ITHACA, N.Y. — It isn’t the precocious kids or angsty tweens coming to the front door that scares me; but the sight of a few flakes Tuesday night might send a chill down my spine. Unseasonably cold and unsettled conditions will bring a hard frost to many areas early this week, with some snow potential Tuesday night before a high pressure system brings calmer and more seasonable temperatures for later in the week.

Your Weekly Weather

A low front, initially dragged in with low pressure that passed to the north Friday night into Saturday, is now stalled out over Downstate New York and Southern Pennsylvania. Temperatures vary widely from around 80 in Washington to a high of 60 in New York City, and mid 40s locally.

This stalled front is serving as a conduit for low pressure storm systems tracking along its channel of instability, riding up from Texas, across the Ohio River Valley and into the Northeast. A stronger low will eventually pick it up and drag the front out eastward later on Monday, but in the meanwhile, expect a cool, grey and dreary start to the work week.

Temperatures will hold steady in the mid 40s from this afternoon through tonight, with thick clouds and rain preventing much in the way of cooling. Expect periods of rain to continue, with another 0.25″ or so through morning for most of Tompkins County. Monday will see the showers gradually wind down as the day goes on, with perhaps a few breaks in the clouds around sunset. Highs will only be in the upper 40s. Monday night will see showers come to an end completely, and with clearing skies and northwest winds, temperatures will drop to around 32 in Ithaca and the lakeshore area, and upper 20s on the hilltops.

A shortwave will cross the Great Lakes on Tuesday, and skies will cloud up as the day goes on. Skies will be mostly cloudy by sunset, and some hit-or-miss rain showers may be in the area as the kids go trick-or-treating, so do keep an eye on the radar. With cold air advection from a high pressure system behind the shortwave to our northwest, temperatures will fall to around 30, and some snow showers are likely after midnight, though nothing is expected that would produce measurable amounts.

For the start of November, another lobe of high pressure begins to build from the southwest, but the initial flow will bring in air from the WNW. It will be a partly cloudy but brisk day with highs only in the mid 40s. A few lake effect rain showers will be possible, primarily north and west of Ithaca. Wednesday night will likely end the growing season for any remaining areas in Tompkins County, as near-clear skies allow lows to drop into the mid and upper 20s by morning.

Winds turns to the southwest Thursday as the high moves just south of Tompkins County, It will be mostly sunny and a little warmer, with highs around 50. Thursday night will be partly cloudy with lows in the lower 30s.

Friday will be warmer still as the high elongates over the Mid-Atlantic and Western Atlantic Ocean. A stronger southwest breeze will bring temperatures into the mid 50s with mostly sunny skies. It will be mostly clear Friday night with lows in the upper 30s.

Peering into next weekend, Saturday will be dry and on the mild side for November, with partly to mostly cloudy skies and highs in the upper 50s. Saturday night will be dry with lows in the low 40s. A new low pressure storm system is expected to approach from the northwest Sunday, and current models suggest this will head east around Ithaca’s latitude, so another shot of cold air is likely early next week. But for Sunday itself, expect some showers and mostly cloudy skies with highs in the low to mid 50s.

Graphics courtesy of the NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

Extended Outlook

Heading into Veteran’s Day. The medium-range pattern calls for an unseasonable warm ridge of air over the West Coast, and troughier, stormier conditions over the Mid-Atlantic and East Coast. This jet stream pattern is generally favorable for colder conditions in the Northeast, but one factor that may be keeping the models near-normal temperature-wise is that frequent periods of precipitation would keep overnight lows elevated, just as they are going to be tonight, due to moisture and thick cloud cover. Regardless, it looks like a stormy pattern as we head towards the middle of the month.

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