ITHACA, N.Y. — It will be a grey and damp start to the week, but those clouds come with a true silver lining – a few days of temperatures in the upper 60s and 70s with sunny skies. Temps will cool off for the weekend, but still fairly pleasant for your socially-distances fall festivities.

Your Weekly Weather

After a dry if brisk weekend, the cloud cover has been thickening over the Southern Tier this evening ahead of a cold front moving in from the west. The front comes with some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that the frontal boundary is going to stall out over the region, so Monday and Tuesday will be rather unpleasant, rainy days.

The good news is, because it stalls out, the cold air behind it, which would pack a serious punch for late October (temperatures are struggling to get out of the 30s in the Dakotas and Upper Midwest), stays locked up behind it. Models show the low unable to dislodge a ridge of high pressure over the Atlantic Ocean, eventually riding up over the ridge to the northeast into Canada, and dragging the front out of the region. When that happens, the Atlantic high will take control and extend its jet stream ridge over the Southern Tier. Southerly flow will bring temperatures up nicely, offering us a few days of warm, pleasant weather as storm systems pass up and over the ridge, and around us.

For the rest of your Sunday, skies will turn overcast and conditions should remain dry until around sunrise, when the first bands of rains associated with front begin to move through Tompkins County. The cloud cover and southerly winds ahead of the front will allow temperatures to stay relatively mild overnight, with lows in the upper 40s.

Monday is pretty likely to be a washout. The heavier rain will be in the later morning and early afternoon, with some breaks likely as we head through the later afternoon and into the evening. It will be overcast with highs in the mid 50s. New rainfall amounts are expected to be between one-quarter and one-half of an inch. Monday night will be scattered but frequent rain showers with overcast skies. Thanks to the rain and thick cloud cover, temperatures will only fall back to the low 50s. New rainfall amounts overnight will be between one-tenth and one-quarter of an inch.

Tuesday will see some improvement late, as the stalled cold front begins to lift away to the northeast without unleashing the cold air mass behind it. Staying ahead of the front, skies will be generally overcast but the rain will be more intermittent, and temperatures will rise to the low 60s. New rainfall amounts will be less than one-tenth of an inch. Tuesday night will host mostly cloudy skies breaking up towards morning, a few lingering rain showers, and light winds turning southerly. Lows will be in the upper 40s.

Wednesday will be a warm and breezy day as a storm system skirts by to the northwest, riding along the edge of the ridge taking hold over Tompkins County. This will enhance the southerly winds and potentially a few showers could edge into the region, especially north and west of Ithaca. But generally, expect mostly dry and mostly cloudy conditions, with high temperatures making it into the upper 70s, with an outside shot of breaking the record high of 80°F set in 1963, more likely if the low stays a little more to the northwest and we have more sun. Wednesday night will be mostly cloudy and dry, with the winds slackening as the low moves away. Lows will be around 50°F.

Thursday is looking like a nicer day with no immediate storm threats, though a potential tropical system in the central Atlantic (likely to be named “Epsilon”) is likely to jostle the high from the south and weaken the ridge. Without the counterclockwise flow of a westward low to enhance the high, winds will be lighter and temperatures a little cooler. Plan for partly cloudy skies and highs in the upper 60s. Thursday night will be partly cloudy with lows in the mid 50s.

Friday will be pleasant during the daytime hours – another low will take a run at the high pressure ridge, and this one looks likely to push the weakened ridge out of the area and usher in a cooler air mass. But that won’t happen until after dark. With enhanced southerlies once again, it will be partly cloudy (mostly cloudy late) with highs in the mid 70s. Friday night will see mostly cloudy skies with some showers after midnight as the front begins its passage, passing through in the 12 AM – 3 AM timeframe. Lows will be in the upper 40s as cooler air filters in behind the front.

Saturday and Sunday will be cooler but generally dry apart from some lake effect rain showers to the north. Saturday will be partly cloudy and in the low 60s, while Sunday will be partly cloudy and in the upper 50s. Lows overnight will be in the low 40s.

Graphics courtesy of the NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

Extended Outlook

Looking ahead into the end of October, a large trough in the jet stream centered over the Dakotas will result in widespread below-average temperatures in the Mountain West and central part of the continental United States. However, the jet stream ridge over the Atlantic is expected to build back westward and bring warmer-than-normal conditions to the East Coast, with modestly above-normal temperatures possible in the Southern Tier. However, with the jet stream boundary between the trough and the ridge being close to our vicinity, conditions are expected to be unstable, favoring rainier/wetter than normal conditions as we head through Halloween.

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