short of your average year in the weather department with quite a bit to talk about. From breaking heat and cold records to Monroe county’s first tornado warning in 11 years, the year had it all. You can check out all the year’s highlights in the story below.

MORE⼁Record heat, wind, late-season snow defined 2020 in local weather

NOTE: Snow totals are calculated per season and not calendar year since our winters cross over between 2 years.

But let’s talk about the year ahead, or at least perhaps the next few weeks. So far, 2021 has given us nothing but dark, dreary weather. From January 1st up to now we’ve been locked in overcast skies, some with snow flurries and drizzle, and others with just plain clouds. In fact, it’s been 57 days since way back on November 10th of 2020 when we had a mostly clear day according to the National Weather Service. Bottom line, we are due for some sun, and it looks like we could get a couple of fleeting chances over the next couple days… so take advantage!

Get the latest updates on the forecast HERE.

Not only has our 2021 started off with clouds, but we’ve been getting very little in the snow totals department. For the month of January we’ve only registered 0.9 inches of snow. We don’t even have one full inch yet, and by the way the pattern is going it’s going to take some time before we get to that measly inch. This leaves us in last place in the Golden Snowball race this year… for now.

However, what we’ve seen so far goes pretty well in line with what we predicted in our Winter Weather Outlook. The overall theme was milder with more snow favoring the second half of the season. You win some you lose some, right?

Where are we going from here?

When scientists want to get an idea of what the overall pattern will look like more than a week out, we often turn to ensemble forecasts for help. Right now, signs are pointing to a colder and more active turn once we get to the middle of January.

Ensemble models take in a wider range of variables and possibilities, so it gives a good idea of what the general pattern could look like without getting into too much detail that other deterministic models do. When there’s more room for error, one misplaced detail can set off the entire forecast, especially with something so delicate and changeable as the atmosphere.

Check out what temperatures could do over the next week or so with data courtesy of the GFS ensemble model.

GFS ensemble of daily high/low temps courtesy of weatherbell

After a stable next few days temperature wise, we look to turn slightly more “mild” with temperatures in the upper 30s instead of low 30s. That’s not a huge deal in the whole scheme of things, but when you look at the switch from the 30s into the teens and 20s for high temperatures come mid January, that tells us that we may be on to something here. A colder and more active switch will favor higher snow totals for sure, but it’s the path of the storm in addition to any lake effect snow that falls afterward that ultimately determines how much we get in the end. Will we ever catch up to Binghamton? Only time will tell.

~Meteorologist Christine Gregory

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