ITHACA, N.Y. — To put a meteorological spin on this week, the arrival of students back to Ithaca is a lot like the arrival of winter. You can gripe about it and it does cause a lot of issues (especially the traffic snarls), but it’s a fact of life when living here and the area would be in worse shape otherwise.

As luck would have it, most of the week ahead will actually be fairly quiet, seasonably warm with generous amounts of sunshine. That is, except for Monday and Tuesday, when Cornell’s latest crop of freshmen and Ithaca College’s early arrivals come in to town.

Your Weekly Weather

For any anxious parent reading this, if your child’s moving in on Monday, they’ll probably avoid the rain. The low pressure storm system moving in from the west won’t begin to really impact the area until evening, after IC’s early arrival move-ins have wrapped up for the day, and just as Cornell’s are finished. There could be a few leading showers ahead of the low, but these would be brief and sporadic cells.

Arguably, the bigger concern will be if your child is scheduled to move in on Tuesday, as the low is passing overhead. Don’t expect a washout, but scattered showers and some thunderstorms will be rolling through all day long, so adjust your plans and packing materials accordingly.

Anyway, for the rest of your Sunday, with a brief bubble of high pressure in place between yesterday’s low and tomorrow night’s low, it should be a fairly pleasant August day. A few isolated showers will be possible as the low heads east over New England, but generally clouds will decrease as the day goes on, and highs will top out around 80. Tonight will see partly cloudy skies become mostly cloudy again towards morning, with lows in the upper 50s.

While Monday will see increasing clouds as the next storm system approaches from the west, it should generally stay dry until about 6-8 PM, when the first showers are expected from the southwest. Temperatures will be comfortable, in the upper 70s for highs. As the rain shield moves in Monday night will be a washout with periods of light to moderate rain, 0.25-0.50″ in most areas. Lows will be mild, in the low to mid 60s.

As the core of the low moves overhead Tuesday, it will be a mostly cloudy and stormy day, with scattered cellular showers and thunderstorms through the evening. Generally amounts appear to be light and models are more favorable to a more active/rainier morning than afternoon and evening, as the low moves off to the ENE. Highs will be in the upper 70s. Tuesday night sees showers and storms come to an end with mostly cloudy skies and lows around 60.

High pressure from the Ohio River Valley moves in for Wednesday. It will be a seasonably warm, dry and mostly sunny day with highs in the upper 70s. Wednesday night will host mostly clear skies with lows in the upper 50s.

High pressure becomes elongated in a SW-NE tilt Thursday as a powerful low winds up over the Canadian side of the Western Great Lakes. This storm will drive more southerly flow and boost temperatures into the mid 80s for high, under mostly sunny skies. Thursday night will host partly cloudy skies with some scattered showers possible – the bulk of the rain stays to the north but the tail end of the low’s cold front may clip Tompkins County. Lows will be in the lower 80s.

Heading into Friday, some risk of rain persists, primarily to the north of Ithaca. with partly cloudy skies and highs in the low 80s. Friday night will see the high build in once again behind the low, with decreasing clouds and lows in the upper 50s.

At this time, next weekend is looking quite nice, with high pressure overhead. It will be mostly sunny both Saturday and Sunday, with highs in the low to mid 80s.

Graphics courtesy of the NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

Extended Outlook

Looking into the last third of August, the large scale pattern calls for a jet stream ridge over the Lower Mississippi River Valley, with upstream and downstream troughs. Generally, this will result in warmer-than-normal conditions over much of the country, though being on the edge of the ridge means Tompkins County will only be slightly above normal temperature-wise, as the downstream trough may introduce cooler air during shorter periods of wobbling in the atmospheric waves. On the precipitation side, rainfall is expected to be near normal locally.

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