A few showers today, growing concern for Saturday

finger lakes weather forecast friday july 16 2021 showers front saturday severe thunderstorms flash flooding
After a few showers today, heavy rain will move through tonight, setting the stage for isolated severe weather and flooding late Saturday. [Photo by Gwen Moshier]

Heavy Rain and Severe Threats

A frontal boundary will gradually develop over the region today but lift north tonight as strong impulses of energy move along the front.

The weather today will be relatively quiet and benign. Clouds will continue to thicken across the region early this morning, and a few pop-up showers will be possible by the mid-morning hours.

These showers will continue to be possible throughout the day, especially across the southern half of the region. The rain will be on and off and should stay light during the daytime hours.

Temperatures will be in the 75 to 80 degree range. North of this boundary, dewpoints will be in the low to mid 60s in the northern Finger Lakes. Across the southern Finger Lakes, dewpoints will approach 70 degrees.

The evening hours should be mostly quiet, but by midnight, the front will begin to lift north as an area low pressure approaches from the west. Rain will increase in coverage and intensity, with the best chance for locally heavy downpours setting up west of I-390 and along and north of I-90. Locally over an inch of rain may fall.

The rain may linger along the shore of Lake Ontario into the midday hours Saturday. Meanwhile, some sunshine will try to break through further south and east. This will set the stage for afternoon and evening thunderstorms.

The setup later Saturday afternoon, in particular, is interesting. Several models are showing a window for severe weather over a relatively small, localized area. The exact location of this alignment has varied from model run to model run, but the focus so far seems to be in the area including Elmira, Ithaca, Cortland, Binghamton, and Norwich.

If everything manages to come together in a way similar to what these models show, there will be multiple hazards to consider. Damaging winds, flash flooding, and tornadoes would be possible. There is a chance for some of that to be significant, especially the flash flooding.

Flash flooding will also be a growing concern further west, where additional thunderstorms will also be ongoing. If enough rain falls tonight and early Saturday, additional thunderstorms in the western Southern Tier Saturday afternoon could provoke additional flooding.

Lastly, these same storms will move east and could exacerbate any problems caused by the first round of storms potentially in the southeastern Finger Lakes.

Isolated rainfall amounts of 3-5 inches are not totally out of the question. This would be enough to cause flash flooding anywhere in the region, but if that amount of rain fell in the wrong spot, significant, dangerous flash flooding would be possible.

Now, there are a lot of factors at play here, which means there are lots of ways for the severe weather and flash flood potentials to NOT be met. However, it will be important to stay aware tomorrow during the late afternoon and evening across the southern half of the Finger Lakes, and in the southeastern Finger Lakes in particular.

I will have an update Saturday morning.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast friday july 16 2021
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.

Looking Ahead

Confidence has increased greatly that this system will pack its bags and depart Saturday night. This should leave us with a couple of days of quiet weather starting Sunday.

There will likely still be some clouds lingering in the southeastern Finger Lakes Sunday morning, but sunshine will be the primary weather for Sunday. Some of the sunshine will be filtered by some thin clouds from time to time.

High temperatures on Sunday will be in the upper 70s to around 80 degrees. Dewpoints will make a noticeable dip into the upper 50s and low 60s.

Sunshine will mix with afternoon fair-weather clouds on Monday. One or two stray afternoon showers will be possible, but most areas will stay dry. Temperature and dewpoints will get a slight boost, with highs in the low and mid 80s and dewpoints in the low to mid 60s.

There will be a better chance for showers and storms on Tuesday, especially late in the day as a cold front drops down from the south. An initial analysis of the setup does not look overly favorable for severe weather, but it will be something to watch for.

After a few lingering showers Wednesday morning, there is a decent chance that the rest of next week remains mostly dry. Temperatures will settle into a cooler pattern, with daily highs in the low and mid 70s.

More Information:

» Finger Lakes Weather Radar

» Finger Lakes Weather Radar

» Zip Code Forecasts

» Your Forecast
finger lakes weather 7-day forecast friday july 16 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 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.