ITHACA, N.Y. — After the latest heat wave, this weekend has been an opportunity to throw open the windows and do some outdoor activities without marinating in your own juices. Unfortunately, it will be short-lived, as a renewed flow of hot, moist air enters the Northeast mid-week and continues through next weekend.
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It is by most accounts an enjoyable summer afternoon across Upstate New York this Sunday, as a clockwise-circulating high pressure system to the west brings in dry, seasonally cool air from the northwest. This has resulted in temperatures in the low to mid 70s across Tompkins County this afternoon, with comfortable humidity as dewpoints across the region remain in the upper 40s to mid 50s. (Recall that it starts to feel “sticky” and humid above a dewpoint of 60°F, with really muggy conditions arising when the dewpoint is in the upper 60s and 70s).
The remainder of the weekend will be quiet. Partly cloudy skies and highs in the mid to upper 70s will recede into the upper 50s overnight (mid 50s in the outlying towns) as northwest winds calm and dry, partly cloudy conditions continue.
Looking into Monday, as the high moves east of Tompkins County, resulting in winds out of the south, which will advect warmer and more moist air into the Southern Tier. Precipitation is unlikely during the day, but that additional moisture and somewhat more unstable atmosphere will allow for mostly cloudy to near-overcast skies by evening, especially as a warm front approaches from the southwest. Highs will be in the upper 70s, and the humidity will be noticeable by late afternoon as dewpoints climb into the mid 60s. As that warm front approaches from the Ohio River Valley Monday night, scattered showers will develop across the region, maybe even a few rumbles of thunder, with one-tenth to one-quarter of an inch of rain by Tuesday morning. Between those showers and storms it will be mostly cloudy with lows in the mid 60s.
Tuesday will be an unsettled day as rounds of scattered showers and thunderstorms move across the region with a column of moist air aloft in tandem with the front’s passage. Flow aloft will be slow enough and the moisture ample enough that there is some risk of thunderstorms developing and “training”, where they keep passing over the same location like cars in a train and pose a flood risk, so that’s something that will need to be watched carefully. NWS Binghamton has also identified risk torrential for downpours to trigger “wet microburst” conditions, which is when the updraft of air carrying so many heavy rain droplets that it collapses, and the resulting downdraft creates damaging gusty winds at the surface. As a precaution, move light outdoor objects inside and avoid parking under trees. Apart from the storms with their risk will be mostly cloudy skies and humid conditions with a high around 80°F. A short wave (pulse of instability) passing overhead Tuesday night will keep the showers and storms going through the late evening, though they will decrease in number once the shortwave moves out Wednesday morning. Skies will be mostly cloudy with lows in the upper 60s.
Wednesday is a bit tricky because the remnants of Tropical Storm Fred will be approaching the Northeast and ushering in very moist, unstable air. The axis of strongest moisture/rain influx appears to be to the east of Tompkins County for now, but the risk for flooding from moisture-heavy storms will persist through the day. Expect off-and-on showers and thunderstorms, with heavy rain and wind damage possible, and near-overcast skies and highs in the low 80s. Showers and storms will decrease in number as the remnants move eastward Wednesday night, but some chance for rain will continue under overcast skies and lows in the upper 60s.
Thursday will see showers and storms taper off, but warm, moist air from the southwest will result in the more typical hazy/hot/humid setup. Plan for partly cloudy skies with scattered showers and thunderstorms, primarily in the afternoon and evening hours, with muggy conditions and highs in the mid 80s. Thursday night will see a chance for showers and storms early, with dry conditions after midnight. Skies will be partly cloudy with lows in the upper 60s.
Friday will see partly cloudy skies with thunderstorms developing in the afternoon and evening. It will be hot and muggy, with highs in the upper 80s. Friday night will see partly cloudy skies with thunderstorms dying off during the evening hours, leaving partly cloudy if humid conditions overnight and lows in the mid to upper 60s.
Next weekend is looking like it’ll be on the hot and humid side. Expect partly cloudy skies with pop-up showers and thunderstorms in the PM hours, with highs topping out in the mid and upper 80s. Overnight the storms will dissipate and it’ll be generally dry with lows in the mid 60s.
Looking ahead towards the end of the month and the crush of college students into the Ithaca area, the large-scale pattern favors a broad ridge across most of the country with warmer than normal conditions. The axis of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico will be to the west of us, so precipitation for late August will be near normal.
Brief aside on the tropics, while it’s too far out to make any wise projections, folks who will be heading to the Gulf Coast next weekend will want to keep an eye on Tropical Storm Grace as it traverses the Caribbean and potentially enters the Gulf of Mexico later this week.