Wednesday storms: The focus was over Lake Ontario

Weather Blog

(Video recorded during News 8 at 6)


ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – The focus right now is over Lake Ontario. A strong storm that looks very like to have produced a waterspout as of 5:40pm EST continues to move due east about 15 miles north of the Orleans County coastline. This will be a storm to watch but poses no threat to land.

*Below refers to previous forecasts*


The area we’re starting to keep an eye on is circled in blue with some showers trying to develop south and west of Rochester and out towards Buffalo, but none have managed to get going so far. With enough moisture in place and a potential lake breeze off of Lake Erie, it may be enough to get some “omf” out of these cells. At this point, it looks increasingly unlikely many areas at all will see much more in terms of developing stronger showers, especially as the sun begins to set and daytime heating fades. Even though the chance remains, it’s a low end chance at best.

The latest model run of the HRRR is still optimistic at popping a few scattered, but weak looking showers mostly south and east of Rochester. With the slightest bit of convection trying it’s hardest to get going towards Buffalo and across the Southern Tier, I’m intrigued to see if any of them begin to drop some rain similar to this latest model run.


A decent amount of breaks in the clouds have begun to take place across WNY as the warm front continues to lift through the region, but the incredibly humid atmosphere has made any significant clearing difficult to accomplish. Because of the area’s hard time finding significant breaks in the clouds, the amount of instability in the air remains lower than previously thought, and therefore chances for significant widespread convection to develop remains low. Any showers and storms that do end up popping up will likely be more isolated in nature, while at the same time providing a good downpour with all the moisture present in the atmosphere. There still remains a good amount of daytime heating left in the day, so instability is likely to increase to help any future pop ups get going.


The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has kept much of our area south and east of Rochester in a slight (level 2) risk for severe weather development for this afternoon. Even though the risk is very much still present with a very primed atmosphere in place, our weather team has made the decision to portray the threat as a level 1 risk considering the isolated nature we’re expecting these storms to potentially take.

With the warm front already over our heads, ample warmth and moisture will be present in the atmosphere awaiting any potential storms to fire with anyone still fair game for a strong shower or storm to pop up. The strength and placement of these storms will rely on breaks in the clouds that would help destabilize the air and get a few of these showers to go “rogue.” These breaks of sun along with a primed atmosphere will warrant keeping an eye out for any convective redevelopment.

NOTE: the threat for strong to severe weather this afternoon remains isolated, which means not everyone is guaranteed to see these strong storms. Many of us may go the rest of the day seeing plenty of dry time, while others may see a thunderstorm producing heavy rain and rumbles with gusty winds. The scattered nature of these developing storms will warrant us to keep an eye to the sky all afternoon long.

The main threats with any storms that do pop will be isolated wind gusts, heavy downpours, and frequent lightning.

We will continue to monitor the threat for severe weather with constant coverage from the WROC Weather Team.

~Meteorologist Christine Gregory

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