Mild Thursday ahead of weak cold front

finger lakes weather forecast thursday march 26 2020 sun clouds rain cold front
Sunshine this morning will give way to afternoon clouds and late days showers as a cold front moves through the region. [Photo by Gwen Moshier]

Late Showers

Today is starting off with a mix of sun and clouds as an area of high pressure sits to our east.

Skies should trend sunnier this morning, but will then reverse course and cloud up for the afternoon. The clouds will be ahead of an approaching cold front that will arrive early this evening.

South winds ahead of the front, and on the backside of the high pressure system, will team up with the sunshine to bring us the warmest day of the week.

Most areas should get to about 60 degrees today, while areas north and west of a Dansville-Penn Yan-Geneva line should reach the low 60s. A few hilltops may stop just shy of 60 degrees, especially in Central New York.

A band of rain showers will drop southeast from Lake Ontario late this afternoon. Most areas should see some of this rain, though some parts of the Southern Tier may miss out. Showers will then focus further south as the evening turns into the overnight.

All the precipitation should move south into Pennsylvania by dawn Friday with most areas seeing one or two-tenths of an inch of rainfall.

Temperatures will drop back into the mid 30s for Friday morning. Early clouds will move out, leaving most of the day bright and sunny. A north wind will keep temperatures cooler behind the cold front, but most areas should still reach or exceed 50 degrees.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast thursday march 26 2020
Click to enlarge.

Weekend Weather System

A more potent weather system will take aim at the region for the weekend.

The first phase of this system will be an approaching warm front on Saturday. The warm air will struggle to make northward progress, and the timing of the onset of rain in our region continues to be an uncertain detail.

Most likely, the morning will be cloudy but primarily dry. Temperatures will rise from morning lows in the low 30s to midday highs in the general vicinity of 50 degrees.

As precipitation moves in, it may not reach the ground at first. This evaporation will cool temperatures back into the 40s. Rain will become increasingly likely the later in the afternoon it gets.

Once the rain arrives, we should expect several hours of steady rain. The rain may not fully clear the Finger Lakes until well after midnight Saturday night. Rainfall amounts will be between one-third and two-thirds of an inch. A rumble of thunder or two may also be possible.

As the rain moves out, the wind will move in. South-southeast gusts will exceed 35 mph during the latter half of Saturday night and into Sunday morning. Higher elevations will see the strongest gusts. A few gusts could eclipse 45 mph.

Temperatures will rise back through the 40s Saturday night and will shoot upward Sunday morning.

How warm it gets Sunday will depend on how much rain is falling, whether any sun comes out, and how quickly the cold front presses east through the region.

Right now, all three factors look at least marginally favorable for warmer temperatures, which could mean highs of 65-70 degrees on Sunday for some areas. My forecast right now is a bit more conservative, with most areas in the low 60s.

As the cold front moves through late in the afternoon, showers and some thunderstorms should be expected.

Winds will diminish significantly behind the front for Sunday night, and cooler weather will return for most of next week.

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Meteorologist Drew Montreuil
Follow Meteorologist Drew Montreuil:
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.). Drew and his wife have four young boys and also run a goat milk soap business, Ye Olde Goat Cart. When not working or playing with the boys, he is probably out for a run through the countryside.