Weather: Good rain to start the week, sunnier for the second half

ITHACA, NY – A welcome rain will kick off this week’s weather, part of a cold front sweeping across upstate New York, and likely to stall just far enough to keep cloudy skies brief. Warm and calm conditions are expected for the second half of the week as we begin our journey through the weather drop.

Your weekly weather forecast

A cold front associated with a low pressure system over Atlantic Canada is slowly approaching New York State in a SW-NE orientation (technically called “positively inclined”, for you weather geeks out there) . The cooler air mass is just beginning to enter northern New York and the northwest corner of western New York, and together with the cloud cover, it creates large temperature gradients. For example, as I write this, Plattsburgh on Lake Champlain is currently in the mid-50s, while Saratoga Springs, only about a 2 hour drive south, is about 80.

This frontal boundary moves very slowly. Although near Buffalo right now, today will remain warm during daylight hours, humid with highs in the 80s. However, rain ahead of the front will begin to settle in the late afternoon- midday. From now until about 2 p.m. expect mostly cloudy skies with a few scattered showers, especially west and south of Ithaca where a prefrontal batch of showers and thunderstorms are building up. is developed on the northern level. The afternoon and evening will welcome showers and scattered thunderstorms with mostly overcast skies, although rain amounts appear to remain below 0.1″ before sunset.

Heading into Sunday evening, it will be stormy as the front closes in from south and east of Ithaca. Expect periods of showers and thunderstorms, with cloudy skies. Lows will be in the mid-60s. New precipitation amounts will be between 0.1″ and 0.25″.

As the front stalls just south of Ithaca on Monday, it will be a cooler, gray and rainy day. Highs will be in the lower 70s with periods of light to moderate rain and a few thunderstorms. The heaviest periods of rain are in the middle and late morning. Precipitation amounts will be between 0.25″ and 0.50″, although locally higher amounts are possible. If you’re going to the Catskills or on your way to New York, be aware that rainfall amounts will likely be 2-3 inches in this part of the state, and trees weakened by recent wildfires have increased the risk of rockfalls and landslides, so exercise caution on hillsides and highways. Monday evening the scattered showers will diminish with cloudy skies and lows around 60.

The front will have deflected just far enough south on Tuesday that Tompkins County will be mostly dry, although a few scattered showers on the northern fringe of the rain mass may skirt the area throughout the day. Skies will be mostly cloudy with highs in the mid 70s. On Tuesday evening dry conditions will set in as the high pressure eases out from Canada. Partly cloudy conditions are forecast with lows in the upper 50s.

As this high pressure sets in, the rest of the week will be dry and comfortable; the general trend is for warmer temperatures around the weekend as strong southeast and southerly winds enter Tompkins County. Wednesday will welcome partly cloudy skies with highs in the upper 70s. Wednesday night will be partly cloudy with lows in the upper 50s, mid 50s for hill tops.

Thursday will be very similar weather-wise, slightly warmer with the southward movement of this high. Winds will shift from the southeast to more of the southwest allowing for slightly warmer and drier air. Mostly sunny with highs in the 80s. Skies Thursday evening will be mostly clear with highs in the upper 50s for Ithaca and the lakeside, mid 50s elsewhere.

Friday will be a bit warmer again, but otherwise another dry and quiet day. It will be mostly sunny with highs in the mid 80s. Friday night will be mostly clear with lows around 60.

As for next weekend, Saturday will be dry with partly cloudy skies and highs in the 80s, and Saturday evening will be partly cloudy with lows in the upper 50s. There are indications that a storm system will approach on Sunday, with late morning rain, but it’s a little early to give details. Expect a choppy day with periods of rain, cloudy skies and highs in the mid 70s.

Graphics courtesy of NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

Extended Outlook

As for the mid-month, the large-scale pattern favors a pronounced ridge in the jet stream over the eastern two-thirds of the country, with a trough upstream toward the west coast. Some increased flow from the Gulf of Mexico will cause cloudier and cooler conditions in the Deep South, but here in the northeast, slightly drier than normal conditions are expected in tandem with above normal temperatures.

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