Stormy week unfolding with some strong storms possible

finger lakes weather forecast tuesday august 25 2020 severe thunderstorms thursday
Strong to severe thunderstorms will be possible throughout the week, but Thursday is the day of greatest concern. [Photo by Meteorologist Drew Montreuil]

Tuesday-Wednesday Storm Threat

A late-season increase in severe weather potential is unfolding this week as a frontal boundary dances back and forth across our region.

Click to enlarge.

This front will make its first pass through the region during the midday hours. This will give us a small window of opportunity for some storms today, mainly in the southeastern quadrant of the region.

Scattered showers and a few storms will develop during the late morning hours across the region and will quickly move off to the southeast. As they do so, they will strengthen and could become strong as they exit the region.

Areas such as Cortland, Ithaca, and Owego have the best chance for a stronger storm, but this chance remains small and on par with a Level 1- Isolated threat. Hail and strong winds are the primary threats.

The afternoon will clear out with increasing sunshine, decreasing humidity, and gusty northwest winds. Temperatures will top out around 80 just before the front rolls through, then settle in the upper 70s for most of the afternoon.

A stray shower cannot be ruled out tonight, and Wednesday will likely start out with low clouds and possibly some fog. Some sunshine should develop for the afternoon. Northwest winds will continue to be gusty, helping to keep temperatures in the mid 70s.

Wednesday evening, the front will start to push back, and showers and storms will be possible over the western portions of the region. These storms should stay near and west of I-390 but will again have a Level 1- Isolated risk for wind and hail.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast tuesday august 25 2020
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.

Threat Peaks Thursday

The front will continue northeast Wednesday night, spreading more showers and storms across the region.

The big question for Thursday will be how far does the front make it before it starts to retreat south?

The current trend has been for the front to clear the region, opening us up to heat and humidity early Thursday. Temperatures could push above 85 degrees with very muggy dewpoints approaching 70 degrees.

This would give thunderstorms plenty of fuel to work with. The mid and upper levels of the atmosphere also look supportive of severe storms with strong winds and a favorable jet stream position.

The Storm Prediction Center has our region outlined in their Level 2 risk zone, but their discussion says we will probably be upgraded to Level 3 with tomorrow’s update. We have also been designated as an area prone for significant severe weather, the first such designation we have had this year.

Everything will come down to the position of the front and what sunshine we can get early Thursday, but the pieces are set, and this situation bears close watching over the next 48 hours.

The front will be to our south on Friday, giving us a day similar to Wednesday, but with highs sticking in the low 80s. Once again, the front will move back north late, bringing some showers and storms late in the day.

Saturday will bring one final chance for thunderstorms, but it is too early to tell how great the chance is or what severe threat there may be.

Cool air will move in for Sunday and Monday with highs near or just above 70 degrees.

» Information on Tropical Storms Marco & Laura

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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. When not working or playing with the boys, he is probably out for a run through the countryside.

2 Responses

  1. Marty Newhart

    Hi Drew, I’ve been wondering why Laura has been expected to develop into a major hurricane due to high water temp in the Gulf when Marco also traveled over the Gulf & yet was nothing more than a minor Tropical Storm ?? Was it just the difference in distance traveled over the Gulf by the two ?? Thank you

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Hi Marty! Be sure to check the link at the end of this post for my discussion last night!

      Marco did briefly get to hurricane strength over the southern Gulf, but there were strong southwest winds in the central and northern Gulf that literally ripped Marco apart by disrupting its circulation. That won’t be the case with Laura, so the strengthening should take place unabated.