ITHACA, N.Y. – The National Weather Service’s Binghamton office has issued a High Wind Watch for Tompkins County from Sunday 1 PM through Monday 1 PM.

A powerful low pressure system will begin sweeping through the region tomorrow night, with a warm front pushing through Tompkins County during the evening hours Saturday. As the low moves northeast from Michigan into Canada, it is expected rapidly intensify in strength, with a rapid decrease of surface pressure. This rapid decrease in pressure, in combination with a low-level but powerful jet stream, will result in a significant increase in surface wind speed, and widespread and dangerously strong wind gusts are expected by Sunday night.

Rain will develop Saturday night, but no mixed precipitation or freezing rain is expected. Sunday will be in the 50s with rain, heavy at times during the early morning, followed by more moderate rainfall during the afternoon. During the day, winds will be breezy, southwest at 15-25 MPH with gusts up to 35 MPH. However, as the rain tapers off and the storm continues to strengthen, the winds will pick up speed. By Sunday evening, after the cold front passes, winds will shift to the northwest and at sustained speeds of 25-40 MPH, with gusts of 40-50 MPH early, and gusts of 60-65 MPH between 12 AM Sunday night and 6 AM Monday morning. The strongest winds will occur northwest of Ithaca and in elevated, exposed areas. Areas northwest of Ithaca can also expect an earlier onset of stronger winds Sunday night.

Winds are expected to stay strong during the day Monday, with sustained winds of 25-35 MPH and wind gusts of 40-50 MPH expected throughout Tompkins County. The wind will slowly weaken during the day as the low pressure system moves away from the Southern Tier, but the strong wind gusts will remain a risk until late afternoon Monday.

The strong winds are likely to create localized power outages and have the potential to create impassable roads due to falling trees and limbs. Shallow rooted trees will be particularly vulnerable due to the soggy soils. Property damage is also possible, especially to roofs and siding. Caution is strongly urged for those who will be traveling Sunday into Monday, and tall, high-profile vehicles such as box trucks are at risk of tipping in the wind. Empty tractor trailers will be banned from the Thruway and some state highways outside of Tompkins County starting Sunday morning.

Brian Crandall

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