A prolonged storm system continues to work its way through Central New York. The storm has thus far dumped 6"-10" across the Holland Patent Central School District, making for an interesting morning commute on Tuesday. This storm will transition into "Part 3" Tuesday night (with Part 1 being the past weekend's rain, Part 2 being Tuesday's heavy and wet snow, and Part 3 being lake effect snow). While some areas in Central New York will pick up double digit accumulation, on top of what has already fallen, the Holland Patent area looks like it will miss out on the heaviest lake effect. Below is my snowfall forecast from 10 PM Tuesday through 10 PM Wednesday. Again, the snowfall below does not include the snow that has already fallen. The area shaded in white is predicted to receive 2"-4", while the light blue area is predicted to receive 4"-8", and the dark blue area is predicted to receive 8"-12".
A word about Tuesday
The Holland Patent area ended up receiving more snow than was predicted, and morning commute conditions were much worse than I had thought they would be the night before. There are two factors that contributed to this. The first was the temperature was a bit cooler than what I had anticipated. This was caused by one of the low pressure centers moving east on Monday night a faster than what the models had projected. Because low pressures spin in a counter-clockwise direction, the further east it is, the colder the air is that the low pressure pulls over through the area. This storm system is actually composed of two areas of low pressure, one located over Cape Cod (the one that moved a bit further east than what was predicted) and one located 50 miles to the north of Lake Huron. Normally, storms that impact Central New York are only composed of one area of low pressure. These are easier to forecast, as there are simply less variables to account for. In this case, having the two low pressure systems interact with one another complicated wind directions, and the movement of snow bands. This is the cause of the second factor that made the morning commute so snowy. At 6 AM, radar had indicated a dry slot (area in which no snow was falling) was moving toward the Holland Patent area, and as a result, it appeared that the snow would stop around 8 AM. The dry slot, pictured below, had been moving north to south for approximately 50 miles from it's formation in Northern New York. There was no indication that it would stop. Then, just as the dry slot reached Remsen, it stopped advancing, and a line of heavy snow developed right across the Holland Patent area. The dry slot stalled out for several hours, and snow did not lighten up around Holland Patent until around noon. The image to the right shows the movement of the dry slot, while the image to the left shows just how close the heavy snow that developed over Holland Patent was to the dry slot.
Looking back upon the radar loops, it appears that this stop in the dry slot was caused by a sudden change in wind speed from the low pressure system located off of Cape Cod, which gathered strength as it moved over open waters. This increase in wind pushed back against the Canadian low pressure system, which was the driving force behind the dry slot's southerly movement. Unable to move, the clouds continued to build over the same location, producing a band of heavier snowfall that just so happened to be located over the Holland Patent Central School District.
After all of this snow, it would appear as though Winter is here to stay. Not quite. A shift in the jet stream this weekend will bring warmer air and rain to the Central New York region. Highs on Sunday will be close to 50ºF. This will melt the majority, if not all, of the snow we picked up with this system, and the potential for minor creek flooding will have to be monitored as we approach the weekend. The "warmth" will be short-lived however, as highs will return to the upper 20s and mid 30s by the start of next week.