Graphic courtesy of NWS Binghamton.

ITHACA, N.Y. — Hopefully you had a chance to enjoy the measurably drier air and relative sun of this past weekend, because another week of muggier and rainier conditions is in store for Tompkins County.

Weather Recap

We can plausibly say at this point that concerns about drought have been, well, washed away. Since Sunday the 22nd when the current “wet” regime began, Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport has picked up 3.09″ of liquid sunshine, and 4.93″ for the month. For the sake of comparison, the month of July typically picks up about 3.83″ of rain, according to the Northeast Regional Climate Center.

Given the convective and cellular nature of the rain, totals have varied widely locally. The NRCC’s local weather observers have noted 3.93″ at Cornell’s Game Farm Road weather station, 6.54″ near Groton village, 6.88″ near Freeville, and 7.38″ in the town of Newfield so far this July.

Meanwhile just a short drive down Route 13, Elmira has been absolutely slammed with bouts of heavy rain. The July 2018 total of 11.92″ is an all-time record for precipitation in a month, the most for any month in any time of the year since precipitation records began in 1893, surpassing even the 11.10″ of rain that fell during June 1972, when the remnants of Hurricane Agnes decimated the community. Record high rainfalls for the month of July were set in State College and Williamsport just over the state line in the Northern Tier, and Harrisburg, Washington D.C., Baltimore and Cape Hatteras also set July record high precipitation thanks to the intense plume of unstable air and deep moisture that remained entrenched over the mid-Atlantic during the past week.

Unfortunately, the pattern setting itself up for this week looks to be rather similar to the rainmaker that hosed the region last week, though not as intense. A high chance of rain, some high humidity, some breaks of sun and some potential for isolated cases of flash flooding.

Graphic courtesy of NWS Binghamton.

Your Weekly Weather

Things are starting off fairly quiet this morning, with partly and mostly cloudy skies and a seasonable mild start to the work week. Conditions will deteriorate as Monday progresses, as a frontal boundary pushes into the region from the southwest, associated with a low embedding itself in the Ohio River Valley. By mid-afternoon, the skies will cloud over completely, with scattered showers and a few thunderstorms spreading across the region from west to east. While the atmosphere does not have enough energy to make these severe, dewpoints will be rising, and there will be enough moisture in the atmosphere to allow for heavy rain at times.

Most places can expect a half inch or less, though locally higher amounts are possible where downpours occur. Temperatures will top out in the low 80s in Ithaca and places to the north and east where the clouds will take longer to build in, while those south and west of Ithaca can expect upper 70s with an earlier onset of grey skies. For tonight, the chances of showers will decrease but some will linger, and lows will be in the low 60s.

Tuesday will be unsettled as the weakening low pressure area channels moist, unstable air from the Gulf of Mexico, with enhancement to the flow from a high pressure area off the coast. Expect a humid day, with mostly cloudy skies and scattered showers and thunderstorms, with the chance of rain increasing in the afternoon. Flooding will be possible in the few cases where rain backbuilds or trains, and heavy downpours persist over an area. Highs will be in the upper 70s to low 80s. Tuesday night will be mostly cloudy but muggy, reinforced with showers and thunderstorms. Lows will only fall back to the upper 60s.

Wednesday will be much the same, if slightly warmer and more humid. Mostly cloudy skies with scattered showers and thunderstorms, and a high in the low to mid 80s. Wednesday night should be a bit drier, if still rather muggy with mostly cloudy skies, a few showers, and lows in the mid 60s.

By Thursday, the remnants of the low will attempt to push into the region, but likely slow down or halt thanks to the high pressure area to the east. This will keep the atmosphere fairly unstable, but with less moisture the rains become less numerous and intense. Look for partly cloudy skies, temperatures in the low to mid 80s, slightly less humid conditions and some isolated showers and thunderstorms. Thursday night will be mostly cloudy and rather muggy with lows in the mid 60s.

Friday will be yet another most cloudy, rather humid days, with rain showers and highs in the low to mid 80s. Friday night will be partly cloudy and in the mid 60s, and for the weekend, we might see sunnier (partly cloudy) skies thanks to the coastal high pushing in from the west, though conditions will still be humid as it taps moisture from the ocean. Highs Saturday and Sunday will be a little warmer, in the upper 80s to near 90 °F. Overall, it’s a humid week with higher than normal precipitation, and near to slightly above normal temperatures.

Graphic courtesy of the NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

Extended Outlook

For the first half of August, chances are pretty good that temperatures will be above normal, which is worth noting given that late July and early August tend to be our climatological peak for high temperatures. This is thanks to a ridge that will pump warm air into the region from the lower latitudes. An elevated chance for above-normal precipitation is also noted as the warm air drawn into the region also happens to be moist air from the ocean, allowing for heavier rains when showers and thunderstorms fire off. In short, you’ll want umbrellas – for the rain, and for some cool drinks.

Brian Crandall

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