Heat ends with a few late storms Wednesday

finger lakes weather forecast wednesday august 29 2018 heat advisory thunderstorms cold front
After another hot afternoon, a cold front will bring a few thunderstorms to the Finger Lakes late in the day with much cooler temperatures for Thursday. {Photo by Ted Marks]

Very Hot, Then Stormy

Another hot and humid afternoon will fry the Finger Lakes while also setting the stage for a few late day thunderstorms.

High pressure just off the coast of North Carolina continues to feed hot and humid air into the Finger Lakes while also keeping more active weather locked away over the Upper Great Lakes. This active weather is being spurred on by an area of low pressure passing into southeastern Canada and the cold front it is dragging to the south.

For the morning and early afternoon hours, high pressure will continue to dominate our weather with nearly identical conditions to yesterday. Temperatures at 7 am are already well into the 70s with a few places approaching 80 degrees even this early in the morning. Dewpoints range from the upper 60s to the low 70s where they will remain much of today.

Mostly sunny skies and south winds will quickly push temperatures into the 80s this morning with some places approaching 90 degrees as early as the noon hour. Heat index values will again approach 100 degrees during the mid afternoon.

Cumulus clouds will start to grow during the early afternoon, becoming towering clouds by the mid and late afternoon. Scattered thunderstorms will start to develop as early as 3 or 4 pm. Multiple small broken line segments are possible during the late afternoon and early evening hours before the loss of daytime heating leads to storm dissipation after 9 pm.

While there will be a lot of energy and moisture for the storms to work with and modest winds aloft, the presence of warm air in the mid-layers of the atmosphere will put a cap on the severe potential. I am most concerned about frequent and dangerous lightning with these storms, with a secondary, lesser concern for some locally strong wind gusts and very heavy rain. Flash flooding should be limited to a little poor drainage ponding of water.

Not all areas will see thunderstorms later, but a fair number of areas should at least see some rain. There is still some uncertainty regarding how robust the activity can get later today.

A Complete Turnaround

Thursday will feel like a completely different season behind the cold front.

Winds will swing around to the north overnight as the cold front passes through. Some additional showers will likely accompany the front overnight and into the first part of Thursday morning.

These winds will sweep away the heat and humidity and replace it with a rather fall-like feel.

Temperatures on Thursday will be warmest across the Southern Tier where morning highs in the low and mid 70s are possible. Further north, the same areas that will see heat index values near 100 degrees today will most likely see high temperatures in the upper 60s on Thursday. That is a swing of 30 degrees in the “feels-like” temperature!

As is often the case with a north wind behind low pressure, the clouds may be hard to clear out from the region. The chances for sun will be greatest late in the afternoon, but much of the day will likely remain cloudy.

Winds will change again by Friday, returning to a more southerly flow. Clouds will mix with a few sunny breaks and temperatures will be close to normal in the mid and upper 70s.

A couple scattered showers may be possible on Saturday with a slightly better chance for some rain on Sunday. Labor Day on Monday looks warm with highs into the 80s with a couple afternoon showers or storms.

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Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
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Meteorologist Drew Montreuil has been forecasting the weather in the Finger Lakes region since 2006 and has degrees in meteorology from SUNY Oswego (B.S. with Honors) and Cornell (M.S.). When not forecasting, he can be found working at the local library, making goat milk soap, running until his legs burn, or playing with his three young boys.