ITHACA, N.Y. — My joke this past week is that the nice weather we’ve been experiencing since Tuesday is nature’s way of rewarding us for surviving Election Day-turned-Election Week. It certainly made for a pleasantly warm fall weekend, and we can expect a little more heat over the next few days before some mid-week rain and seasonably cooler if sunny conditions return in time for next weekend.

Weather Recap

With October 2020’s data finalized, it looks like the month was fairly uneventful from a climatological perspective. Temperature-wise, at 49.7°F, October was just 1.0°F above normal according to the Northeast Regional Climate Center. All of the 30 primary stations in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic recorded temperatures above normal, with somewhat higher warm anomalies closer to the Atlantic coast and towards the Mid-Atlantic, areas that enjoyed a greater influence from the ridge of high pressure that was in place over the Western Atlantic during the month.

On the precipitation side, that too was nothing to write home about, with 3.70″ of rain (and no snow), just a hair above the 3.42″ of precipitation normally seen during the month. Across the region, it was a mixed bag, with eight stations below normal and 22 above normal, with Caribou, Maine, Atlantic City, and Erie, Pennsylvania all recorded top 10 rainiest Octobers.

After a chilly start to November, since Wednesday the weather has been anomalously warm as well as dry, quite the change of pace from our usual cool and cloudy November weather. For this, we can thank another sustained ridge of high pressure centered just off Long Island, which continues to pump in warmer air from the south in its clockwise flow. This is a fairly strong ridge, and storm systems are riding over its top well to our north, and the high pressure is keeping air stable and skies sunny, making for a pleasant weekend. This ridge will hang around for a couple more days, bringing potentially record-breaking heat before cooling off to more seasonable values as the ridge shifts eastward and cooler Canadian air filters in later in the week.

Your Weekly Weather

It’s shaping up to a quiet and unseasonable warm for the Southern Tier, and for those who might be feeling up for a late night stroll. Perhaps the only drawback to our current conditions is that the dry air and cloud-free skies allow for efficient radiational cooling, and these shorter days give plenty of time for the daytime heating to radiate away during the overnight hours. Although a high of 74°F was recorded at the airport this afternoon, by morning we can expect temperatures to have bottomed out in the low 40s, maybe a few upper 30s in the higher elevations, and a few passing clouds on this quiet Sunday night.

Monday will be a wonderful day to be outdoors, and if you’ll be raking leaves, you’ll be doing it in short sleeves. Skies will be mostly clear thanks to that high pressure just offshore, and with that deep southerly flow, highs will be in the mid 70s. Monday night will host mostly clear skies, and with some moister air being advected in the high by this point, lows will be a little warmer (more moisture limits the air’s ability to cool off), with minimum temperatures around 50°F.

The high pressure shifts a little further southeastward for Tuesday, which places Ithaca and Tompkins County a little closer to its edge, but otherwise it remains in firm control for another day, with mostly sunny skies and highs in the mid 70s. However, by Tuesday night, the high shifts far enough award, and its control becomes weak enough that storm systems can begin to work their way along the jet stream defining the edge of its ridge. The night will start off quiet, but skies will cloud up and a few showers will show up by Wednesday morning. With that increased moisture and cloud cover building in, temperatures will remain fairly mild, with lows Tuesday night in the upper 50s.

Wednesday will be mild but it’s the last gasp of that unseasonable heat, as rain moves in ahead of the cold front during the morning and afternoon hours, with the front itself coming through right around sunset Wednesday. Expect cloudy skies and moderate, steady rain with highs around 70°F. New rainfall amounts will be between one-quarter and one-half of an inch. After the front’s passage early Wednesday evening, steady rains will give way to light scattered showers and mostly cloudy skies, and temperatures will begin to slide back as that cooler northwest wind blows in. Lows will reach the mid 40s by daybreak Thursday.

Thursday will be much cooler though not terrible for mid-November, as high pressure from the west builds into the region. The few remaining showers will give way to partly cloudy skies and highs in the mid 50s. Thursday night will be cool and dry, with mostly clear skies and lows in the upper 30s.

Friday is rather interesting in that the high splits into two lobes, one over the upper Midwest, and the other rapidly skirting eastward over the Southern Tier during the day. Skies will be mostly clear with highs in the mid 50s. Friday night will see partly cloudy skies, and as that Midwest high’s clockwise flow turns up the northwest winds, lows will drop a little cooler than what we’ve seen in the mid 30s.

That high will also shift eastward during the weekend. Saturday will see partly cloudy skies and highs in the low to mid 50s, and Sunday will be a little warmer as the highs shifts eastward and provides some modest southerly flow, with partly cloudy skies and highs in the upper 50s.

Graphic courtesy of the NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

Extended Outlook

Looking ahead towards the second half of November, it’s looking like we can expect a continuation of that abnormal November warmth, if not quite so extensive or impressive. The next sustained ridge of high pressure looks to be over the Great Plains, allowing for systems to skirt along the jet stream at its edges and potentially inject the occasional cooler shot of air. That noted, outside of the West Coast, it looks like on the precipitation side that near normal to somewhat drier than normal conditions can be expected as we head towards the Thanksgiving holiday.

Brian Crandall

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