Heat Index Values will rise into the upper 90s for some with a few stronger thunderstorms late this afternoon.
High Heat Calls for Caution
Thursday will be an excessively hot and humid day across the Finger Lakes, especially considering it is September. While record highs are generally unlikely to fall today, it will be hot enough that some caution should be used if engaging in strenuous activities outdoors this afternoon.
The temperature will rise into the upper 80s and low 90s this afternoon. Extreme humidity for September, with dew points as high as the mid 70s, will push the heat index into the upper 90s.
The hottest areas will, as usual, be the northern Finger Lakes and in urban areas. The higher elevations further south will be a bit cooler, but still quite hot.
The heat will retreat for Friday, but will be back again on Saturday with more upper 80s and low 90s. It will not be as humid though, making today worse.
Late Day Thunderstorms
A cold front will approach the region later today. While the dynamics at play in the mid and upper levels of the atmosphere are marginal for thunderstorm development and severe weather, with all of the heat and humidity in place, some of those limitations will be overcome.
Scattered thunderstorms will especially start to develop after 4 or 5 pm. The thunderstorms will most likely not be widespread, so some areas may not see any rain today.
Those areas that do see a thunderstorm should be on the look out for frequent lightning, heavier downpours, and a few stronger wind gusts. Some storms could briefly become severe, but a widespread severe weather event is unlikely.
While the entire region is at threat for some storms, the chances for rain seem a bit higher across the southern and eastern parts of the Finger Lakes, including areas such as Hornell, Corning, Watkins Glen, Ithaca and Cortland.
Weekly Drought Report
Given the high heat and chance for thunderstorms today, I have skipped the full Drought Report this week.
With very little recent rain, there has been no improvement to the drought situation across the Finger Lakes. The US Drought Monitor has expanded the Level 3 (Extreme) Drought area across a vast majority of the Finger Lakes.
Water conservation continues to be important. It will take a long time for our region to reverse this drought, but in the short term, there is little hope that there will be even small improvements.