ITHACA, N.Y. — It won’t just be politics running hot on Election Day Tuesday – it’ll be the warmest day of the week, albeit a wet one. The first half of the week will be unsettled, but the second half will be quieter, though it will be quite cold by this weekend.

Weather Recap

Taking a look at the final October 2018 numbers from the Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC), the average temperature for the month clocked in at 48.4 °F, 0.3 °F below normal. For most practical purposes though, any monthly average within about a degree or so of the expected temperatures is considered “near normal”, so consider October to be a near normal.

But beyond that broad view, it was really a tale of two months – an unusually warm first half of the month, several degrees above normal, and an unusually cold second half of the month, coming in several degrees below normal.

Precipitation-wise, it was another month of above normal values, with 5.35″ of rain (and only trace amounts of snow) during the month, well above the average of 3.42″. That was one feature that remained fairly constant between the warm and the cold periods, they were both pretty damp. The NRCC notes that no one was especially dry this past month in the Northeast, though many stations in the eastern part of the state and in New England were modestly drier than usual.

As we head into November, it’s looking seasonably cool this week, but…you might want the heavy coat later this month, but we’ll get to that in a minute, let’s look at the week ahead first.

Forecasted precipitation totals for Tuesday from 7 AM – 1 PM. Graphic courtesy of NWS Binghamton.
Forecasted precipitation totals for Tuesday from 7 AM – 1 PM. Graphic courtesy of NWS Binghamton.

Your Weekly Weather

We’ll be starting off quiet, albeit briefly, as high pressure continues to shift eastward and the next frontal boundary starts to work its way in from the east. Thanks to southerly flow ahead of the low pressure center over the Western Great Lakes (Meteorology 101, air flows counterclockwise around lows in the Northern Hemisphere), temperatures should actually climb a few degree during the overnight hours.

On Monday, round one of rain will involve the passage of a warm front from the southwest to the northeast. A coastal low may enhance the moisture flowing into the region, but amounts are looking light to moderate, a tenth to a quarter of an inch during the late morning, and tapering down after the front passes. Temperatures will make into the low 50s under cloudy, rainy skies, with a strong south breeze. With those winds and clouds, temperatures Monday night will stay on the warm side, falling back only to the upper 40s.

Round two of rain will kick in just in time for your Tuesday morning commute. As the coastal low moves towards Cape Cod, the Great Lakes low pressure center strengthens and shifts east and then northeastward into Quebec. This strong storm system will generate widespread rain and thunderstorms for the Southern Tier, though with the warm air advection it will get in the upper 50s to near 60 °F under mostly cloudy skies. This rain may be heavy at times, so be aware of any potential ponding on the roads or localized flooding in the vicinity of thunderstorms. The rain will taper off Tuesday night as the low moves away, and as the clouds break up, temperatures will fall back into the mid 40s.

Wednesday won’t be as wet, but with the strong low to the north and its intense pressure gradient, there will be a blustery west wind, gusting as high as 30 MPH at times. Apart from the stiff wind, expect partly cloudy skies and a high in the low 50s, though the wind will make it feel a few degrees cooler. Wednesday night will see the winds calm somewhat, with partly cloudy skies and lows in the mid 30s.

Thursday will be cool with calmer winds, but otherwise not too bad. Temperatures will top out in the mid 40s under partly cloudy skies. Thursday night will be chilly and mostly cloudy, with lows in the mid 30s to near 32 °F in the more rural areas.

A weaker storm is expected to spin up Thursday and move eastward, rotating through the Eastern Great Lakes and up into Eastern Canada. This will create some scattered rain showers, though nothing intense. It will be mostly cloudy with scattered showers and a high in the mid 40s. Brisk winds behind that system will likely bring temperatures below freezing for just about everyone Friday night, with some scattered, very light snow showers possible as temperatures bottom out around 30 °F.

Veteran’s Day weekend is going to be a cold one, though at least it’ll be dry and mostly sunny. Brisk northwest winds will keep temperatures in the upper 30s to around 40 °F for Saturday and Sunday, with lows Saturday night in the upper 20s.

Graphic courtesy of the NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

Extended Outlook

It looks like the cold will be sticking around for a while. A deep and persistent trough in the jet stream centered over the Mississippi River Valley will result in abnormally cold temperatures for much of the country, only sparing South Florida and parts of the West Coast – certain regions on the fring of the trough are more likely to see some moderation in the cold pattern thanks to day-to-day variations in the location of the jet stream trough. There is some enhanced potential for precipitation during this mid-November time period, and it remains to be seen if anything in the form of snow materializes as we crawl closer to winter.

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