ITHACA, N.Y. — Following last week’s rain, sleet and snow, conditions may not be as stormy over the next several days, but it will remain unsettled for much of the week ahead. Temperatures will run below normal and frequent storm systems will impact Tompkins County, albeit nothing particularly disruptive. If you want mild weather, you’ll have to travel somewhere south, though practically the entire country will be running colder than normal as we head into the ides of March.

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A weak disturbance is passing through Upstate New York this afternoon, bringing widespread cloudiness and some light showers across the region. The showers will clear out over the next few hours as the disturbances heads east and gets roped into a strong low over Atlantic Canada. High pressure will briefly build in for tonight and tomorrow, though a weak clipper low storm system will move in from the Midwest for Monday night and Tuesday.

For the rest of your Sunday, expect any remaining local rain showers to come to an end this evening, though skies will remain cloudy through the overnight hours into Monday morning. Temperatures will gradually descend from the low 40s to around 30 by sunrise Monday.

Monday will be relatively quiet as high pressure overhead maintains a tenuous grip during the daylight hours. Skies will be mostly cloudy with highs around 40. Rain showers begin to move in shortly after sunset as the clipper low approaches, and these will become snow showers as temperatures slide back during the night. Accumulations will be light, less than an inch in most areas. Lows will be in the upper 20s.

The low exits to the southeast Tuesday, with a few lingering lake-enhanced snow showers and breezy northwest winds behind the system. It’ll be a chilly day, with temperatures only topping out in the lower 30s under grey skies. Tuesday night will see clouds overhead, some scattered light showers and gusty winds. As a coastal storm system strengthens and a polar high hangs over Northern Ontario, the two systems will drive a steep pressure gradient that translates to gusty winds, NW 25-35 MPH accordingly to forecast models. Lows will be in the low 20s, but it’ll feel more like 5 to 10 above zero during the overnight hours.

Wednesday will be a cold and cloudy day if dry, as the strong high remains over Canada and drives polar air in from the north, while the strong low hangs in place over the Atlantic Ocean, amplifying the northerly flow. Highs will be in the low 30s with a northwest breeze. Wednesday night will host lake-enhanced cloudy skies, northwest winds, and a low in the mid 20s.

Thursday may involve brief glimpses of a blindingly bright ball of hot gas, rumored to be called “the sun” and long thought to be a myth in these parts. Try not to stare too long at it – not that the mostly cloudy skies will let you. A few isolated light flurries will also be possible, with highs in the mid 30s. Thursday night sees mostly cloudy skies with lows in the mid 20s.

Friday sees the core of the high pressure system work a little closer to the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes, which might lead to a few more breaks in the cloud sheet. Temperatures will be in the upper 30s with lighter north winds and mostly cloudy skies. Friday night well see a few snow flurries as a developing storm begins to move in from the Midwest. Lows will be in the low to mid 20s.

Looking into next weekend, early indications are for a couple inches of night-time wet snow and daytime rain from the Midwest low from Friday night through Sunday morning, with cloudy if drier conditions to follow. Highs will be near 40 both Saturday and Sunday, with lows in the mid to upper 20s Saturday, and low to mid 20s Sunday.

Graphics courtesy of the NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

Extended Outlook

Looking into the middle of the month, unfortunately for those wanting some mild weather, they’ll have to keep waiting. A deep, extensive pool of colder-than-normal air will sit over the continental United States, with everywhere but the eastern fringe of Maine expected to see temperatures below normal. The jet stream pattern favors wetter than usual conditions over the West Coast as Pacific moisture is channeled into California, while cold, dry Arctic air will provide drier than normal conditions over the Upper Midwest. For Ithaca and Tompkins County, temperatures are expected to be somewhat below normal but not extreme, with near-normal precipitation as we approach the first day of astronomical spring.

Brian Crandall

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