ITHACA, N.Y. — It will be a very typically April-like week ahead for Ithaca and Tompkins County. There will be some dryness in the forecast for Monday and Tuesday, but generally it’s periods of light to moderate rain, grey skies, and seasonable temperatures – not too hot, and not too cold either.
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It’s a wet and chilly Sunday across Upstate New York, as a low pressure system off the Mid-Atlantic coast brings in oceanic moisture and unstable air, allowing for widespread light to moderate rain showers, or snow showers in the case of higher elevations. This system will track towards the northeast and away from Tompkins County as we go through the rest of Sunday, and that will bring the more persistent showers to an end over the next hour or so, with more isolated showers continuing through the evening and early overnight hours before tapering off.
It is a rather brisk day for early April, with highs only in the low 40s, but the moisture and persistent cloud cover through the overnight hours, temperatures won’t fall back too much, with lows in the area generally in the low to mid 30s.
Monday will be quieter with weak northwesterly flow behind the low. There may be an isolated rain shower or snow shower early in the morning as a shortwave decays to the west, but it should stay dry for most areas, with mostly cloudy skies and highs in the mid 40s. Monday night will see gradually clearing skies overnight with lows in the mid 30s.
Tuesday will be somewhat warmer as light southerly winds builds with a weak ridge. A storm system will pass across the Southern Appalachians Tuesday, but the precipitation should remain to the south of Tompkins County during the daylight hours. Highs will be in the upper 50s with partly cloudy skies early becoming cloudier as the day progresses. Rain from this southern storm system will build in Tuesday night as the low crosses the Mid-Atlantic, becoming steadier after midnight. Lows will be in the lower 40s, with new rainfall amounts between one-tenth and one-quarter of an inch.
Wednesday will see periods of rain through the morning hours, becoming spottier during the PM hours as the storm moves into the Atlantic Ocean. Skies will remain near-overcast, with highs in the upper 50s. New rainfall amounts will be less than one-tenth of an inch. Rain from a second storm system, a large area of low pressure over the Upper Midwest, will enter the region Wednesday night, bringing showers before midnight and periods of steady moderate rain into Thursday morning. Lows will be in the mid 40s.
Thursday will be a stereotypically rainy spring day, with periods of light to moderate rain as the low steadily spins over the Western Great Lakes and an occluded front stalls overhead. The system is large enough to tap into moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, which will keep the precipitation going through the day. Looking at the extended quantified precipitation forecasts from the Weather Prediction Center, it doesn’t look like enough to create flooding worries for Tompkins County, but we’ll want to keep an eye on it over the next few days. There will be a southerly breeze, but the thick clouds and rain will keep highs in the mid 50s. Thursday night will see steady rains taper off during the evening as drier air works in, leaving mostly cloudy skies and a few scattered showers overnight, and lows in the low 40s.
The low shifts eastward Friday, and the dry air shifts away as well, so that another round of showers can build into Tompkins County. Expect mostly cloudy skies with a few showers in the morning and more persistent light rain showers during the afternoon and evening, with highs Friday in the mid 50s. The showers wind down somewhat Friday night as the low moves northeastward and more dry air enters, with some scattered showers, generally before midnight, and lows in the mid to upper 30s.
The weekend is looking unsettled to start, as the system finally moves away Saturday, with a few lingering rain showers and highs in the upper 40s. Sunday will see some cool flow on the backside of the low, but with the April sun, temperatures should stay fairly similar to Saturday, in the upper 40s. Overnight lows will be in the upper 30s Saturday and mid 30s Sunday.
Medium-range models show a sizable warm-up in store for the middle of the month, with temperatures into the 70s and potentially flirting with 80°F in some areas during mid-April. This is thanks to a broad jet stream pattern that will create a ridge over the Eastern United States and an upstream trough over the Western U.S. Precipitation for Tompkins County is expected to be near normal for the period.