Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Buffalo, NY

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FXUS61 KBUF 202044

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Buffalo NY
344 PM EST Fri Jan 20 2017

Steady rain across Western New York and the Southern Tier will give
way to scattered showers across the eastern half of the forecast
area this evening as a weakening trough advances across the region.
Plenty of low clouds, drizzle, and patchy fog will linger behind
this trough from tonight through much of the weekend, though
temperatures will be unseasonably mild. An area of low pressure is
then forecast to move northward along the east coast early next
week. This system may tap into just enough cold air to allow rain to
change to wet snow later Monday through Tuesday.


A broad swath of light to moderate rain extends from the Buffalo
metro southeast across the Southern Tier and Western Finger Lakes
this afternoon. This band is associated with a mid-level trough and
surface warm front that is advancing north across the region. This
feature will continue to spread rain north and east across the
Genesee valley as we move through the rest of the afternoon hours;
however expect the coverage to become more spotty as the front
continues to track north-northeast and the mid-level trough
supporting the precipitation fills as supporting upper level DPVA
becomes sheared-out late this afternoon into this evening. By the
time the remnants reach the North Country tonight, expect just a few

While precipitation will taper off as me move through the evening,
abundant low-level moisture, as indicated by dewpoints in the 50s
across the Ohio valley, will continue to be advected into our area.
With this moisture becoming trapped underneath approaching mid-level
ridging, expect low clouds, fog, and drizzle to return to the
forecast area tonight, not long after any warm frontal precipitation
ends. The gloomy weather will linger through the day on Saturday,
particularly across the Lake Ontario plains, as low level flow
becomes northeasterly and upslope. The one consolation though will
be that it will be exceptionally mild, with highs in the lower 50s
across many areas. The North Country will not be in quite as warm an
airmass however, and temperatures there should remain in the lower


Ridging aloft will keep a subsidence inversion in place at about
900mb where models continue to show this inversion will keep
moisture trapped just off the surface. Expect overcast to mostly
cloudy skies with low clouds Saturday night through Sunday with some
weak lift leaving a slight chance for some drizzle. Temps bottoming
out in the mid 30s across the north county with low 40s across and
west of the Finger Lakes will warm about 10 degrees for Sunday with
most areas topping out in the mid to upper 40s. A few 50s can be
found toward the Lake Erie shoreline where an easterly winds will
downslope to the lake shore.

Sunday night through Monday night will be focused on a strengthening
storm system that looks to roughly track from the Gulf Coast states
up along the Southern Appalachians Sunday night then across the Mid-
Atlantic to off the New Jersey coast Monday and Monday night as the
parent upper trough becomes negatively tilted along the east coast.
A 50-70kt southeasterly low level jet ahead of this system will
advect deep Atlantic moisture north and northwestward ahead of the
700mb low center which will bring in a widespread swath of
precipitation Sunday night and Monday into western and central NY.
Temps during this period will run above freezing surface and aloft
with the main p-type being plain rain. Cooler profiles are found
across the North County were some rain, wet snow and potentially
sleet will likely bring a wintry mix. Later Monday into Monday night
guidance indicates that dynamic cooling will cool profiles to below
freezing which will likely change p-type over to a mix of rain and
snow then wet snow by Monday night. Any accumulations through Monday
will be confined to the higher terrain of the Southern Tier, Bristol
Hills and across the Tug where the latest forecast allows for an
inch or two of snow. QPF forecasts are still quite uncertain for
Monday night and beyond but could lead to more accumulating snow.
There still is a potenial for significant snows as several of the
analogs for this event show 72-hour snow totals above the warning
threshold although the mean of the top 15 analogs only includes
warning level snows east of the lakes with below warning threshold
snows elsewhere. Stay tuned.


Latest model guidance remains in fairly good agreement depicting a
mid level cut off low in the eastern Pennsylvania/New Jersey
vicinity early Tuesday, lifting across eastern New York during
the day. Bulk of the associated heavier precipitation should fall
to the east of the area, as main area of forcing is aligned to
the north and east of the of the main cut off. Nonetheless, steady
precipitation should be found as far west as the north Country
aided by a favorable upslope mechanism.

The models are in fairly good agreement with the main synoptic
features, but differ in details of exact storm track, timing,
precipitation amounts, and thermal profiles. The thermal profiles
and resulting precipitation types will have a big impact on eventual
snow accumulations. Models trending towards a deepening colder
column on Tuesday, as colder air drifts southward due to a northerly
flow from high pressure settling into the Canadian Maritimes. Used
the ECMWF for top-down procedure to determine precipitation types,
with a myriad of mainly snow, some sleet and rain. Expect the best
chance for accumulating snow will be across the higher terrain of
the North Country, potentially significant. Therefore will continue
to mention chances for wintry precipitation in the Hazardous Weather
Outlook product, although it is much too soon to mention any
specific amounts.

The system will pull away from the region Tuesday night, as a short-
wave ridge builds in from the west. However, the next system will
quickly approach from the upper Midwest/western Great Lakes
region in the fast flow pattern bringing increasing chances for
snow/rain showers Wednesday into Thursday. Colder air will
gradually work in later next week with better chances for snow,
and possibly some lake effect snow by the very end of the period.
Temperatures will start out above normal, but should trend colder
by the end of the week.


A warm frontal rain band continues to move across WNY this
afternoon, with MVFR conditions now being observed at KBUF. This
rain band and associated MVFR cigs/vsbys will continue to advance
NNE across the forecast area this afternoon, bringing MVFR
conditions at least as far as KROC. After that, the band is expected
to weaken considerably as the mid-level trough is sheared out across
Central NY. However, an abundance of lingering moisture trapped
underneath encroaching upper-level ridging will result in the
development of IFR conditions across the bulk of the forecast area
tonight, with fog and drizzle lingering at least through Sat
morning, and IFR cigs only gradually improving to MVFR during the
afternoon on Sat.


Saturday Night and Sunday...Areas of IFR/MVFR in low stratus, fog,
and drizzle.
Monday and Monday night...Areas of MVFR/IFR with rain changing to
wet snow.
Tuesday...Areas of MVFR/IFR with wet snow.
Wednesday...VFR/MVFR with a chance of rain and snow.


Light winds will remain in place across the lakes through the first
half of the weekend. However, northeasterly winds will freshen on
Sunday as a large and deepening low pressure system tracks from the
southern Plains to the Piedmont. This will bring small craft
advisory conditions  to the western half of Lake Ontario by Sunday
evening. These conditions should last at least through Monday night
before winds back to the northwest as the low morphs into a coastal
low that moves up the Northeast corridor through Tuesday.





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