ITHACA, N.Y. — Summer heat and humidity has its benefits, but let’s be honest; it gets tiring, literally. No one wants to go hiking or stroll the Waterfront Trail when it feels soupy and tropical outside. This week will offer you a chance to finally hit the trails and mosey around Ithaca without looking like you just came out of a sauna. Temperatures will be seasonable to a touch on the cool side, with generally lower humidity and abundant sunshine for the week ahead.

Your Weekly Weather

Following yesterday’s cold front, high pressure is building in from the Western Great Lakes. This high is ushering in a cooler, drier air mass in its clockwise circulation, with light northwest winds that will keep temperatures a touch below normal, and humidity comfortable for the next few days.

There is an expansive plume of Canadian wildfire smoke to the west of the high, but as the high shifts east over the next few days, that clockwise circulation is going to impede if not outright halt southeastward movement of the smoke plume. The smoke is not expected to approach the Finger Lakes in the first half of the week, though as the high moves further eastward late in the week and that circulatory impediment moves away with it, the smoke plume will need to be monitored. Alas, it’s too soon to say where it ends up for next weekend.

For the rest of your Sunday, expect fair-weather clouds streaming southeastward with sunnier skies directly downwind of the lakes, where the cool water stabilizes the air just overhead to limit cloud formation. Temperatures will be pleasant, topping out in the upper 70s, with dewpoints comfortably in the lower 50s. Sunday night will host partly cloudy and comfortable sleeping weather, with lows in the mid 50s.

Monday sees the high move a little closer from the west, but a weak upper-level trough will sag across northern New York State, which will allow for some weak disturbances to cross the region. The lack of moisture and presence of the high will keep showers limited, but a few southeastward moving showers could bubble up during the late afternoon and evening, with light to moderate rainfall. Highs will be in the upper 70s with partly cloudy skies. Monday night sees the showers trail off as the shortwave disturbance treks eastward, leaving partly cloudy skies and lows in the mid 50s.

The core of the high pressure system moves into Ontario for Tuesday. An errant shower will be possible southwest of Ithaca, but otherwise it will be mostly sunny with highs in the low to mid 70s. Tuesday night will see mostly clear skies with lows in the low 50s, maybe even high 40s towards Connecticut Hill and other high points.

High pressure will be directly overhead for Wednesday, which will calm any winds and allow the temperatures to perk a little higher. It will be sunny with highs in the upper 70s and comfortable humidity. Wednesday night will see partly cloudy skies and lows in the mid 50s.

As the high continued east-southeast Thursday, southerly flow on the rear flank of its clockwise circulation will channel warmer, somewhat moister are back into Tompkins County. It won’t be stifling, but it will be a touch humid, with highs in the mid 80s and a few pop-up showers and thunderstorms possible in the later afternoon and evening. Thursday night will see showers become more prevalent as a low pressure system swings eastward across Ontario and Quebec. Expect mostly cloudy skies with scattered showers and lows in the lower 60s.

The low will lurk over the St. Lawrence River Valley Friday, which will bring scattered on-and-off showers and thunderstorms. It will be partly cloudy with highs in the low 80s. Friday night will see showers and thunderstorms ending aftermidnight, with lows in the low 60s.

With the low moving out Friday night, next weekend is looking dry and pleasant. Sunny skies and highs in the upper 70s are expected Saturday, and highs in the lower 80s Sunday. Humidity will likely be noticeable but not particularly muggy, per extended-range models.

Graphics courtesy of the NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

Extended Outlook

Looking into the second week of August, the large-scale pattern calls for a pronounced trough over the Northern U.S., and a heat dome high over the South-Central part of the country. This will result in somewhat unstable conditions locally with modestly higher than normal precipitation expected, and cooler than seasonable as well (which isn’t the worst thing, given this is the climatological hottest time of the year). Meanwhile, intense heat over Texas and the desert Southwest will continue, exacerbated already extreme high, even for those typically toasty summertime locales.

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