ITHACA, N.Y. — Behold, ye winter-weary souls; with temperatures above 60 degrees on Friday, it appears spring is coming, albeit briefly.

Precipitation, mean sea level pressure and 1000-500 mb thickness (temperature proxy) for 8 PM Thursday evening. Warm air will flow into the region from the southwest as a powerful low pressure area passes to the northwest. GFS Model output courtesy

Your Weekly Weather

Sunday’s morning snows and subsequent mixed precipitation came courtesy of a strong storm system lifting northeastward through the Great Lakes and into Canada over the weekend. This system will shift rapidly to the east, well north of the Southern Tier, so further impacts will be limited. However, as the system moves eastward, cold air will wrap in around it counterclockwise circulation, and so temperatures Tuesday will be a notch below average.

For your Monday, expect mostly cloudy skies, some remnant rain and snow showers mainly to the north of Ithaca, a stiff westerly breeze and highs in the upper 30s to around 40 °F. Monday night will be cloudy and seasonably cold, with scattered light snow showers and temperatures settling in the mid 20s for a low. In terms of accumulations, don’t expect anything more than a thin coating, and really most places will see just a dusting.

Tuesday’s a little cooler with the winds turning more out of northwest, but skies should clear out as the day progresses, from nearly overcast during the morning, to partly cloudy by lunch and only a few passing clouds by sunset. This is thanks to an area of high pressure that will be moving into the region from the west. Temperature will remain on the chilly side, with highs in the mid 30s in Ithaca and along the lake, and right around 32 °F in the outlying towns and elevated areas. Tuesday night will be mostly clear with calm winds and lows in the upper teens.

Wednesday will be the start of our warm spell, as the high shifts just to the east and south of Ithaca, and warm air is pumped northward int its clockwise flow. As a result, we’ll see increasing clouds during the day, but highs will make it to around 50 °F in most spots. Wednesday night will be mostly cloudy but dry, with temperatures only falling back into the upper 30s.

Thursday is when the next storm system starts to approach, a powerful storm in the Great Plains that will move northwestward through the Western Great Lakes. The storm will be large enough to send a sweeping area of rain into the regions, but with the storm passing to the northwest, the Southern Tier will remain in the warm sector of its circulation. For Thursday, it will be very spring-like, with mostly cloudy skies, scattered light rain showers, and temperatures climbing into the low 50s. Thursday night will be cloudy, with periods of light to moderate rain, and temperatures hardly dropping, with lows in the upper 40s and a southerly breeze continuing to advect warm air into the region.

Friday is looking to be the warmest day of all, with deep sotherly flow pumping mild, moist air into Ithaca and Tompkins County. It will be mostly cloudy with periods of rain, and temperatures will make it into the upper 50s in most places, and low 60s can’t be discounted for the city of Ithaca and areas close to the lake.

However, all warm spells must come to an end, and as the storm system passes through Canada and east of our region, a renewed flow of cool air will begin to bring the temperatures down. Friday night will see the rain coming to an end, with calm winds, mostly cloudy skies and lows in the mid 30s. Saturday will be a notch below average but not terrible, with mostly cloudy skies, a few isolated rain showers, and highs around 40 °F. Saturday night will be mostly cloudy, dry and in the mid 20s, while Sunday will have but a few passing clouds and highs in the upper 30s, which is more than enough to keep the St. Patrick’s Day revelers happy.

Graphic courtesy of the NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

Extended Outlook

Looking towards the astronomical start of Spring, it looks like it’ll be a cool start. A pronounced trough in the jet stream over the central United States will funnel unusually cool air into the Southern states, but the air will be fairly temperate by our Northern standards, and so temperatures won’t be as abnormally chilly. For those waiting for that next taste of spring, the models are strongly hinting at a very pronounced warm period towards the end of March for the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, so rest your weary souls, spring is definitely coming.

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