Low pressure will pass by to the north of the area today, while high pressure builds northeastward from the Mississippi Valley. The pressure gradient between these two features will be sufficiently tight to produce a strong wind flow across the area this afternoon. The strongest winds will likely be downwind of Lake Erie across western NY where gusts in excess of 50 mph are likely this afternoon. These winds will cause some blowing and drifting of the snow that is on the ground. Winds will gradually diminish tonight as the pressure gradient relaxes.
Then our attention will turn to the northwest. A fast moving clipper-type storm system is forecast to dive southeastward through the Great Lakes late Saturday and through the eastern lakes on Sunday. Occasional snow showers will accompany this system late Saturday night through Sunday night across the region. Some minor accumulations are possible, especially downwind of the lakes where some lake enhancement could produce a little additional snowfall.
The system will quickly move east of the region by Monday with the trough across the region lifting out to the northeast. This will allow a more zonal flow pattern to become established across the eastern United States. The result will be moderating temperatures with many areas climbing to above freezing on Monday and Tuesday of next week.
In addition to the milder temperatures, the storm track will also lift northward so quiet weather should prevail through mid week.
Looking at the long range pattern for the next week and beyond, we see some signs that the shift back to milder temperatures and quiet weather may be short-lived. A process known as sudden stratospheric warming has begun across the arctic, and this will result in a collapse of the semi-permanent polar vortex near the north pole. While this has many implications, the biggest impact is usually a strong surge of polar air moving southward through Canada and into the United States, typically within 10 to 14 days of the onset of the event. Some of the long range models have already picked up on this and are predicting a return to much colder weather for the second half of January.