Soaking rain for the Finger Lakes—How much will it help the drought?

finger lakes weather forecast tuesday september 29 2020 soaking rain
A soaking rain will put a dent in our rainfall deficits, but how much of one? [Photo by Meteorologist Drew Montreuil]

Widespread, Steady Rainfall

An area of low pressure will develop along a slow moving cold front, bringing a soaking rain to the Finger Lakes today and especially tonight.

As of 7 AM, the front is a little over halfway through the Finger Lakes, with temperatures to the west in the mid 50s and temperatures dropping through the 60s in the east.

Along and behind the front, rain is falling. This front extends south through the Appalachians and to the Gulf of Mexico. A large dip in the jet stream is behind the front, and some energy is rounding the base of that dip and will start to work its way north today. As this happens, low pressure will develop along the front and lift north.

The front will be slow to make progress eastward, keeping on and off showers in our area through the morning and afternoon. The rain will become more widespread and heavier late this afternoon and into the evening and will continue through the nighttime hours.

finger lakes weather 180 day rainfall deficit september 28 2020
This map shows the rainfall deficits over the last 180 days. Bright orange areas are over 8 inches below average. Click to enlarge. [Map generated at]
By the time the rain tapers off Wednesday morning, most of the Finger Lakes should have received over an inch of rain. There is a good chance many areas will see over an inch and a half, and a few areas will see upwards of two inches of rain.

This is a much needed, steady rainfall that will certainly help with the drought conditions in portions of the region. Rainfall deficits over the last 180 days are between 2-6 inches for most of the region, but there are pockets where the deficit is over 8 inches.

Knocking 1-2 inches off those deficits will put a dent in the drought, and for areas that have not been hit as hard, may completely erase the deficit. For most, though, it will be just that, a dent in the drought, not a complete fix.

Hopefully, as fall continues to progress and the jet stream strengthens and moves south in its seasonal shift, several more steady rain events will occur.

Beyond Today’s Rain

A much cooler pattern will set up behind the front, lasting the rest of this week and through the weekend.

A small low will pass to our northwest late tomorrow. Aided by Lake Erie, this low will produce some showers northwest of Geneva later in the afternoon, into Wednesday night and early Thursday. The rest of the area should see clouds with a few breaks of sun and possibly a stray shower.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast tuesday september 29 2020
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.

High temperatures on Wednesday will be in the low 60s with gusty southwest winds. Many areas will gust over 30 mph, but the Buffalo to Rochester corridor could gust as high as 45 mph.

The wind will be blustery, but not as strong on Thursday. Some sun will shine between clouds with highs in the upper 50s and low 60s.

Rain will return for Friday as another low moves by. This rain should not be as heavy or long lasting as today, with most areas seeing no more than a quarter inch.

With the clouds and rain, highs Friday will be in the mid and upper 50s. Clouds and showers will linger Friday night, keeping temperatures in the 40s.

Northwest winds on Saturday will keep a few showers lingering across the region with highs in the low and mid 50s.

Saturday night has the potential to be cold, but lake effect clouds may insulate most areas east of Canandaigua and Keuka Lakes. Any areas that see clearing will have the potential for frost.

Some sun may try to come out on Sunday, but there could also be a few late showers. Highs will remain stuck in the mid and upper 50s.

Another potent storm system should form early next week. If we get lucky, it could mean another soaking rain to further help cut our rainfall deficits. Temperatures may briefly return to the 60s behind this system, but overall, cool weather should remain in place.

Stay Updated With Email Alerts

Get the latest forecasts delivered to your inbox automatically. This is the best way to ensure you are always seeing the newest information. Subscribing is easy, free, and secure.

finger lakes weather email weather forecast updates
Get emailed with the latest weather information from Finger Lakes Weather! Click for more details.

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. Matthew Kemak

    About a month ago, the Amish in Lapeer were digging up footers for a new grain barn. 10 feet down with a backhoe and it was bone dry, dust. That was just over the tree line to the south of my home. The rain kept going to our north, or south. In 2014 our first sign of water conservation was murky water, this year, we had to prime the well twice, after pulling out 30-35 gallons for our animals. So now we are hauling a 275 gallon tank on the back of our truck to get us through, filling it up weekly at another location. *note* our well is 30 ft deep, but in 11 years of ownership, we’ve only had to conserve twice… 2014 and now.

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Wow, sorry to hear all that Matthew. Thanks for sharing!