ITHACA, N.Y. — It’s looking like a fairly quiet ahead weather-wise. The only real concern will be Tuesday, when rain is expected, and the conditions are possible though not probable for excessive rainfall and flooding. Otherwise, the week is looking serene, seasonably warm and comfortable. So while that might make for a less than interesting weather report, with the exception of Tuesday it’ll be a great week to be working or playing outdoors.

Graphic courtesy of NWS Binghamton.

Your Weekly Weather

At present, our weather is under the influence of an area of high pressure over the Mid-Atlantic and extending into the Virginias. When it was further to our east yesterday, its clockwise flow channeled cooler air from the northwest. Now, centered more westward, the flow is more westerly and southwesterly, and temperatures have climbed back to the 80s for highs.

For those of you who enjoy a little bit of stargazing (this writer can’t be the only one who misses Sandy Wood’s voice on the StarDate radio program), tonight will be about as convenient as it gets, with clear skies and temperatures bottoming out around 60 °F in Ithaca proper, and upper 50s for rural outlying areas. It’s convenient rather than “perfect” because warmer air carries more water vapor and haze, allowing for more distortion and less starlight penetrating through the lower atmosphere.

Monday will be a pleasant day, though clouds will increase in coverage during the day ahead of the next low pressure area. On the back side of the high, southwest winds should bring the temperature into the mid 80s, and it will be a touch on the humid side. Monday night will start off dry, but as that near-surface low pressure system approaches from the Ohio River Valley, clouds and rain will build in going into the AM hours. Areas west of Ithaca will likely see the first showers around midnight, while east of Ithaca will stay dry a little longer, but by daybreak, light rain will be widespread across the county and Southern Tier. Lows will be in the mid 60s.

Tuesday will start off damp and grey, and it should stay that way for practically the whole day, as periods of light to moderate rain developer and trek westward, and a potential heavier line of rain as the system quickly heads over the Southern Tier in the 10 AM – 1 PM timeframe. Most places will see a quarter to half an inch of rain by the time the low pressure storm system heads southeast and clears our area in the evening, and the rain will taper off after sunset. Highs will be in the upper 70s. Tuesday night will see a few lingering showers early, mostly for towns west of Ithaca, followed by drier conditions and decreasing clouds after midnight. Lows will be around 60 °F.

The National Weather Service office in Binghamton is noting a slight risk for excessive rainfall Tuesday if more moisture-laden air makes its way into the region and if the unstable air of the low pressure system can tap into that to replenish downpours. If that happens, rainfall amounts may exceed an inch in many locations. However, this is looking like a low probability event, a bigger risk well to our south where the moisture-laden air is more likely to be present. Still, if you live in a low-lying area or near a creek or water body prone to flooding, you’ll want to keep an eye on the forecast for Tuesday in case the potential grows for excessive rainfall and flooding.

Wednesday will be a dry, comfortable day as more stable air filters into Tompkins County, part of an expansive area of high pressure pushes in from Canada and the upper Midwest. Plan for partly cloudy skies, low humidity, and a high in the upper 70s. Wednesday night will be partly cloudy and comfortable, with lows in the upper 50s.

A weak mid-level atmospheric disturbance will pass to our south Thursday along the outer edge of the high pressure area now to our northeast, and there will be a small possibility for some isolated rain showers south of Ithaca as more moist air is advected from the south. But generally speaking, it will be a partly cloudy and pleasant day with highs in the mid 70s. Thursday night will be quiet and seasonably mild, with partly cloudy skies and a low in the mid 50s.

Friday is looking quite nice as the high pressure area move closer and gets a firmer grip on our local column of atmosphere. Expect a few passing clouds and highs in the upper 70s. Friday night will be a good one for those who like to eat al fresco, with partly cloudy skies and a low overnight in the upper 50s.

Saturday and Sunday are looking dry and a bit on the warm side for August, though nothing extreme or especially humid. Highs will be in the mid 80s both days with only a few passing clouds, and lows will be in the low 60s.

Graphic courtesy of the NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

Extended Outlook

Taking a gander at the extended forecast, it’s looking like a ridge of hotter air will be present late in the month, with a heat wave in the cards just as the college kids start moving into the dorms and Collegetown/South Hill apartments. This ridge looks persistent in the long-range model guidance, and it seems likely this surplus warmth will still be present as we approach Labor Day. Precipitation is looking to be around normal for the whole period, but with some variation during that period, drier in the period of the 18th-23rd, and potentially wetter closer to the end of the month.

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