Snow makes a comeback to start April: What you need to know

Weather Blog

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A large and impactful storm system is lining up to bring shovel-worthy snow for a select few to kick off the month of April. Here is the breakdown.

***NWS has a Winter Weather Advisory in effect for Yates County Wednesday evening through Thursday evening***

Snow totals for this event have continued to trend on the lower end of the spectrum with minor accumulations still expected for most areas through Thursday.

The highest snowfall totals will be concentrated east of Rochester, across portions of the far eastern Finger Lakes and into Syracuse. This is where up to a few inches will be possible. Otherwise most of the region will be spared from the first wave of this system. The first round begins overnight and in the first few hours of Thursday as area-wide snow falling mainly to our east. The next band of snow will come in the form of lake effect Thursday afternoon. This is the round that will end up being the most impactful for those that see persistent squalls.

Snow totals through Thursday will be variable and based on where the heaviest bands of lake snow set up. Continue to monitor the updated forecasts here.

WHAT WE KNOW

  • A large trough of cold air moves through the Great Lakes and into Western New York Thursday.
  • Temperatures in the 50s mean rain along a frontal boundary Wednesday.
  • A surface low develops and moves from SW to NE along the front to bring more precipitation.
  • A changeover from rain to snow occurs overnight Wednesday into Thursday.
  • Minimal accumulating snow falls through Thursday afternoon finishing with lake-effect snow.

WHAT WE ARE WORKING OUT

  • How long will the storm remain in New York?
  • How a warm ground will impact totals.
  • What is the exact path of the low? Further west means higher totals closer to a few inches for Rochester. More likely path east means at least a few inches for Syracuse while Rochester gets up to an inch or so by Thursday night.
  • Speed of the low will determine available moisture and lift. Faster is less snow, slower is more snow.
  • How much of a boost do snow totals get from lake enhancement?

TIMING

WEDNESDAY:

Rain showers move along a cold front for most of the day. Off and on showers taper off by sunset. Temperatures hold in the 50s.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT:

A large and deepening low moves from SW to NE along the Appalachians and pushes into New York State around Midnight. Rain showers develop and turn to a rain/snow mix. A slushy inch is possible across the Southern Tier by this point.

THURSDAY MORNING:

The deepening low allows for cold air to filter in and there is a brief period of moderate snow from 2am to 8am. At this point most of this snow looks to fall well to our east. This means not much of anything will fall from Rochester and areas west. Parts of Wayne county and far eastern Finger Lakes have best chance to see a brief coating on the ground by Thursday morning, but higher amounts are expected to remain closer to Syracuse and Central New York.

THURSDAY AFTERNOON:

The storm system will have moved out by lunchtime and colder air begins to pour into the region along a northwest wind. This will mean leftover scattered snow showers with a cold wind. Lake-effect snow showers will send a burst of snow across the region that could bring Western New York up to a few inches to accumulate in places where heavier bands persist. There may be squall-like conditions going into Thursday afternoon, and this is where we get our main snow totals out of. For areas that see lighter squalls based on the transient nature of these bands, a trace to one inch is what we’re thinking at best.

IMPACTS

It looks like the Thursday late morning through afternoon commute will be the most impacted by this storm system as much of the snowfall will be focused to our east Wednesday night into Thursday morning. If you are traveling to Syracuse or anywhere into Central New York and the North Country don’t be surprised to see some of these snow showers, which will be more of a shock after being so mild.

Untreated and less traveled roads across the Finger Lakes will be most impacted and may become snow covered Thursday. Well traveled roads across Monroe County will do a better job staying clear as temperatures remain marginal (right around freezing to help prevent significant accumulation) through Thursday afternoon. Bridges and overpasses may also become snow covered. Otherwise this will be a nuisance snow for most locally.

Lake-effect snow Thursday afternoon may mean bursts of snow reducing visibility and dropping a quick coating of snow on surfaces. Snow squall warnings going off on phones will be possible, so make sure to pay close attention to the forecast throughout the course of the day Thursday.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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