White Christmas on the way, travel could be tough

White Christmas on the way, travel could be tough
The early outlook for snowfall Christmas day, 2020, in northern New York. (Source: WWNY)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The first major storm of winter 2020-21 is on its way to northern New York.

There is still some uncertainty about the timing of the storm, and uncertainty about how much we’ll get, according to 7 News chief weathercaster John Kubis.

That said, it’s a safe assumption we will see significant snow Friday, Christmas day.

The National Weather Service has a winter storm watch called for early Friday morning through early Saturday afternoon. The Weather Service cautions travel could be difficult at times.

Here is our best information as of Wednesday evening, and with the important caveat that it’s still too early to be certain:

- A cold front moves in after 5 AM Friday morning, dropping temperatures and turning any rain into snow.

- The heaviest lake effect snow kicks in Friday afternoon. From Fort Drum south, including Watertown, we could see 8 inches to two feet of snow - though again, there is disagreement among the models about how much snow. North of Fort Drum into southern St. Lawrence County, 2 to 8 inches; southern St. Lawrence County, 5 to 12 inches; northern St. Lawrence County, 1 to 4 inches. (Depending on where you are, St. Lawrence County gets a mix of lake effect and regular snow.)

- The snow lasts into Saturday night, weakens and is basically over by Sunday morning.

One other note: ahead of the snow storm, we’ll see high winds in much of the north country from Wednesday night through Friday morning. Kubis says gusts of 40 - 50 miles per hour are possible, and power outages are a concern.

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