ITHACA, N.Y. — If you have any dead tree branches or loose objects on your lawn or patio, you’ll want to take care of them now. A powerful storm system will sweep across the region tonight and tomorrow, producing strong thunderstorms, hail stones, isolated tornadoes and a wide arc of damaging wind gusts across upstate New York. A wind advisory has been issued for Tompkins County.
A rapidly-strengthening storm system will track northeastward from the lower Mississippi River Valley into the Great Lakes region and Canada. As it does, it will usher in a very unstable environment ripe for the development of severe weather. As the storm rapidly strengthens, its low pressure center will deepen, and as the core pressure drops, the overall pressure gradient will steepen and drive up strong winds at ground level.
Winds will begin to pick up after midnight with the arrival of a strong warm front and an initial batch of widespread light to moderate rain. It will continue to rain through the remainder of the night and into the day Monday, with about half an inch of rain expected. Behind the warm front’s passage in the early AM hours, temperatures will warm rapidly into the upper 60s to around 70°F. Wind speeds will increase further as the cold front associated with the storm system approaches and passes through the Southern Tier Monday afternoon and evening.
Wind gusts in excess of 40 MPH will be present from 5 AM through 9 PM Monday. They will be out of the SSE in the morning, and SW in the early afternoon. Later in the day, wind gusts may approach 60 MPH, especially between the hours of 1 PM and 7 PM Monday. Steady westerly winds of about 30-35 MPH are likely during this time, with moderate to heavy rain and embedded strong to severe thunderstorms, some of which may create small hail or isolated tornadoes. Winds will remain strong into the late evening, but steadily taper off overnight into Tuesday morning.
Winds will be stronger on the hills surrounding Ithaca, especially to the north and west of the city. Steady winds of 40 MPH, with gusts to 60-65 MPH are expected Monday later afternoon into evening in the hillier parts of Enfield and Newfield, and more briefly in Groton, Dryden and Caroline.
As always with a potential damaging wind event, secure any loose outdoor objects such as trash cans or lawn equipment, or move them into an indoor space. Tree limbs may snap, and some weak trees may topple over, potentially blocking roads. Power lines may come down and isolated power outages are likely. Driving a high-profile vehicle, like a box truck or tall van, may be difficult in areas exposed to high winds, and the vehicles will be prone to tipping over in severe wind gusts. Use caution and give extra time to travel if out on the roads.
The regular weekly weather report will be posted tomorrow. Further updates, if needed, will be posted to this article and updated with the Voice’s social media.