ITHACA, N.Y. — We’re running about 4°F below normal for the month to date, but it looks like some reprieve will be arriving in the coming days as more seasonable temperatures prevail for much of the week ahead. The trade-off is that it will rain at some point almost every day of the week. Given how miserable April’s been so far, at this point that practically sounds like a bargain.

Graphic courtesy of NWS Binghamton.

Your Weekly Weather

It’s been a raw and unpleasant Sunday as a storm system continues to move from the Mid-Atlantic northeastward past Cape Cod and towards Canada. Being on the rear flank of its counterclockwise circulation means that colder air is being brought down from our north, resulting in an unpleasant chill for April, with many parts of Tompkins County in the mid 30s to around 40°F in Ithaca.

A coating of snow on the hilltops is possible tonight, but generally speaking, accumulating snows are only expected east of Tompkins County in the Catskills and Adirondacks, where the strengthening storm has a chance to draw in a larger amount of colder, drier air to chill the atmosphere enough for substantial snow. At this time the dewpoint is a few degrees above freezing, which slows and prevents temperature drops, while to our east that drier air dragged in from the north means a lower dewpoint and a chance for that rain-snow transition. The current temperatures are about as cold as it will get tonight, holding steady in the upper 30s Sunday night into Monday morning. It will be cloudy with long periods of light rain, with another one-tenth to one-quarter of an inch by Monday morning.

Rain will persist into the morning and afternoon Monday, as the low taps into moist oceanic air to its east, and flings that counterclockwise into upstate New York, where the unstable atmosphere will allow for more rain. Daytime heating should keep this an all-rain event for all but the highest elevations, with about another one-tenth of an inch of rain before the storm pulls away and the rain tapers off in the late afternoon and early evening. It will be a grey, cloudy day, with highs in the mid 40s. Monday night will see drier conditions and clearing skies overnight, with partly to mostly cloudy skies by Tuesday morning. Lows Monday night will be in the mid 30s.

Tuesday is shaping up to be the nicest day of the week as high pressure over eastern Quebec briefly builds in between storms. Its clockwise flow will allow for milder air to enter the Southern Tier, as well as a more stable atmosphere. Expect partly cloudy skies and a high around 60°F. Tuesday night will start off partly cloudy, but skies will become greyer as clouds build in ahead of the next system. Lows Tuesday night will be in the low 40s.

The next system to come in Wednesday will be a very large and strong storm system with a frontal trough that will extend from Canada down to the Gulf Coast. It will not move fast and unfortunately it will make for another few rainy if mild days, as we remain in southerly flow ahead of its core as it crawls across the Ohio River Valley. In fact, multiple model runs show the system actually begins to fall apart as it moves east of our region, which will limit any cold air intrusions.

For your Wednesday, expect cloudy skies in the morning, with rain starting in the early afternoon, continuing through the evening and overnight hours. This is one of those meditative rains – not too strong but persistent, the kind you listen to on the porch with a cup of tea, or that lulls you to sleep with its constant pitter-patter, especially for those with southerly windows, where a steady, strong breeze will blow the rain against the panes. This is likely to be too drawn out to pose any major flooding risks. Highs Wednesday will be in the upper 50s to around 60°F, and lows Wednesday night will be in the upper 40s. New rainfall amounts through daybreak Thursday between one-quarter of an inch and one-half of an inch.

Thursday will be a rainy day from start to finish, but a bit milder as the core of the storm draws a little closer. Expect periods of rain and cloudy skies with highs in the low 60s. Thursday night will see yet more rain, with cloudy skies and a low in the upper 40s.

Friday is when we begin to see a noticeable break in the rain, as the system begins to move overhead and decay. There will will be scattered rain showers, but they’ll be light and not as persistent as the previous two days. It will be cloudy with highs in the upper 50s. Friday night will see the rain showers taper off after sunset, with a few lingering cells and lows in the mid 40s.

The weekend is looking a bit unsettled with the large decaying low to the northeast, so a few isolated showers will be possible, but otherwise it’s looking like we’ll have a chance to dry out. Expect partly sunny skies and highs in the mid 60s for both Saturday and Sunday, with lows Saturday night and Sunday night in the mid to upper 40s.

Graphic courtesy of the NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

Extended Outlook

There is nothing that would please me more than to say a warm, dry spell is in store. Apart from climatology, I can’t. As long as the “western ridge, eastern trough” in the jet stream persists, colder-than-normal and wetter-than-normal conditions are expected to continue through the first half of May. Once the jet stream locks into a pattern, it becomes difficult to dislodge without a truly large energy injection, such as a recurving hurricane or other potent external impact that injects an unexpected, large amount of energy and causes it to reconfigure in potentially different setup. This coften takes weeks to occur. Unfortunately, we have no choice but to wait it out, and by the time it readjusts, a warm spell may mean summer-like conditions; in short, your spring will feel like a switch being flipped from winter to summer with little in-between.

Brian Crandall

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