Monday, October 27, 2008

First snow of the season!

The past 24 hours have been crazy on the weather models. Yesterday, all but one model, the North American Mesoscale (NAM) were showing an area of low pressure heading into eastern New England, leaving Central New York more or less alone, with lake effect kicking in towards Tuesday night and Wednesday. The NAM, however, brought the storm much closer, giving our area its first accumulating snow of the year. Over the past 24 hours, however, the other models have come into agreement with the NAM, and suddenly we have a snow storm on our hands!

Now, keep in mind, I use 'snow storm' in the context of a normal October. We won't be seeing feet of snow, but for a first snow, this is pretty big. Here is what is happening:

An area of low pressure is beginning to form over North Carolina. Already moisture is spreading northward ahead of this, though most isn't reaching the ground yet. As this storm explodes and heads north, it will pull down some chilly air. That will make the precipitation that starts tonight and for the first part of tomorrow mostly rain. More importantly, however is that this rain will be snow not very high up in the atmosphere. As it melts, it will aid in cooling things down and changing precipitation over to snow. The higher elevations will see the change over first, probably as early as mid to late morning tomorrow. The lower elevations will begin to change over during the afternoon and evening hours. By tomorrow night, everyone should be seeing accumulating snow. Cayuga and Tompkins counties are not under any advisories, but Cortland county, with its higher hill tops, is under a Winter Weather Advisory.

The winds will be gusty with this as well. That, plus the heavy, wet nature of this snow could cause some branches to come down in the higher terrain. Had this come a week or two earlier, when the leaves were still on the trees, we would have some problems. We are lucky though and I am not anticipating many, if any, power outages.

This storm will be a quick mover, so real high totals aren't expected. The map below shows what to expect through 9AM Wednesday. Beyond that, Lake Effect snows will set up, but probably stay to our north, with additional accumulations. Stay tuned!

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