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Snow Day in the Finger Lakes

Several inches of snow hit the entire Finger Lakes region overnight resulting in widespread school closings. While it may look like the snow is winding down, it is not. More snow from the west is set to arrive early afternoon today and into tonight bringing as much as a foot of additional accumulation. FL1 Staff Meteorologist Drew Montrueil has more.This is turning out to be one extremely complex, crazy, interesting storm. I do not know whether to be frustrated as a forecaster or totally excited as a scientist.As far as I can tell, there is just one simple thing that has totally changed the evolution of this storm: the western part of the storm is lagging behind.How can such a simple act of being a couple hours slow change the storm? There are so many things in the atmosphere that have to come together to make a big storm. If one little piece is not quite right, the storm can get disrupted. I believe that is what is happening here. Since the western part of the storm is slow, it is missing out on interacting with the coastal development in a way that would have maximized snow over a large part of our area. Instead, we have mostly been left with lighter snow.That being said, the potential power of this storm was realized between about 2-5am across parts of the Southern Tier, when an extremely heavy snow band developed. The Binghamton National Weather Service (NWS) Office recorded an amazing 7.6″ of snow in just 2.5 hours: a snowfall rate of 3.04″/hr for 150 minutes! It may have come down even hard elsewhere, with snow reports across that small area as high as 12 or 16″ already.We can only wonder how much more widespread that may have been had the western half not lagged.Let’s not get careless though- this storm is still far from over. The Buffalo NWS radar has malfunctioned and is inoperable until new parts are ordered and repairs are made. The loss of the Buffalo radar, I feel based on comments I’m seeing on Facebook, is giving people a false sense of the storm being over. In reality, it is still snowing all across western New York. There is a lull in the intensity, but when people look and see nothing, they don’t look further west…….and further west is where the second part of the storm, the part that is lagging behind. This part will still come through during the late morning/early afternoon hours. Snowfall rates could approach 1″/hr in some locations. The dry slot will need to be watched for the Southern Tier and possibly far eastern Finger Lakes, but at least a few more inches are on the way.

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