It’s quite the difference from the bone-chilling subzero temperatures with which we rang in 2018. For tonight’s festivities, leave the parka at home, but make sure to pack an umbrella.
Your Weekly Weather
Today has started off dry, with a layer of upper-level clouds keeping the skies overcast as we head through the last day of 2018. These clouds precede an area of low pressure lifting through the Ohio River Valley and into the Great Lakes, and with the storm passing to our northwest, its counterclockwise circulation will send a surge of moisture and milder air into the Southern Tier.
The clouds will thicken as the large are of rain advances into the region during the day Monday. Places south and west of Ithaca can expect a slightly earlier onset of rain (say, 2-3 PM in Newfield) than places to the north and east (Lansing and Dryden will see an onset of rain a bit later, 3-4 PM). Temperatures should make it into the low 40s before the rain starts, so the risk of a wintry mix is limited. Monday evening will be unusual in that temperatures will continue to rise after sunset, thanks to a gusty south wind. For Monday night, temperatures will warm into the mid and upper 40s with steady rains tapering off during the late evening, and only scattered showers by midnight, when the Ithaca College towers light up in honor of the New Year. Total rainfall totals will be between half an inch and one inch.
Tuesday’s high temperature will likely be between 2 and 5 AM, as a cold front sweeps in quickly behind the low as it passes to the north. Winds will shift to the northwest by daybreak, and Tuesday will be blustery, with wind gusts of up to 40 MPH possible on some of the hills in Tompkins County. Temperatures will slowly but steadily fall throughout the day, from low 40s at morning to mid 30s by evening, with mostly cloudy skies, a few lingering snow showers (a dusting at most), and the winds calming down during the afternoon and evening. Tuesday night will be dry and quiet, with mostly cloudy skies and a low around 20 °F, upper teens in the more rural areas.
Wednesday should be a fairly uneventful winter day as high pressure builds in from Canada, with partly cloudy skies and a high around 30 °F. As the high moves eastward, winds will shift to light out of the south, so lows Wednesday night will be a bit warmer, in the mid 20s.
High pressure should remain in control for Thursday before the next low pressure storm system moves in. This low is looking like it will move along the Mississippi and Ohio River Valleys as well, but will pass south of the region. But for Thursday itself, it will be quiet, with mostly cloudy skies and a high in the upper 30s, and mostly cloudy skies Thursday night with a low around 30 °F.
For the storm expected to move in early Friday morning, there is considerable uncertainty in timing and precipitation amount, though it looks like the majority of the precipitation should stay to the south. Most areas should expect rain where precipitation does occur, as temperatures will climb into the low 40s during the day Friday. For Friday night, as the low passes and cold air filters in behind it, a few light snow showers will mix in under mostly cloudy skies, with a low around 30 °F.
The weekend is looking okay, with a few weak mid-level pulses of atmospheric energy firing off some isolated rain or snow showers, but otherwise partly sunny with highs around 40 °F and in the low 40s Sunday, with lows in the upper 20s to around 30 °F. All in all, this week will be rainy but modestly warmer than normal.
The first half of the month is looking quiet. A modest ridge in the jet stream will prevail over the Midwest, and milder than normal conditions are expected for the first third of the month, with near normal conditions in the second third. After that, however, things get a bit colder – the large-scale atmopsheric setup is turning to conditions favorable for cold air outbreaks over the eastern half of the United States, so that’s something folks will want to keep an eye in heading into the second half of January.