Scientific Forecaster Discussion

Return to Local Conditions & Forecast

Without Abbreviations
With Abbreviations

000 
FXUS61 KBUF 251817
AFDBUF

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Buffalo NY
117 PM EST Sat Feb 25 2017

.SYNOPSIS...
A strong cold front will move from west to east across the area 
today with a period of rain and scattered thunderstorms. 
Temperatures will fall sharply on gusty winds behind the cold front 
with scattered snow showers developing by late this afternoon and 
this evening. Lake effect snow will bring minor accumulations east 
of Lakes Erie and Ontario tonight into early Sunday before tapering 
off later in the day. Temperatures will warm to well above normal 
again by the middle of next week before winter cold returns by the 
end of the week.

&&

.NEAR TERM /THROUGH TONIGHT/...
Radar imagery shows a band of moderate rain over Western NY from
Buffalo to Rochester with this rain gradually moving east. 
Farther east, it will remain dry east of Lake Ontario through 
late morning. The mid-morning forecast update speeds up the
timing of the front by an hour or two based on the latest
observations. Otherwise, few changes were made to the existing
forecast.

A strong mid level trough will move from the central Great Lakes to 
western Quebec through tonight, taking on a negative tilt with time. 
Meanwhile at the surface, strong low pressure will take a similar 
track from just north of Georgian Bay this morning to western Quebec 
by this evening, deepening with time. A strong trailing cold front 
will cross the area from west to east this morning through mid 
afternoon.

Rain and Thunderstorms...
Thunderstorms have developed along a frontal boundary, with most
of this activity along the eastern cwa border heading into
Northern and Central New York.

Following the band of frontal rainfall, a mid level dry slot will 
bring a quick end to the rain from west to east this afternoon. A 
few scattered rain and wet snow showers may develop again toward 
evening across far western NY as wrap around moisture arrives.

Strong Winds...

This system will also produce gusty synoptic scale winds this 
afternoon and evening as cold air comes rushing back into 
Western NY. The track of the surface low is very favorable for 
strong winds across Western NY, with a deepening surface low 
tracking to the north and west of our region. Strong pressure 
rises and cold advection behind the cold front will support 
subsidence and downward momentum transfer of stronger winds from
aloft. A tropopause fold within the mid level trough will move 
into Western NY later this afternoon with the 1.5 PVU surface 
decending to around 500mb, supporting enhanced subsidence. 

There are some negatives to this setup however. Winds aloft are not 
particularly strong with around 50 knots on the GFS at 3K feet and 
40-45 knots on the NAM. The strongest isallobaric fall/rise couplet 
and deepest tropopause fold are both now forecast to miss our region 
to the northwest, tracking across Lake Huron. Balancing out the 
negatives and positives of the setup, it still appears to be a mid 
range advisory event for areas along and northeast of Lake Erie 
where funnelling down the lake enhances the wind. Expect peak gusts 
of around 50mph in this area, with the strongest gusts only lasting 
for a few hours from mid afternoon through early evening.

Also, mesoscale guidance and BUFKIT show the potential for 
brief period of gusty west east of Lake Ontario early afternoon
with the passage of the front. These gusts are likely to be 
sub- advisory unless convection enhances these gusts.

Lake Effect Snow...

Much colder air and wrap around moisture will sweep across the Lower 
Great Lakes tonight. The passage of the mid level trough will 
produce a few scattered snow showers outside of lake effect areas. 
The airmass will briefly become favorable for a lake response, with 
lake induced equilibrium levels rising to around 8K feet. 

Off Lake Erie...expect lake effect snow showers to rapidly increase 
this evening across the Chautauqua Ridge and higher terrain of 
southern Erie and western Wyoming counties. The snow should reach 
peak coverage and intensity during the mid to late evening, then 
gradually weaken overnight as inversion heights begin to lower. 
Expect total accumulations of 2-3 inches across the higher terrain 
inland from the lake.

Off Lake Ontario...expect a plume of lake effect snow showers to 
develop quickly on the heels of the synoptic rainfall by early this 
evening. The band will then intensify by late evening across the Tug 
Hill region, then move south across Oswego County during the wee 
hours of Sunday morning. Snowfall rates may reach 1 inch per hour 
briefly before weakening by daybreak Sunday. Expect amounts of 2-5 
inches with the greatest amounts isolated to the higher terrain of 
the Tug Hill Plateau. 

Temperatures...

The front is through most of the cwa, with temperatures in the
lower 40s in most areas except ahead of the front where it is in
the lower to mid 60s. Lows tonight will return to typical late 
winter values, with mid 20s on the lake plains and lower 20s 
across higher terrain.

&&

.SHORT TERM /SUNDAY THROUGH MONDAY NIGHT/...
Lake effect snows will continue Sunday morning east and southeast of 
Lakes Erie and Ontario, as -14C 850 mb air streams across the lower 
Great Lakes. The best moisture will be found across Lake Ontario, 
along with a long fetch of the lake and some upstream contribution 
from the Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. Given these parameters, expect 
a single plume of lake effect snow across southern Oswego and 
northern Cayuga Counties. As the band shift toward the south shore 
of Lake Ontario, expect some of the band to clip across shoreline 
portions of Niagara, Orleans and Monroe counties for a few hours in 
the morning. In terms of snowfall amounts, the least impressive 
totals will be off Lake Erie, where mainly 1-3 inches across the 
higher terrain, as the short fetch produces weaker multibands. East 
of Lake Ontario, expect 24-36 hour total accumulations of 2-5 inches 
east of Lake Ontario, with the higher amounts restricted to the Tug 
Hill Plateau. Also expect a light coating up to an inch across 
portions northern portions of Niagara and Orleans counties. In 
addition to any snow chances, winds will remain quite gusty through 
Sunday as the tail end of an 850mb jet lingers over the eastern 
Great Lakes. Gusts 25 to 30 will be common. Temperatures will only 
rebound to the low 30s on Sunday.

Sunday night a shortwave trough will move through southern Ontario 
and Quebec, with a low-level jet developing as warmer air advects 
into the region for Monday. This will bring early overnight lows 
around 30 before warming to the mid 30s across the lake plains. It 
will also get quite gusty again overnight across the lake plains as 
the jet moves through, with gusts up to 35 mph possible. Interior 
portions of the Southern Tier, Finger Lakes and North Country will 
remain cooler and not nearly as windy overnight. A few snow showers 
cannot be ruled out overnight in the North Country as the wave moves 
by to the north with added moisture and upslope into the Tug and 
western Adirondacks.

&&

.LONG TERM /TUESDAY THROUGH FRIDAY/...
After our brief shot of seasonal temperatures and weather early in 
the week, we return to a very mild pattern again by mid-week. 
Another low pressure system will develop in the central plains and 
track toward the Great Lakes, bringing much above normal 
temperatures to the east coast again. This will also bring more rain 
to the region Tuesday night through Wednesday night as the low 
tracks just to our west. 00Z model guidance has come into better 
alignment on the timing and track of the low. Given this, have 
increased high temperature forecasts for Tuesday and especially 
Wednesday when we should become established in the warm sector ahead 
of the low. Expect highs could once again push into the upper 50s, 
and even the 60s for some on Wednesday. 

In the wake of this low pressure system, we remain on track to 
return to normal winter conditions to end the week. Model consensus 
supports deep troughing across the northeast for the end of the 
week, with 850 mb temperatures down to around -12C Thursday, and 
perhaps as cold as -20C by Friday night. This would result in normal 
to even below normal temperatures by Friday. Expect the return of 
some lake effect snows during this period, with the potential for a 
couple of clippers which could bring some light general snowfall to 
the region.

&&

.AVIATION /18Z SATURDAY THROUGH THURSDAY/...
A cold front has passed through all the TAF sites, with W-SW
post frontal winds. This should pick up from west to east this
afternoon and early evenings, with gusts to 40 kts possible at
BUF/IAG. VFR conditons are in place across much of Western New
York, with lingering IFR conditions at ART which should improve
as drier air builds in behind the front. 

Tonight a few scattered snow showers will develop as a mid level 
trough crosses the region, producing spotty MVFR. Lake effect snow 
will also develop east of both lakes with local IFR. Off Lake Erie 
this will mainly impact the higher terrain of the Western Southern 
Tier including KJHW. Off Lake Ontario this will mainly focus across 
the Tug Hill and Oswego County.

Expect mainly VFR conditions on Sunday, with the exception of
lingering MVFR conditions due to lake effect snow showers at 
JHW.

Outlook... 

Sunday night...VFR. 
Monday...VFR, possible MVFR with chance of -SHRA/-SHSN. 
Tuesday...VFR/MVFR with a chance of showers. 
Wednesday...MVFR/IFR with showers likely.
Thursday...Mainly VFR. A chance of snow showers.

&&

.MARINE...
A strong cold front will sweep from west to east across the Lower 
Great Lakes this morning and early afternoon. West winds will 
increase in the wake of the cold front and peak during the late 
afternoon on Lake Erie, and this evening on Lake Ontario. Both lakes 
appear to peak just below gale force, with sustained winds reaching 
30 knots for a few hours. This will bring high end Small Craft 
Advisory conditions to both lakes. Stronger winds will continue 
through Sunday night before the pressure gradient relaxes on Monday.

&&

.HYDROLOGY...
There is a potential for localized areal and small stream 
flooding across the entire Eastern Lake Ontario Region today
through Sunday. River flood warnings have been issued for 
forecast points along the Black River and Moose River. Also, an
areal flood warning is in effect for areas where there is
significant snow pack.

While the snow pack has largely melted across Western New York,
a significant snow pack remains east of Lake Ontario, including 
the Black River basin. Snow water equivalent values are about 
130% of normal, with this snow pack ripe due to the warm 
weather.

Today, a strong system will pass to our north with a prolonged 
period of warm (50+ degree) temperatures until the passage of a
cold front drops temperatures below freezing tonight. This will
be combine with gusty winds and high dewpoints to rapidly melt 
a significant portion of the snow pack in place. This system 
will also bring a period of rain today, with amounts expected to
average around an inch.

This may result in multiple issues east of Lake Ontario. The
combination of rainfall and snowmelt may cause flooding in low-
lying areas and faster responding creeks and rivers later today.
Some ice jams are also possible. After this, runoff will cause 
the Black River and its tributaries that drain the Tug Hill 
Plateau and the western Adirondacks to respond tonight and 
Sunday and lasting into next week. Flooding is also possible on 
the Salmon River and other rivers in northern Oswego County that
drain the western slopes of the Tug Hill.

&&

.BUF WATCHES/WARNINGS/ADVISORIES...
NY...Flood Watch through Sunday evening for NYZ006>008.
     Wind Advisory until 10 PM EST this evening for NYZ001>003-
     010>012-019-085.
MARINE...Small Craft Advisory until 1 AM EST Sunday for LEZ020.
         Small Craft Advisory until 7 AM EST Monday for LEZ040-041.
         Small Craft Advisory until 1 AM EST Sunday for LOZ030.
         Small Craft Advisory until 1 PM EST Monday for LOZ043>045.
         Small Craft Advisory until 10 AM EST Monday for LOZ042.

&&

$$

SYNOPSIS...HITCHCOCK
NEAR TERM...APFFEL/HITCHCOCK

National Weather Service Glossary of Abbreviations