ITHACA, N.Y. — Raw, grey days like today may have you digging out the tea, soup pot and blankets, but we have at least one more warm spell on tap before Hallowe’en. As a low over the Northeast heads out to the ESE early in the week, incoming high pressure from the southwest will impel warmer air and stable, blue skies in Tompkins County, giving you an opportunity to get those last-minute spooky decorations out, and start mentally prepping for the long slog ahead that is winter.

Your Weekly Weather

It’s a rather grey Sunday, between low-level driven by northwest surface winds, and a large cloud mass aloft associated with the low pressure storm system that passed through Friday night and Saturday. That northwesterly flow is generating some gusty winds, with below normal temperatures, as well as lake effect rain showers as the cold air flows over the warmer waters of Lake Ontario and the heat flux generates instability and convective bands in the lower layers of the atmosphere.

This chilly, showery pattern will continue through most of the day Monday, as the low moves ESE into Atlantic Canada, and then out into the open waters of the Atlantic. There won’t be anything too hazardous in the next day or so. However, between the winds gusting up to 30 MPH from the northwest, the generally cloudy skies, and temperatures stuck in the mid to upper 40s, it won’t be a very pleasant time to be outdoors.

For the rest of your Sunday, expect gusty northwest winds and occasional light lake effect rain showers. Skies will be mostly cloudy and temperatures will continue to slowly recede through the 40s as cold air is driven into Tompkins County. Winds and showers continue tonight, though the winds should agitate the air enough, and the clouds be thick enough, to keep temperatures from falling much, with lows in the upper 30s. New rainfall amounts will be less than 0.10 inches through tomorrow morning, and no snow is expected.

Monday will see showers end in the morning and clearing later in the day as the low moves away. It will remain chilly, though, as the northwest winds gradually weaken. Highs will be in the lower 50s. Monday night will see calm air and partly to mostly cloudy skies. While generally favorable for frost, the remnant heat and moisture in surface soils should keep the urban area and the lakeshore from experiencing a hard frost, with lows in the upper 30s. Some patchy frost is possible in the outlying areas and hilltops, though a hard frost (a “killing” frost that ends vegetative growth) is unlikely.

High pressure moving from the Midwest into the Southern Appalachians will provide for a much more pleasant weather pattern as the week goes on. We’ll start to see the effects on Tuesday, as winds develop from the south. Skies will be mostly sunny, with highs in the mid 60s. Tuesday night will be mild, with partly cloudy skies and lows in the upper 40s.

High pressure continues into Wednesday, though it takes on more of a SW-NE elliptical shape as a developing storm system begins to press in on it from the Upper Midwest. The low’s counterclockwise circulation will enhance the high’s southwest winds over the region, and as a result, it will be quite warm Wednesday, with highs in the lower 70s and partly cloudy skies become mostly cloudy late in the day. Wednesday night will be mostly cloudy but rainless; the Midwest low is expected to skirt around the high to the north, with rain over Canada and the Adirondacks, but models showing it unlikely to make it this far south. Skies will begin to clear again as the low passes eastward near sunrise Thursday, and lows will be mild for late October, in the lower 50s.

Looking into Thursday, another low pressure storm system will begin winding up over the Great Plains in the lee of the Rockies, but it’ll take a couple of days to work its way northeastward. Thursday will be partly cloudy with highs in the low 70s. Thursday night will be partly to mostly cloudy, but staying dry as the low moves into the Western Great Lakes. Lows will be in the lower 50s.

Friday will see that low pass on the northern flank of the high and into Upstate New York, moving a little further south than Wednesday night’s system. In this case, some light rain is expected. Expect scattered showers and mostly cloudy skies with highs in the low 70s. Friday night will see the low’s cold front move in towards sunrise Saturday. Skies will be mostly cloudy, with scattered rain showers and lows in the low 50s.

Looking into next weekend, behind the low it will be cooler, but not as chilly as this weekend. Saturday will be partly sunny with highs near 60, and Saturday night will be partly cloudy with lows around 50. Sunday will see showers late, with highs in the upper 50s.

Graphics courtesy of the NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

Extended Outlook

I should preface this with some caution, as the models have been predicting a major cold snap for the state of November, but the timing has not been consistent, and has been pushed back at least a couple of days with successive runs. That said, the expectation is that a cold snap will develop with a jet stream trough over the Great Lakes and Northeast during early November, one that would likely end the growing season across all of Upstate. Off in model looney-land, they also show some s-word weather, but the rule of thumb is to not buy into that beyond a week, as atmospheric perturbations make synoptic-scale events a crapshoot at that range.

Anyway, to speak on what is likely, is a warm western United State with a jet stream ridge, and downstream trough. Temperatures will likely be below normal for early November (it looks to be about normal for Halloween, maybe a couple degrees below normal at worst), and precipitation amount is expected to be about normal in the medium-range.

For some thought exercise, the Northeast Regional Climate Center doesn’t really show any strong trends in the growing season since 1950, and a late start doesn’t necessarily mean an early end. For instance, this year was the sixth-latest start, with May 18th as the last freeze day, but with no freeze recorded yet, this growing season is already late in ending. 2023 in the top one-third of years, and only 10 of the past 72 years had a freeze of November 1st or later – overall, this year’s growing season looks likely to be around the normal of 167 days.

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