ITHACA, N.Y. — It’s been rather warm lately, but we’ll be getting a break from that this week as cool, cloudy, showery weather pervades the region for a large portion of the week ahead.

A line plot of monthly average temperatures at the Cornell Game Farm Road weather station. Plot courtesy of the Northeast Regional Climate Center.

Weather Recap

For some, that break comes as a meteorological disappointment, and for others it’s a welcome reprieve. It’s not like there was much of a spring here. According to the Northeast Regional Climate Center, the weather station at Cornell recorded April 2018 as the second coldest on record at 38.3 °F, 6.4 °F below April’s normal average temperature. On the other hand, at an average daily temperature of 60.3 °F (4.9 °F above normal), May was the 12th warmest month in 126 years of recording. In other words, we went straight from winter to summer.

Precipitation-wise, May was above normal, though nothing extreme – the month finished up with 3.85″ of rain, modestly above the long-term average of 3.19″. Thankfully for your plants and psyches, there was no snowfall observed.

While May may have been more summer-like, June looks to be putting a modest pause on that for at least the next few days, but the end of the week will be return to blue skies and pleasantly warm temperatures.

Your Weekly Weather

Most folks waking up this morning are seeing mostly cloudy skies and a cool start to the day, with 50s in the cloudier areas and some low 60s popping out where the clouds are patchier and the sun has had a chance to break through.Note that average highs this time of the year are generally low 70s with lows around 50 °F.

A large low pressure area currently aloft over Ontario is pushing south and east over the Adirondacks and New England over the next couple of days, and with that comes cool air and generally unsettled conditions. The low creates a cool pool of air high up, and as the surface heats up, the large temperature difference allows greater atmospheric instability and the formation of rain showers and perhaps a few heavier downpours. There isn’t an excessive amount of energy in the atmosphere, so no severe weather is expected.

For today, expect mostly cloudy skies with a southwest to west breeze, scattered rain showers and highs leveling off and holding in the mid 60s for most of the day. With the loss of daytime heating and some drier air filtering into the Southern Tier, the risk of showers and cloud cover should recede somewhat, leaving partly to mostly cloudy skies, generally dry conditions, and lows around 50 °F.

However, by Tuesday, a frontal boundary associated with the nearby low pressure area will drop southeastward through the region. This should move quickly through the area, but the added instability will create more rain showers and some isolated thunderstorms, especially south of Ithaca where there will be more heat energy available. The best chance for rain will be from mid to late afternoon, and winds will at times be blustery (20-30 MPH) out of the northwest. Otherwise, expect cloudy skies and highs Tuesday in the mid 60s. Tuesday night, things will dry out and winds will calm behind the frontal trough, with mostly cloudy skies and lows around 50 °F.

Wednesday is the last of the cool unsettled days as the upper-level low moves away and its influence wanes. Expect mostly cloudy skies decreasing through the day and a high in the mid 60s. Wednesday night will be partly cloudy and cool, and lows in the mid to upper 40s.

Thursday onward sees a pattern change, though the models are still uncertain on the details. What is expected is a warm-up, to highs in the mid and upper 70s. What’s uncertain is the strength of a couple of shortwaves of instability (a little kink in the ridge of the jet stream), one Thursday night into Friday, the other Saturday. It’s looking less like the first one generate showers, but Saturday’s might, the European forecast model (ECMWF) has it much stronger than the American GFS model. Keep an eye on it if you have plans.

For now, expect partly cloudy skies Thursday and highs in the mid 70s. Thursday night will be warm and partly cloudy with lows in the upper 50s. Friday will be partly sunny with highs in the upper 70s, and Friday night will be partly cloudy with lows in the mid 50s. Saturday and Sunday are looking to be in the mid to upper 70s, with mostly cloudy skies and rain showers or thunderstorms a possibility later Saturday and early Sunday.

Graphic courtesy of the NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

Extended Outlook

According the NOAA Climate Predeiction Center, a large ridge will park itself over the Great Plains and bring unseasonable hot air to the Dakotas and Minnesota, but for the Northeast, temperatures are expected to be pretty much around normal for mid-June. The big central U.S. ridge pattern also portends more moisture in the southeast and somewhat drier than normal conditions for the middle of the month. 70s and sunny sounds like a great way for the grade school kids to wrap up their years to, but good luck to the parents with keeping them focused on finals.

Brian Crandall

Brian Crandall reports on housing and development for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached at bcrandall@ithacavoice.com.