More active pattern ahead? Multiple waves with widespread snow and ice possible next week

Weather Blog

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – After a seemingly laid back winter from December to January, things are starting to ramp up in the snowfall department for Rochester.

Rochester continues to fall below average for annual snow after spending the first month of December not even making it to a foot of total snow on the ground. January was able to pick up the slack for us a little bit, but February appears to be coming in strong with already over a foot of snow locked in almost halfway through the month. What you don’t see at first glance is that most of these snow totals came in small bits and events that slowly added up over time. This was especially the case through December and January, but as we progress through the rest of February we’re starting to see bigger snows over a shorter time frame, and we’re definitely not done yet.

What We’re Watching

Signs are pointing towards a more active pattern for Western New York, and may be coming with the help from more widespread events in the form of systems much larger than lake effect snow. Our eyes are now on the seemingly active pattern ahead for next week. Let’s take an early look at what we’re watching, and some of our early takeaways:

The 1st widespread event (Storm 1) we’re watching is set to arrive late Saturday and last into early Sunday morning. This is the event we have the highest confidence in, simply because it’s only a few days out. This will bring us a relatively light snowfall overall to the region with shovelable flakes expected on the order of at least a few inches or so, but nothing we haven’t handled already.

The 2nd wave (Storm 2) seems to be set on arriving at some point on Tuesday, and has the potential to be more significant with more moisture at play. This particular event looks to be a bit stronger than the 1st with higher snow totals expected. The timing of this system remains consistent, but the exact placement of the low will ultimately determine exact final snow amounts and precipitation type. For now this system also looks to bring a widespread snow to the area, and we’ll have a better idea on exact timing in the coming days.

The 3rd system (Storm 3) is still a week away, and the track of the low as it stands now brings more of a wintry mix factor to the region especially south of the thruway. This also gives this storm the potential to be more significant for the time being, but a lot can still change from now until next week. For now it remains a storm in our sights, but there’s still plenty of details to iron out.

As I mentioned before both Storm 2 and 3 are still several days out, so lots can change in terms of timing, placement, and precipitation type and amounts.

To keep up to date with all the latest trends in the forecast, click HERE.

Unique Pattern

The pattern in place is a bit of an unusual one, and one that’s been providing not only us with all the cold, but a large amount of cold that extends into places that aren’t so used to it. This trend of below average temperatures for much of the U.S. only looks to continue while the Northeast coast gears up for decent chances of a more active pattern.

A giant ridge of high pressure has been sitting over the northern U.S. the past few days, which has been fueling the arctic air plummeting temperatures well below zero.

This ridge of high pressure will continue to “bob” up and down and stay relatively where it is as multiple disturbances pass by just to the south. Each pause in the graphic above shows each potential storm, Storm 2 in particular finally pushing this first area of high pressure out of the way, meanwhile another ridge looks to build across the central U.S. before potential Storm 3 moves in from the Gulf to the Northeast, only fueling to the drier trend there over the central U.S.

With the way things have already played out and the way things are looking, February of 2021 will be sure known as the month where winter really took off for Western New York.

~Meteorologist Christine Gregory

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