ITHACA, N.Y. — Time to do your best impression of the Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz, particularly the “I’m melting” scene. The heat dome that’s been broiling much of the Southern U.S. in recent weeks will slosh over our neck of the woods later this week, bringing stifling hot heat and humidity to the city of gorges. For what it’s worth, a cooldown is expected as we head into the weekend.
Your Weekly Weather
Given the oppressive heat and humidity expected later this week, it’s only fitting that I insert a link to The Ithaca Voice’s handy dandy heat guide, to remind folks of the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, what preventative steps you can take to avoid heat illness, and what to do if someone around you begins to experience heat illness. People around here are mentally equipped to deal with many inclement environmental conditions; our staff have to put about as much effort into warning people about how to handle cold weather as we do to remind them to wear pants. However, most older homes in Tompkins County aren’t equipped to handle tropical heat and humidity, and a quick reminder certainly doesn’t hurt.
Anyway, we’re starting off the week with more seasonably warm temperatures as high pressure moves eastward and warm, moist southerly flow is enhanced on the rear flank of its clockwise circulation. While an isolated thunderstorm or two is possible this evening, radar currently shows that the nearest cells are well to the east and west of Ithaca by a solid 50+ miles. Generally dry conditions are expected for Tompkins County, with temperatures steadily receding from mid 80s to mid 70s towards sunset. The storms die off with the loss of daytime heating, leaving mostly clear skies tonight with lows in the low 60s.
The high moves further eastward for Monday, and the southerly flow will not only allow for more moist and unstable air to enter into the region, a weak shortwave (pulse of atmospheric instability) will further destabilize out local column of atmosphere and allow for some afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms. Due to the moist, buoyant air, there is some risk for some isolated severe thunderstorms with damaging winds and hail, and the very moist incoming air will allow for torrential downpours that may trigger flash flooding int the usual poor drainage and small stream areas. Do be mindful if any alerts are issued for your neighborhood. Outside of the storms. it will be a partly cloudy and humid day with highs in the upper 80s. Monday night will see showers and storms wind down as the shortwaves heads east and daytime heating is lost. Expect partly cloudy skies with humid lows in the lower 60s.
Tuesday sees some atmospheric instability from an upper-level trough of low pressure in the area on the edge of the jet stream ridge, but generally the showers and storms will only be a threat in the PM hours, and widely scattered. Skies will be mostly sunny and it will be humid with highs in the mid 80s. Tuesday night will see mostly clear skies with lows in the lower 60s, though I will caution that some longer-range smoke models do show some potential for elevated particulate levels Tuesday night due to Canadian wildfire smoke.
Wednesday will see the heat cranked up as high pressure builds from the south. Southwest flow will result in hot, muggy conditions, though the high pressure will tamp down any showers or storms. Skies will be near-clear with highs in the lower 90s, that’ll feel more like the mid 90s with dewpoints in the upper 60s. Wednesday night will be humid and partly cloudy with lows around 70.
If you have outdoor plans Thursday, consider rescheduling them, or at least putting them as early or as late in the day as possible. With strong southwest flow and mostly sunny skies, high temperatures will be around 95, and with dewpoints in the low to mid 70s, it’ll feel more like 100-105 F. Do take caution and plan your day accordingly. Thursday night will see partly cloudy skies and sticky lows in the lower 70s.
Friday will be another oppressive day as temperature climb into the mid 90s with heat indices in the 100-105 F range. A few early showers and thunderstorms in the area will only make it more humid, mid 70s for dewpoints. That’s typically about as high as it gets for humidity in a given year. Skies will be partly cloudy with west winds. More widespread showers and thunderstorms will build in late in the day as a cold front approaches from the west. This will move through Friday night, with showers and storm into Saturday morning, and lows in the mid 60s.
Next weekend looks more pleasant. Though it will still be rather muggy, highs will be in the low 80s for both Saturday and Sunday, and lows will be in the low 60s. A few rain showers will be possible Saturday, but it doesn’t look like a washout.
Heading into the start of August, the large-scale pattern is forecast to host an upstream ridge over the northern Rockies, while a downstream trough will bring cooler than seasonable conditions to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Given that late July and early August is the climatological hottest time of the year, unseasonable coolness may be welcome. Much of the continental U.S. is expected to see unsettled conditions as well, whether from Pacific flow or Atlantic moisture brough in from low pressure systems moving along the trough. In Ithaca, it is expected to be a little wetter than usual, as well as cooler than the low to mid 80s we typically see for highs in mid-summer. The Lower Mississippi River Valley and Texas are expected to see dangerously hot and humid conditions, so if you have a vacation to New Orleans or Houston planned, reschedule or make plans to park your rear in an area with ample air conditioning.