ITHACA, N.Y. — After the sweltering heat of the past couple of days, things should feel much cooler and more comfortable for the next several days.
Was yesterday uncomfortable? Well, put this into consideration: the maximum temperature at the airport was 93 °F at about 2 PM. With the dewpoint at about 70 °F at that time, the heat index, what it actually felt like to be outdoors, was 99 °F. While temperatures started to cool off fairly rapidly after about 5 PM with the onset of thick clouds and an incoming cold front, the dewpoint remained quite muggy, mid to upper 60s or more (the maximum was a downright tropical 73 °F at around 6 PM) well into the overnight hours.
On average, there are 1 or 2 (1.4, to be precise) days above 90 °F in a given Ithaca June, according to the Northeast Regional Climate Center. However, in the 124 years of records, almost half (56) had no days above 90 °F, including 2014, 2015 and 2016. Given the way air masses can influence a weather pattern for days, a day with a high temperature in the 90s is likely to be clustered with other days with high temperatures in the 90s. The most 90 °F days in June was in 1933, with 11.
It’s not looking like we’ll be adding more 90 °F days to our monthly total over the next few days, but it is looking pretty darn pleasant.
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With the cold front through and dewpoints falling back to comfortable 50s, high pressure is building into the Southern Tier from the northwest, and should remain firmly in place for the next few days.
Most areas are starting off this morning with partly to mostly cloudy skies, and the cloud cover should decrease as the day goes on. Expect a picture perfect day, with temperatures in the low 70s and a light northwest breeze. For Tuesday night, expect partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the low to mid 50s.
Clouds should grow and thicken early Wednesday morning as a weak area of low pressure passes through the Ohio River Valley and passes to our south. With a generally stable atmosphere and high pressure to the north, little in the way of rain showers is expected, though there’s still a small chance, increasing as one heads south of Ithaca. It will be mostly cloudy with highs in the low to mid 70s. As the system moves away Wednesday night, high pressure will once again assert control, leading to clearing skies and lows in the mid 50s in the urban core, and low 50s in the outlying towns.
Thursday, our first day of astronomical summer, should be a gentle start to the traditional hallmark of the non-college tourist season. Look for a few passing clouds but otherwise sunny skies with a seasonable high in the mid 70s. Thursday night will be mostly clear skies with lows around 50 °F.
Friday will bear a change in wind direction as a new, stronger area of low pressure begins to track from the central part of the country, moving over the Ohio River and Great Lakes before heading northeast into Canada. Its counterclockwise flow will draw in warmer air, bringing temperatures into the low 80s for Friday. It will go from mostly clear to partly cloudy by sunset (8:47 PM, it is summer after all), and overnight Friday, temperatures will remain mild at around 60 °F, but it will be mostly cloudy by Saturday morning, with showers and thunderstorms in the area by daybreak.
The weekend will be warm, as we stay in the warm sector of the storm system, but it will be unsettled. Both Saturday and Sunday will be mostly cloudy with scattered showers and thunderstorms, and highs around 80 °F. Not a total washout, but keep an eye on the NWS Binghamton radar if you have outdoor plans.
For the remainder of the month, the NOAA Climate Prediction Center is suggesting that the heat will be coming back in force – in fact, some of the models are hinting at a strong and potentially hazardous multi-day heat wave in the Northeast around the end of the month, which the CPC has included in its medium-range guidance. In other words, if you’re thinking of buying an air conditioning unit or restocking on cool beverages, it might be a good idea to d othat this week, rather than wait until the next heat wave is bearing down on the area. Precipitation amounts are expected to be around normal for the next week and dry for the start of July, but it’s going to depend on how much rain we get from the weekend system – as noted previously, we’re running a bit of a deficit, so some additional liquid sunshine is welcome.