Friday, January 21, 2011

Winter's Fury Unleashed

As posted by Drew Montreuil on, 1/21/11

Old Man Winter sure is angry these days, and we will not be escaping his wrath over the next week or so. The first fits of his anger are already being felt across much of the northern half of the country. Yet another Nor'easter is striking parts of New England. This storm brought us 3-6" of snow overnight, but parts of Maine will see over a foot.

In the Midwest, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued an 'Extreme Cold Warning' for parts of Minnesota last night. The Extreme Cold Warning is a new warning the NWS is trying out for temperatures lower than -40º. The warning surely verified, as temperatures this morning in International Falls, Minnesota got down to a mind-numbing -46º. Even Rochester, Minnesota, in the southern part of the state, dropped to -20º.

Some of the cold is on the way for us, but Old Man Winter has another shot to throw at us first: another bout of heavy lake effect snow. Schools across northern Cayuga, northern Onondaga and Oswego counties are dismissing early in anticipation of the lake effect blitz.

A huge contributor to heavy lake effect snow in a set-up like today's is whether or not moisture from the Upper Great Lakes is able to feed the Lake Ontario band. Observations from Canada this morning are indicating that the connection is being made, which only will increase the chances of heavy snow.

The lake effect will start up this afternoon and last into tomorrow morning before only gradually weakening and moving northward tomorrow. Some areas across Oswego, Oneida and northern Onondaga counties could see upwards of 2 feet by late tomorrow morning.

If that was not bad enough, the cold temperatures and winds will bring wind chills down to potentially dangerous levels late this afternoon and tonight. Even those not impacted by the lake effect will want to make sure they are properly bundled up against the cold.

This is all just the beginning though, and the next assault from Winter's War comes in Sunday and Monday. The bitter cold air mass that was over Minnesota this morning will work its way over us later this weekend.

High temperatures Sunday and Monday will struggle to reach 10º, and Sunday night will be the coldest night we have seen in a few years. Many areas across Central New York will see the mercury drop to -10º, and some of the outlying areas may even see -20º.

And now, could a grand finale to Old Man Winter's assault be in the works? The latest long range weather models are showing hints of another coastal storm in the works for the middle of next week. If the current model projections hold true, Central New York could be looking at its biggest widespread snow of the season so far. While it is way too early to tell whether or not that will come to pass, it will need to be watched as we head into next week.

On the bright least its not -46º!

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