ITHACA, N.Y. — For those looking for a chance to dry out, this week offers some hope. While not entirely lacking of rain, with some modest chances Tuesday and Thursday, the week should be fairly dry and seasonably warm, which will allow waterlogged soils an opportunity to dehydrate as the moisture is percolated by surface heating and wicked into the air above. A relatively cool if dry spell is likely for the end of the month.

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The Canadian storm system that pushed through overnight is now well to the east of Tompkins County, and behind its frontal boundary the sky is clearing out as more stable air comes in from the northwest on the eastern edge of a high pressure system over the Midwest. The rest of today will be quiet and on the warm side of normal, with mostly sunny skies and highs in the mid 80s. It will feel muggy earlier this afternoon as the surface water evaporates and humidifies the air above, but as the puddles dry out, we should see the dewpoint come down into the lower 60s by the end of the day. As high pressure continues to push in from the west, it will be a quiet night, with a few passing clouds and lows in the low 60s.

The high pressure system will be overhead Monday, and it will be a pleasant summer day with nearly-clear skies, a light northwest wind, comfortable humidity, and highs in the mid 80s. Monday night will see the high shift east of Tompkins County, so light winds will turn to come out of the southwest, but otherwise it will be mostly clear with lows in the low 60s.

A weak shortwave (pulse of atmospheric instability) will works its way across the Southern Tier from northwest to southeast Tuesday, and this will help drive the southwesterly wind ahead of it, allowing warmer and more humid air to move into the region. Expect a muggy day with mostly sunny skies early and highs rising into the mid 80s, but as the shortwave passes through, clouds will grow and thicken and some scattered showers and thunderstorms will pop up in the afternoon and evening hours, though these don’t look to be all that widespread in short-range models. The short wave will pass through during the evening hours and showers will taper off by midnight, with partly cloudy skies overnight Tuesday and lows in the low 60s.

High pressure will once again build in for Wednesday, this time south-southeastward from Ontario and Quebec. This will bring in some cooler air, though still rather humid, with a high around 80°F with partly cloudy skies. A fast-moving Canadian low will begin to push in Wednesday night, with a few showers possible by Thursday morning as skies turn from partly to mostly cloudy. Lows Wednesday night will be in the low 60s.

Thursday looks to be the day with the highest chances for significant rain this week as a cold front extending from that Canadian low sweeps across Upstate New York during the afternoon and evening hours. There will be scattered showers and thunderstorms throughout the day, though by no means will it be a washout, with most areas remaining in the 0.1-0.25″ range for new rainfall. It will otherwise be mostly cloudy with highs in the low 80s. As the front passes, rain showers should shut down by midnight, with partly cloudy skies and lows in the upper 50s.

Friday will feel rather refreshing as some climatologically cold air comes in behind the low as part of a large and strong high pressure system sinking into the Great Lakes from Canada. The northwest breeze should keep highs in the low to mid 70s in and around Ithaca, with comfortable humidity and mostly clear skies. Friday night will see mostly clear skies and lows in the mid 50s.

That high pressure system will remain firmly in place through the weekend and into early next week, keeping the atmosphere stable and temperature near to perhaps a little below normal. Expect mostly clear to partly cloudy skies both Saturday and Sunday, with highs in the mid to upper 70s and overnight lows in the mid 50s.

Graphics courtesy of the NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

Extended Outlook

It should be noted that with that high becoming somewhat entrenched over the Western Great Lakes, things here will likely remain on the climatologically cool side, which isn’t saying much given that late July and early August are locally the warmest time of the year, so we’re talking mid to upper 70s vs. the low to mid 80s we’d expect. This air will be a continental dry air mass, so precipitation will likely be less than normal as we head into August.

However, given the clockwise rotation of the high, lots of hot air from the South will be pumped into the Mississippi River Valley and the Great Plains, which could result in dangerous heat from the Dakotas down to Louisiana, and separately the continued ridge in the Northwestern continental United States will result in a heat dome of hot desert air, though the wildfire threat should be marginal thanks to Pacific Ocean monsoon moisture being advected into the region. As we saw this past week, fires that develop could release large amounts of smoke that could travel downstream and result in poor air quality, so we’ll have to keep an eye on that as the Western wildfire season gets closer to its late summer-early fall climatological maximum.

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