Cold front brings some late day storms

finger lakes weather forecast tuesday july 20 2021 showers thunderstorms wildfire smoke
After a day of hazy skies from wildfire smoke, scattered thunderstorms will develop ahead of a cold front. [Photo by Meteorologist Drew Montreuil]

Cold Front

Much of today will be quiet but a late-day cold front will bring scattered thunderstorms to the area.

Thick wildfire smoke remains in place across the region this morning. This smoke is widespread across the northern United States and southern Canada and originates from several sources. Hazy skies will persist throughout the day.

The smokey haze will start to mix with fair weather clouds later this morning and through the afternoon. Thunderstorms will develop over Canada this afternoon and drop southeast toward Lake Ontario.

finger lakes weather tuesday july 20 2021 forecast update severe thunderstorm watch
All but the Southern Tier counties of the Finger Lakes region are included in the severe thunderstorm watch. Radar from 3:12 PM. Click to enlarge.
A Severe Thunderstorm Watch for most of the region until 11 PM.

Thunderstorms over Canada are well developed. Most of the current activity will move eastward and stay out of the Finger Lakes. As the front drops south, so too will other storms. Plus, additional development over our region is possible ahead of the main lines.

Damaging winds and frequent lightning will be the primary threat, but some hail and localized flooding will also be possible.

Lake Ontario will likely disrupt the storms, causing the line to jump forward and redevelop over the Finger Lakes. From there, the line will quickly move to the southeast.

There is some question as to the timing of this redevelopment of storms over our region. The storms could start to fire up as soon as 5 PM or wait until closer to 8 PM. Anytime in that window, be ready for rapidly changing conditions.

With the storms likely to come at the tail end of the day, there will still be some fuel left from the daytime heating for the storms to work with. Winds aloft are marginally supportive of storm organization, so a couple localized cases of strong winds or hail are not out of the question.

The flooding threat should be reduced by the quick-moving nature of the storms and an atmosphere less primed for torrential downpours. Still, a quick half-inch or more could fall and lead to some minor water issues.

An additional round of weaker showers and thunderstorms will be possible after midnight, and then again in the early morning hours Wednesday. Severe weather and flooding are not expected from these, but there could be a fair bit of lightning at times.

Temperatures today will be on the warm side with highs in the low and mid 80s. Dewpoints will be muggy, residing around 70 degrees most of the day.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast tuesday july 20 2021
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.

Behind the Front

After showers clear out Wednesday morning, the afternoon should see an increase in sunshine. The front should sweep most of the smoke out of the atmosphere, giving us some blue skies to enjoy before the sun sets.

Morning lows on Wednesday will be in the low and mid 60s. Winds will pick up from the northwest by the afternoon with gusts reaching 30 mph. This will help hold temperatures to the low and mid 70s for daytime highs.

Overnight temperatures will back into the mid and upper 50s Wednesday night, with highs Thursday again sticking to the mid 70s.

The chances for rain on Thursday have greatly diminished. Sunshine will mix with fair weather clouds without any precipitation expected. Dewpoints will be comfortably low in the low 50s or even upper 40s.

The weather is a bit less certain on Friday when a few showers may dot the region. Overall, though, the chances for rain look low. Even if it does rain, whatever falls should be light and brief. Highs Friday will again stick to the lower half of the 70s.

Pleasant weather will persist into Saturday with a mix of sun and clouds. Highs will be a bit warmer, topping out around 80 degrees thanks to some light south winds.

The best chance for rain after tonight will come on Sunday as an area of rain and thunder move through the region. The details on this, including the timing, are still too far in advance to be sure of.

Likewise, the forecast next week is uncertain in the details. There will likely be rain at some point, but there should be several dry or mostly dry days as well. Temperatures next week look a bit warmer than this week, but not excessively so.

More Information:

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finger lakes weather 7-day forecast tuesday july 20 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.

4 Responses

  1. Janet Steiner

    The sun in the later part of Monday was a bright orange. Do you know why?

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      It was because of the wildfire smoke.

  2. David

    Is it unhealthy to jog while the smoke is over our area? Should people forgo exercising outside?

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Only people who are especially sensitive to pollutants may have some slight effects. Most of the smoke is around 10,000 feet up. I myself will be going for a run today.