ITHACA, N.Y. — Normally, I get to make some pun about the weather being scary for Halloween. After all, the sun sets much earlier this time of the year, temperatures drop rapidly in October, and we see an increasing risk for snow and more winter-like storminess. Dark, chilly, stormy; perfect for scary movies and haunted houses.

However, this is an odd year out, and it’s going to be great if you’re the one chaperoning trick-or-treaters. We’re looking at mid to upper 50s with a few scattered showers, a decidedly “G”-rated weather forecast when normally we see something that calls for parental guidance. Plus, it’ll remain mild and pleasant through the week.

Your Weekly Weather

A persistent ridge over the Eastern United States has generally provided for mild daytime temperatures in Upstate New York, though mostly clear skies, calm winds and the decreasing daily sunlight have allowed for some chilly overnight readings. As the high pressure over Quebec has slipped southeastward off of Cape Cod, some mild southeasterly flow has boosted the temperatures several degrees from the brief cool spell in last Friday.

Today will be a fairly quiet as the high remains in control. With light southerly flow, it’ll be sunny with above-average highs in the mid 60s, but expect increasing clouds through the afternoon and evening. This is the cloud shield building in ahead of the next low pressure storm system moving in, which we’ll discuss in a moment. Sunday night will be partly to mostly cloudy with lows in the low 40s as the clouds provide for some insulation.

Now, turning to this storm system moving in later Monday and into Tuesday, it’s going to be a fairly tame event for Tompkins County. For one, it’s passing to the northwest, moving from Michigan into Canada, and then eastward through the Adirondacks and Quebec Tuesday morning. That keeps Ithaca in the warm sector of its counterclockwise flow. For two, it’s weakening, and may not even be a closed low as is passes through the region. Thirdly, it’s wrapping in drier continental air into the Southern Tier, and this parched air dries out the atmosphere and prevents rain showers from forming.

Going through Monday, although the system will be approaching, the aforementioned factors will only mean a partly to mostly cloudy day, and mild for Halloween, with highs in the mid 60s. As the decaying core passes to the northwest Monday night, there will be some scattered light rain showers, particularly in communities northwest of Ithaca, and a little more prevalent later in the evening after 8 PM. This will not be a washout; they will be brief. If you have to wait five minutes under a porch so that a few raindrops doesn’t make the face-paint run, so be it. It will be fairly comfortable, with temperatures in the mid to upper 50s, and with lows around 50 overnight.

Tuesday will be another mild day as the decaying low passes east and a bubble of high pressure builds in from the Lower Mississippi River Valley. Expect some showers in and around the cold frontal passage during the late morning, with less than 0.1″ of rain during the day. But with the high’s flow being channeled in on the backside of the low, it’ll be in the mid to upper 60s for highs. Tuesday night will see showers end, with mostly cloudy skies and lows around 50.

Expansive high pressure remains in control Wednesday, with a second lobe building in from Canada. Skies will be mostly sunny with highs in the mid 60s. Wednesday night will be partly cloudy with lows in the lower 40s.

Another nice day is in store for Thursday as the high consolidates over New England. Skies will be partly cloudy and dry with highs in the mid 60s. Thursday night will be partly cloudy with lows in the low to mid 40s.

Friday is another warm, pleasant day, though a large and potent storm system will be developing over the Upper Midwest. This will move towards us, but it will also enhance southerly flow prior to arrival. Friday will be mostly sunny with highs in the upper 60s. Friday night will see showers primarily northwest of Ithaca as the storm system tries to sag southeastward through Upstate to force out the high, with mostly cloudy skies and lows in the low 50s.

Signs of a cooldown to more seasonable temperatures are in the cards, but not until after next weekend, as the storm system will have to grind against the high for days to work its way into Tompkins County, Generally, expect a couple of showery days, mostly cloudy but not washouts, with highs near 70 and lows in the low 50s for both Saturday and Sunday.

Extended Outlook

Looking into Election Day and Veteran’s Day, there will be some moderation to more seasonable temperatures later in the week, but overall it’ll be above average temperature-wise, as will much of the Eastern and Central United States. Near-normal precipitation is expected for the Northeast during this period. Meanwhile, upstream, a jet stream trough will permit cooler and wetter conditions over the Pacific Northwest.

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