ITHACA, N.Y. — For those who feel the heat and humidity has arrived a little too early for your liking, this week offers some respite. A cold front will move through Tompkins County Monday, bringing cooler, drier air back into the region. However, by Friday, the heat and the humidity will return.

Your Weekly Weather

It’s an unsettled, summer-like Sunday across Upstate New York. An injection of moisture and instability from a decaying cutoff low over the Southeastern United States had resulted in an increase in the humidity and an unstable atmosphere, with numerous showers and a few thunderstorms firing off across the region, including a rather strong cell that passed over the Newfield and Danby areas earlier this afternoon.

Expect a few more quick showers to roll across the region during the remainder of the afternoon and evening, but these should trail off by sunset. Between showers will be partly to mostly cloudy skies with highs in the low 80s. Tonight looks to be quiet, with increasing clouds during the overnight hours but remaining dry. Lows Sunday night will be mild, in the upper 50s.

A cold front will move from west to east across the region Monday, and that poses some severe weather risks we’ll need to keep an eye on. There will be plenty of energy and moisture to feed into storms that develop. In this energetic, highly unstable environment, numerous severe thunderstorms are likely to develop Monday afternoon. The more to the east you are, the more daytime heat energy to enhance the storm, and the greater the risk. These storms will be capable of torrential downpours, up to half an inch in just a few minutes, damaging straight-line winds, large hail, and potentially an isolated tornado or two.

The biggest risks Monday will be in the mid-to-late afternoon just ahead of the front (2-4 PM), but really anytime from about 12 PM to 6 PM on Monday, keep an eye out for any severe weather alerts so that you can get to a safe place ahead of the storms. Temperatures will reach the upper 70s ahead of the front with mostly cloudy skies in the morning prior to the rounds of storms. The front will move through around sunset, with winds turning to a northwesterly breeze as we head into Monday night. Monday night will be quieter with partly cloudy skies and lows in the low 50s.

Tuesday will be a cooler and drier day, and certainly more spring-like as more stable air filters in from the northwest. An isolated shower or two will be possible as the storm system that brough the cold front through slows down over the Saint Lawrence Valley, but generally expect dry conditions with a stiff WNW wind and highs in the mid 60s and partly cloudy skies. Tuesday night will see the winds weaken somewhat, with decreasing clouds and lows in the low 40s.

Wednesday will be another dry and seasonable day as the high moves southeastward into the Mid-Atlantic. There will still be a northwesterly breeze, though not as strong as Tuesday’s. Highs will be in the mid 60s with mostly sunny skies. Wednesday night will see calm air and partly cloudy skies, with lows in the low 40s.

Thursday sees the high move eastward, and that will allow more southerly air into the region in the rear western flank of its clockwise flow. An isolated shower or two is possible as a weak shortwave passes around the high, but generally it will remain dry with partly cloudy skies and highs in the mid 70s. Thursday night will be dry with partly cloudy skies and a low in the mid 50s.

As a storm system builds over the Western Great Lakes Friday, enhanced southerly flow and moisture from the Lower Mississippi River Valley will bring warm, humid air into Tompkins County once again. A shower or thunderstorm may develop, but generally the atmosphere will remain relatively stable and most areas will stay dry all day. It will be a hot, rather muggy and partly cloudy day with highs in the mid 60s and a dewpoint in the low to mid 60s. Friday night will be partly cloudy with a low in the low 60s.

Looking ahead into next weekend, Saturday is looking to be hot and summery with some humidity, partly cloudy skies, and an outside chance of hitting 90 degrees (mis 80s are more likely). The cold front with that Great Lakes storm system should move through Saturday night into Sunday morning with rain expected overnight, but Sunday should be partly to mostly cloudy with highs around 70°F, a nice day for Ithaca College’s graduation.

Graphics courtesy of the NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

Extended Outlook

Looking ahead into the end of May, the large-scale weather pattern favors a broad jet stream trough over the western and central United States, and a ridge over the Eastern U.S. This pattern will allow for warmer than normal temperatures, but the channeling of Gulf of Mexico moisture into the Northeast will likely translate to wetter-than-normal conditions as well. For those who like it hazy, hot and humid, this is your ideal. For everyone else, well, we’ll see how things look in June.

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