Weather: Rainy and windy travel before Thanksgiving
ITHACA, N.Y. — Your travel plans for the Thanksgiving holiday are looking rainy, windy and a bit slippery, but fortunately, some of the more dire forecasts for heavy snow and major disruptions in the latest operating models have been significantly pushed back. Turkey Day is expected to be calm and cool, with another round of stormy weather possible next weekend.
A few lake-shaped snow showers are expected to fall across parts of the CNY this afternoon as a cold front moves in. A low pressure system moving in mid-week will turn warmer as rain begins to fall as a wintry mix on Tuesday. Before it becomes rainy Tuesday. a night. pic.twitter.com/XVUfccucb9
– NWS Binghamton (@NWSBinghamton) November 19, 2023
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It’s somewhat cloudy near the weekend as a weak cold front hangs southeastward across upstate New York, bringing up some lake effect snow and downwind showers on Lake Ontario. Temperatures will gradually cool as the day goes on, with temperatures reaching the upper 30s in much of Tompkins County at sunset. While there will be bands of rain and snow showers in the area, the bulk of the precipitation will stay north of Tompkins County, so only light amounts of rain are expected (and it’s too warm for snow to stick around now). Lake effect bands will weaken as northwest winds blow tonight, leaving dry if mostly cloudy conditions for the Ithaca area, with lows in the upper 20s.
Monday will provide some brief calm as the Canadian high pressure bubble moves southeastward across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Skies will be partly to mostly sunny, but cold, rising air will keep temperatures below normal with highs reaching 40 degrees. Monday night will see mostly cloudy skies, and winds begin to turn light from the southeast as the next storm system approaches. Lows will be in the mid 20s.
Now, I want to pay more attention to the storm system coming out of the Midwest, because there’s been some news coverage sounding the alarm. Some forecast models on Friday and Saturday indicated it could become a major snow event, with the US GFS favoring a cooler scenario with a major event, while the European model and most others favored warmer outcomes. There was also concern about major lake-impact snow bands developing Wednesday into Friday, after the storm passes.
However, more recent runs have coalesced around a warmer solution, which includes a core of low lift across upstate New York and the preservation of mixed/frozen precipitation well north of most areas of New York State. Additionally, confidence about a major lake snow event occurring after the storm has decreased. That’s not to say we’re completely “out of the woods,” but the chance of a major holiday travel disruption is much lower than it was 24 hours ago.
One thing to note is that, with temperatures in the mid to upper 20s Tuesday morning as the first batches of rain fall from the storm as it climbs into Lake Erie, there will be a few hours of light rain with patchy precipitation. So be careful during your morning commute on Tuesday, because there could be a transition from snow, to sleet or sleet, and then just cold rain, and the roads could be slippery. Also, winds will pick up to 30-35 mph Tuesday evening, so there may be a few branches or early Christmas decorations on the roads.
But otherwise, as the low passes north of Ithaca, if not a little, a gusty south breeze and periods of moderate rain are currently expected, with high temperatures around 40. Tuesday night will see periods of light to moderate rain with strong south winds and high temperatures. To the mid 40s at sunrise.
Looking ahead to Wednesday, winds will shift to a brisk northwesterly in the late afternoon as the cold front of the low passes through, but rain will taper off as the day goes on, with only some scattered showers falling in the afternoon. Skies will be overcast with high temperatures in the mid to upper 40s. Wednesday night will see fresh northwesterly winds and partly cloudy skies with temperatures dropping to around 30.
Widespread and somewhat weak high pressure from the southwest takes over on Thanksgiving Day on Thursday. The weather will be partly cloudy with highs in the lower 40s and clockwise northwesterly winds. Thursday night will be partly cloudy with lows in the upper 20s.
Friday looks to be another quiet day as high pressure redirects toward the Midwest but maintains its hold over Tompkins County. Highs will be in the lower 40s under partly cloudy skies. Friday night skies will be mostly cloudy with lows around 30.
Models indicate a coastal low could bring liquid and freezing rain Saturday night into Sunday, but it’s too early to provide details. At this point, it looks like highs around 40 on Saturday and Sunday, with lows in the upper 20s.
Looking toward the end of November and beginning of December, the large-scale pattern favors a broad trough in the jet stream that could lead to below-normal temperatures for almost the entire lower 48 region except for the tips of coastal California and southern Florida. . At least Alaska will enjoy an unnaturally warm ridge upstream. On the precipitation side, a broad trough like this tends to keep storms over the southeastern United States with the prevailing storm track shifted further south than usual. Precipitation in Tompkins County is expected to be close to normal for this period – and arguably, given the expected colder than normal conditions, the chances of snow will be a little high.