ITHACA, N.Y. — If last week’s humidity made the outdoors a little too soupy for you, but you’re still a fan of drier heat, then you’ll appreciate the next few days, as high pressure keeps the humidity tamped down and temperatures rise to above normal readings in the mid and upper 80s.

Graphic courtesy of the Northeast Regional Climate Center.

Weather Recap

With June 2019 in the books, here’s a look at how the month stacked up in the historical climate record, courtesy of the Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC).

Temperature-wise, the month was on the cool side. With an average temperature of 63.2 °F, the average reading on the thermometer was 1.4 °F below normal. Summer months aren’t as variable as the other seasons, so while a small departure, it’s actually fairly chilly, tied for 29th coldest (with 1912 and last year, coincidentally) in the 127 years of recorded Junes in Ithaca. The story was similar throughout much of the interior Northeast, thanks to unseasonable cold centered over the upper Midwest. Meanwhile, the big coastal cities tended to be be near or a little warmer than normal.

Image courtesy of the Northeast Regional Climate Center.

On the precipitation side, 5.47″ of rain was received at the NRCC’s Game Farm Road weather station, well above the average of 3.99″. That’s good enough for 17th wettest in the climate record. With a few exceptions, mostly around Lake Champlain or Connecticut, the Northeast was wetter than normal during the month of June. The continental United States has been repeatedly setting the unenviable record this year of the wettest 12-month period on record.

Looking at the first half of the year, is has been substantially cooler and wetter than normal. The average temperature of 39.9 °F, 1.1 °F below normal, is 33rd coldest in 120 years of valid Jan 1st – Jun 30th records, and 20.01″ or rain or liquid-equivalent (snow, when melted) is in the books, making for the 19th wettest first half of the year. We would need a substantially warmer and drier six months ahead to come out around normal for 2019. Will it happen? Well, that’s hard to say, but the week ahead may help, with above normal temperatures, though rain seems likely Thursday and Friday.

Graphic courtesy of NWS Binghamton.

Your Weekly Weather

At present, our weather is being controlled by an area of high pressure centered over the upper Great Lakes. After yesterday’s cold front rolled through, cooler, less humid air has been flowing into the region from our northwest thanks to the clockwise flow of that high. The weather pattern will be fairly active to our south with that front slowing sagging through the Mid-Atlantic states, but for the Southern Tier, the weather will remain fairly quiet for the next few days.

Sunday night will be a pleasant one for those who like to sleep with the windows open, as temperatures will retreat back into the upper 50s under partly cloudy skies. Monday will start off partly cloudy, with the clouds decreasing as the high pressure moves closer to Tompkins County and squelches cloud development by making the atmosphere more stable (and thus preventing the warm surface air from rising; without rising air, the water vapor can’t condense out of the cooling, expanding updraft to form clouds). Temperatures Monday will top out around 80 °F, with dewpoints comfortably remaining in the 50s. Monday night will be a great night for the stargazers, as skies will be nearly if not totally clear, with temperatures settling in the mid 50s.

Tuesday will be a bit on the warmer side as the high moves directly overhead and any gentle northwest breezes from Monday are replaced with calm air. Temperatures will climb into the mid 80s with mostly clear skies and comfortable humidity. Tuesday night will be mostly clear and a bit warmer than the previous nights, with lows around 60 °F. If you’ll be out between 4 and 7 AM Wednesday morning, be mindful that some valley fog is likely to develop and slow down commutes.

Wednesday is looking to be hotter still as the high continues to move eastward, putting Tompkins County on its backside and in the southerly side of its clockwise flow. Helping that along will be southerly flow ahead of the next frontal boundary coming in from the west. Temperatures will be quite warm even by summer standards, upper 80s with maybe some low 90s possible in and near the urban core of Ithaca away from Cayuga Lake, and mostly clear skies should be partly cloudy by evening. The southerly flow will also make it feel a bit muggier, though nothing compared to the juicy air mass from last week.

Wednesday night into Thursday is when the first significant batches of rain will move into the region ahead of the cold front. It looks like it will be scattered showers and thunderstorms rather than a stratiform (uniform) mass of rain. A few scattered showers will show up west of Ithaca before sunrise Thursday, and then scattered showers Ithaca and points west for the morning hours, and most everyone will be seeing on-and-off cells of rain and some thunderstorms by Thursday afternoon, with skies turning overcast. Highs will be in the mid 80s, and it will feel very humid, so not a great day to be outdoors. Periods of rain and some thunderstorms will continue to push through during the evening and overnight hours Thursday, with overcast skies otherwise and lows in the mid to upper 60s.

The front should finally push far enough eastward by Friday morning to shunt the bulk of the rain out of the area, and skies will begin to clear up Friday mid-morning, mostly cloudy by afternoon and partly cloudy by sunset. Some showers are likely to linger, so carry an umbrella just in case. Highs will be in the low 80s, and it’ll be on the humid side thanks in part to all that rainwater evaporating off. Friday night will be partly cloudy with lows around 60 °F.

The weekend is looking warm and fairly pleasant, with mostly sunny skies and highs in the mid 80s for both Saturday and Sunday. Lows will be in the low 60s under mostly clear skies.

Graphic courtesy of the NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

Extended Outlook

Well, this is rather unusual. It’s not often a large-amplitude ridge in the jet stream results in nearly continent-wide above normal temperatures as a dome of hot air centers itself over the Midwest. But here we are, and that’s what the middle of July is looking like. The air is looking fairly stable as well, with drier than normal conditions expected for the middle third of the month. A return to more seasonable heat is espected by late July, though drier conditions are expected to persist.

Brian Crandall

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