Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Buffalo, NY
FXUS61 KBUF 040900
Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Buffalo NY
400 AM EST Sun Dec 4 2016
Fair weather can be expected across the region today...as a large
area of high pressure will drift across the Lower Great Lakes. A
weak disturbance passing over the forecast area tonight will then
produce several hours of widespread light snow. Another surface high
will offer a short break from the unsettled conditions Monday
afternoon and night before our weather will become quite active for
the remainder of the week. This will include a trend towards wintry
weather after Wednesday when significant lake snows will impact
areas east of both lakes.
.NEAR TERM /THROUGH TONIGHT/...
While there could be some leftover lake effect flurries or sprinkles
southeast of both lakes this morning...the axis of a large surface
high will gradually pass over our region today. This will assure us
of fair dry weather for the vast majority of the day...although the
cloud cover over the western counties may be stubborn to break. This
will be due to a wealth of low level moisture that will be at least
partially trapped beneath a pronounced subsidence inversion at 5k ft.
IR imagery at 08z shows that there is a trend towards at least
partial clearing northwest of a line from Georgian Bay and Toronto
to the Finger Lakes. This jibes well with much of the guidance and
makes sense given the somewhat weaker cap over that region. Will aim
to go with a little more sun for those areas today...but as we
progress through the afternoon...mid and high level moisture will
start to advance over our forecast area ahead of the next weather
This next feature will be a negatively tilted trough that will
advance from the Upper Great Lakes and Ohio Valley this afternoon to
our forecast area tonight. While this system will lack significant
baroclinicity and low level forcing...a divergent flow aloft will
combine with 100m hgt falls to provide plenty of lift to generate
some widespread snow. The snowfall will be generally be light...but
with liquid equivalent amounts of pcpn forecast to be in the vcnty of
0.2 of an inch...snowfall amounts should range from an inch or so
across the lake plains and near the lakes to two inches across the
In regards to temperatures...the mercury will climb into the upper
30s to lower 40s across the western counties this afternoon while
sites east of Lake Ontario will be a few degrees chillier.
Tonight...the mins will range from around freezing over the western
counties to the mid 20s over the North Country.
.SHORT TERM /MONDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY/...
This period will open with a mid and upper level trough shearing
out as it finishes sliding northeastward across our region on Monday.
At the surface...an attendant surface trough/pseudo warm-frontal
boundary will finish crossing our area in a similar fashion...with
surface high pressure over the Ohio Valley then ridging into our
area in its wake.
A swath of mixed light rain and snow out ahead of the trough will
continue to taper off from southwest to northeast through the day...
with any additional snowfall accumulations on the order of an inch
or less and mainly confined to the North Country. Following its
passage...a lingering westerly flow will help to generate some
scattered light lake effect/orographically-induced rain and snow
showers east of the lakes...though these should be pretty short-
lived and inconsequential in nature as subsidence and drying increase
under the building surface ridge. Temperatures will be right around
average...with daytime highs ranging in the upper 30s to lower 40s.
Monday night the aforementioned ridge will crest across our region
during the first half of the night...before slowly drifting east
toward New England overnight. This feature will provide our region
with a period of fair and quiet weather along with some partial
clearing...which will allow overnight lows to bottom out between
the mid 20s and lower 30s.
After a dry start to the day Tuesday...a southern stream shortwave
and attendant weak surface low will quickly ripple northeastward
from the Tennessee and Lower Ohio Valleys and cross our region
between Tuesday night and Wednesday. Increasing moisture and warm
advective lift out ahead of this next system will begin working its
way across areas south of Lake Ontario as early as Tuesday afternoon...
before spreading across the remainder of the area Tuesday night. At
this point both available moisture and forcing look plentiful enough
for this system to generate another round of widespread light rain
and snow as it crosses our region...with the bulk of this falling
between later Tuesday afternoon and night...then quickly tapering
off from west to east during the day on Wednesday as the wave slides
off to our northeast. Meanwhile temperatures will remain around or
slightly above seasonal averages...with highs both Tuesday and
Wednesday ranging in the upper 30s to lower 40s...and lows Tuesday
night mostly in the lower to mid 30s.
.LONG TERM /WEDNESDAY NIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY/...
This period will feature a major pattern change across our region...
as deep upper level troughing develops across eastern North America
and drags much colder Canadian air into our region...with 850 mb
temperatures consequently dropping off into the negative mid teens
by the end of the week. For our area...this will translate into
the arrival of considerably more wintry temperatures later on in
the week...as well as the development of potentially significant
lake effect snows downwind of the Great Lakes.
As the trough digs toward our region early on in the period...it
should spur the development of yet another wave of low pressure on
its eastern flank during the Wednesday night-Thursday time frame...
though the medium range guidance continues to exhibit considerable
differences with the timing and strength of this wave...with the
00Z/04 ECMWF remaining consistently deeper and slower with this
feature than the much weaker and faster GFS.
For our region...this wave will likely bring another round of
fairly widespread snow and rain showers as it passes through our
region later on in the week...with these remaining centered on
Thursday at this time following both a model consensus approach
and our existing continuity.
Following the passage of this wave...much colder Canadian air will
then flood across our region through the remainder of the week as
highlighted above. Coupled with what should be plentiful moisture...
this will set the stage for a round of potentially significant lake
snows Thursday night through Friday night...with these then likely
weakening at least some and shrinking up in coverage on Saturday as
high pressure and drier air ridge into our area from the Central
Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.
With respect to the location of the lake snows...current guidance
continues to suggest that the large-scale flow across our region
will generally be westerly to west-northwesterly once the colder
air arrives later on in the week...which would tend to direct the
most significant lake snows across the traditional snow belts east
and east-southeast of the lakes. The above stated...attempting to
pin down exact band locations this far in advance is generally a
fruitless enterprise as much can still change...with even small
variations in the low level wind field having a large influence
on lake band positions and consequently the areas of greatest
overall forecast concern. With this in mind...it will likely be
at least a few more days before the exact details of this next
event begin to become more clear.
As for temperatures...these will progressively lower through the
period...with daytime highs in the mid to upper 30s Thursday
dropping off to typical midwinter levels in the mid 20s to lower
30s in time for both Friday and Saturday.
.AVIATION /09Z SUNDAY THROUGH THURSDAY/...
A wealth of low level moisture trapped beneath a subsidence
inversion will keep strato-cu cigs of 2500-4000 ft across the region
through about 14z. Partial clearing can then be expected...mainly
east of the Genesee Valley. As a result...the MVFR cigs across the
southern tier and portions of the IAG Frontier will improve to VFR
levels for the late morning...joining the rest of the forecast area.
Tonight...a disturbance over the Ohio valley will push northeast
across the Lower Great Lakes. This feature will produce widespread
light snow with conditions deteriorating to at least MVFR levels.
The snow should reduce vsbys to IFR levels for several hours after
Monday...MVFR with a chance of rain and snow showers.
Tuesday night and Wednesday...VFR deteriorating to MVFR with some
rain becoming likely.
Thursday...MVFR/IFR with snow likely.
A large surface high will drift across the Lower Great Lakes
today...and this will maintain light winds and negligible waves.
Tonight...while a disturbance with widespread light snow will push
across the region...winds are not expected to notably freshen until
Monday when the gradient will temporarily tighten between the
exiting system and the next surface high. A short period of small
craft advisories may be needed...mainly over the eastern half of
Lake Ontario during the afternoon and early evening. Winds and waves
will subside with the arrival of another surface high overnight
While winds will freshen from the east on Tuesday...they will remain
below small craft advisory levels while the higher waves will be
confined to Canadian waters.
Looking further ahead...a deep storm forecast to track across James
Bay late in the week will likely generate gale force winds over the
Lower Great Lakes Thursday night and Friday.