ITHACA, N.Y. — In what seems like something of a rarity this summer, the upcoming week ahead will host seasonable temperatures with generally pleasant and comfortable conditions. Apart from some rain Monday and a return to higher temperatures and more humid conditions late in the week, it’s looking like a fairly enjoyable stretch ahead for these dog days of summer.

Your Weekly Weather

We’re finishing this weekend in a rather unusual spot – an area of nice weather wedged between two areas of inclement weather. To our east is a coastal low lifting northeastward towards Atlantic Canada and depositing some rain over the New York and Boston metros. To our west, a rather weak frontal trough, courtesy of a Canadian low well to the north, and unlikely to provide any substantive change in temperatures, maybe a couple degrees cooler after its passage and some comfortably dry air with the high pressure system behind it.

For the rest of your Sunday, expect a fairly pleasant evening in store for Ithaca and Tompkins County, with seasonable highs in the low 80s slowly falling back into the 70s by sunset, and partly cloudy skies that will hopefully make that sunset a pretty one – the sun still sets after 8 PM for a few more days, and then after Wednesday you’ll be waiting until April 26th of next year for another 8 PM sunset.  The coastal low could inject enough instability for an evening shower or thunderstorm cell in the Finger Lakes, but these would be very limited in number, and most areas will remain dry through the evening.

The rain associated with the first lobe of the frontal trough (technically called a pre-frontal trough, a result of the atmospheric instability generated by that coastal low interacting with moist air flow ahead of the frontal boundary) should arrive a little after midnight, so expect increasing cloudiness after sunset, and scattered light rain showers should you find yourself awake in the early AM hours.  Lows will be in the low 60s, and even with the rain, the humidity should be comfortable enough to sleep with the windows open.

Monday will be an unsettled day as the pre-front pushes through during the mid-morning, 8-11 AM for our region (earlier in that time frame if you’re west of Ithaca, later if you’re east of Ithaca). Plan for scattered light to moderate rain showers during the morning with mostly cloudy skies, and the rain tapering off later in the afternoon as the clouds break up somewhat and allow for less cloudy skies. Highs will be around 80°F, somewhat humid due to the rain, which will be in the one-tenth of an inch to one-quarter of an inch range. The actual front itself will pass through Tompkins County in the 8-11 PM time period, and that will be result in another round of scattered light rain showers from late evening to a little after midnight, less than one-tenth of an inch, with partly cloudy skies for early Tuesday morning and lows around 60°F.

Tuesday is shaping up to be an excellent day to be outdoors if you can. As high pressure builds in from the upper Midwest, seasonably warm, dry air will build into the Southern Tier on a light northwesterly wind. It will be partly cloudy and comfortable with highs in the upper 70s. Tuesday night will host mostly clear skies, and the radiational cooling down to the mid 50s should be enough to create valley fog in the usual areas, and that could become pretty dense by sunrise so use caution if you’ll be out on those valley roads, especially between 4-8 AM.

Wednesday will be another picture perfect day as the high moves closer, with mostly sunny skies and a high around 80°F. Wednesday night will see partly cloudy skies with lows in the mid 50s, and once again some valley fog is likely, so be mindful if you’re traveling around sunrise Thursday morning.

Thursday will see temperatures a little warmer as the high moves to our east, allowing warmer southerly flow in its clockwise circulation to be advected into the Southern Tier. That air will be warm but fairly dry and stable, so expect a mostly sunny day with a few passing clouds and highs in the low 80s. Thursday night will be mostly clear with lows in the upper 50s.

Friday will see the high remain close to our east, but we’ll start to see the flow of air take on a more southwesterly component, which will tap hotter and more humid air from the lower Mississippi River valley.  There’s a small chance for an isolated pop-up shower or thunderstorm, but it’ll take some time to build in this more hot and moist air mass, so generally expect mostly sunny skies and highs in the mid 80s. Friday night will be partly cloudy with lows in the low 60s.

The weekend is looking hotter and more humid. Saturday will be warm and muggy, with late-day convective showers and a high in the upper 80s. Saturday night will be partly cloudy and bottoming out in the mid 60s. Sunday will be a little cooler as a front looks likely to push in from Canada, bringing early-day cloud cover which will keep the temperatures down. Expect mostly cloudy skies, scattered showers and thunderstorms, and highs in the low 80s.

Images courtesy of the NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

Extended Outlook

Looking ahead towards the end of August, the long-term pattern suggests a continued ridge of hot, dry air in the Western United States (which they are getting very tired of, with rolling blackouts and hundreds of heat-related fatalities suspected), and with the jet stream wave pattern as it is, that’s inclined towards a weak but sustained trough in the Mississippi River Valley, which would allow for some somewhat cooler air into the Eastern United States. A slightly wetter than normal pattern early in the period will shift to a drier spell later, with the overall balance being about average for late August.

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