Thunderstorms with torrential downpours likely today

finger lakes weather forecast thursday july 8 2021 heavy rain tropical storm elsa
The stormy pattern of this week will culminate today before a brief break early this weekend. More stormy weather is possible next week. [Photo by Meteorologist Drew Montreuil]

Complex Pattern

A trio of weather features are converging on the Northeastern United States today and will result in widespread rain and thunderstorms, including in the Finger Lakes region.

A stalled-out frontal boundary remains draped from west to east right through the middle of the Finger Lakes. To the west, a strong disturbance in riding along this front. To the south, Tropical Storm Elsa is churning through the Carolinas.

The approaching disturbance is beginning to interact with Elsa, leading to an increase in atmospheric moisture through the Mid-Atlantic. This higher moisture air will work into our region as well by the late morning and afternoon.

There are just a few showers dotting the area early this morning, but the radar will fill in during the late morning and afternoon hours. Numerous areas of rain and thundery downpours are likely. A few clusters of more organized storms are also possible, thanks to some modest support from winds aloft.

This could lead to a few scattered instances of damaging winds this afternoon. Thunderstorms will also tap into the moisture and produce torrential downpours. If an area sees multiple of these downpours, flash flooding could become a concern.

With so many different factors at play today, there are some uncertainties in the details. These include where a corridor of heaviest thunderstorms, and thus the highest flood potential, will set up, and whether breaks of sunshine this morning will lead to more support for strong afternoon thunderstorms.

The rain and thunderstorms should become more scattered this evening but will linger through the overnight. Areas of dense fog will also be possible.

Temperatures today will reach the mid and upper 70s and will drop back into the 60s tonight. It will remain very humid right into early Friday.

Friday still has some uncertainty as well but should overall be a much lower impact day. The main question will be if some afternoon showers and storms will bubble up before dry air starts to filter into the region. Right now, at least a few showers should be expected. These could linger into the evening hours.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast thursday july 8 2021
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.

Brief Break, then Back at It

Dry air will take over for Saturday with gentle north winds as Elsa races northeast off the New England coast.

Skies will be a mix of sun and clouds. While a stray shower cannot be ruled out, most areas will stay dry. Those that do see rain will only see a brief shower.

Temperatures will remain in the mid 70s, but dewpoints will drop comfortably into the 50s.

Winds will turn back to a southerly flow on Sunday and dewpoints will creep back into the 60s and temperatures will rise to near 80.

The forecast for Sunday is more uncertain than usual. As the warmer, more humid air moves in, rain will also try to move in from the south. The models are split on whether it will reach the Finger Lakes during the day Sunday, though more are joining the rainy camp. Some models that do show rain show potentially heavy amounts into Sunday night.

Early next week, we will find ourselves right back in the same type of pattern as the last two weeks. Temperatures will be warm, the humidity high, and daily showers and thunderstorms will be possible.

At this time, every day next week looks to at least have a chance for afternoon showers and storms. That does not mean it will rain everywhere every day, though.

We can only persist in this pattern for so long before flooding concerns become elevated. Depending on how today and Sunday unfold, additional downpours next week could become problematic. Stay tuned.

More Information:

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finger lakes weather 7-day forecast thursday july 8 2021
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected.

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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.