ITHACA, N.Y. — This week will be a great opportunity to catch up on those indoor activities you’ve been holding off on, whether it be some heavy-duty baking or binge-watching the latest hit show online. Apart from a weak system passing through to close out the weekend, there won’t be much in the way of eventful weather, but with temperatures below average for most of the week, you won’t be wanting to spend much time outside either.

Your Weekly Weather

We’re closing out the weekend with a weak “Alberta Clipper” low moving southeastward across Upstate New York. As regular readers already know, Alberta Clippers are named from their usual formation area on the eastern, leeward (downstream) side of the Rocky Mountains. They can form quickly but they don’t tend to be strong, or have much in the way of moisture so snowfall accumulations tend to be limited.

The snow showers associated with the Clipper low are moving through this afternoon and evening, and generally won’t be a problem, with an inch of new snow expected across Tompkins County, maybe 2″ if there’s a stronger cell moving through. On the backside of this counterclockwise-spinning low, northwesterly air will be drawn into the region, and today’s highs in the low 30s will quickly slide back through the 20s after sunset. The snow showers should wind down by midnight, with mostly cloudy skies through daybreak. With northerly wind, a light fresh layer of snow to prevent surface heat from getting out and chilling the air directly above it, temperatures will drop down to 0° to 5°F above zero in urban Ithaca and along the lakeshore, and some subzero readings are likely at higher elevations in the outlying areas.

Monday will be quiet during the daytime hours ahead of another weak clipper low. Winds will turn to light out of the south as the low’s circulation approaching, and a cold, partly cloudy morning in the single-digits will become a mostly cloudy afternoon with highs in the mid 20s. The next batch of snow showers move in after sunset Monday and will persist into the early hours of Tuesday morning, with cloudy skies as the low passes Ithaca’s longitude around sunrise. New snowfall amounts will be an inch or less. Lows Monday will be in the low 20s.

Tuesday will see any lingering snow showers taper off early, with winds turning to the northwest by afternoon. Skies will be mostly cloudy with highs around 30°F. With a return of northwest winds Tuesday afternoon and evening, temperatures will fall back and overnight lows Tuesday will be 5-10°F with mostly cloudy skies and a few potential lake-enhanced snow showers, especially north of Ithaca.

Wednesday will be a quiet day as an Arctic high pressure system moves from the Midwest into the Ohio River Valley. It will be a partly cloudy day but very cold, with highs in the low teens. Wednesday night will see a few passing clouds and lows 0-5°F below zero. With northwesterly winds, the wind chill will be -10 to -20°F, and wind chill advisories may be needed.

Thursday will be warmer as the high moves east of Ithaca’s longitude and southerly winds on the rear flank of the high’s clockwise flow bring in milder air. Expect partly to mostly cloudy skies with highs in the mid 20s. Thursday night will be dry and mostly cloudy with lows in the mid teens.

Friday will see another round of light snow, this time associated with a frontal trough sweeping across Quebec and the Northeast. Ahead of the trough, temperatures will make into the upper 20s for highs, with snow likely to start during the afternoon hours. By evening though, behind the front, another Arctic high will begin to work its way in, and while the snow tapers off Friday night, lows will drop to 5-10°F, with subzero windchills likely.

With high pressure in control, next weekend is looking quiet if cold. Saturday will top out in the upper teens with partly to mostly cloudy skies, Saturday night will be cold and quiet with lows near 0°F, and Sunday will be a little warmer on the back side of the high, with temperatures reaching the mid 20s.

Extended Outlook

A major large-scale pattern change is expected as we head into February. The persistent trough over the Eastern United States will abate and the jet stream will favor a more zonal flow with a modest ridge of warmer air over the East Coast. However, the jet stream will more efficiently tap into moisture from the Northern Pacific, and more frequent storms are expected in the more fast-moving west-east flow. Some Gulf of Mexico moisture is also likely to enhances precipitation east of the Mississippi River Valley. Above normal chances for precipitation are expected across most of the country for the first week of February.

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