Smokey skies return to the Finger Lakes

finger lakes weather forecast thursday july 22 2021 sun clouds wildfire smoke
Wildfire smoke will build throughout the day but will dissipate by tomorrow. Widespread rain is not expected until Saturday night. [Photo by Meteorologist Drew Montreuil]

Northwesterly Flow

An area of high pressure resides over the Upper Great Lakes, keeping a northwesterly flow over the Finger Lakes.

Riding along this northwesterly flow is a belt of clouds and another plume of wildfire smoke from Canada.

The smoke is modeled to get thicker as the day goes on and should be similar to conditions earlier this week by the afternoon. One key difference will be that the smoke should stay primarily elevated, keeping surface visibility high and air quality clean.

Besides the smoke, it will be a quiet day. The sun will mix with the aforementioned cloudiness at times but no precipitation will fall.

The northwest winds will blow at 5-10 mph with gusts no higher than 20 mph, which is a bit lighter than yesterday. Cool, dry air will remain in place with highs in the low and mid 70s and dewpoints remaining in the 50s.

Partly cloudy skies will persist overnight, and an isolated shower cannot totally be ruled out as a subtle piece of energy passes through.

By Friday morning, skies should be mostly clear, and the wildfire smoke plume will have moved on. Blue skies will mix with fair weather clouds by the mid to late morning, and an additional widely isolated shower or two will be possible.

Northwest winds will persist, holding temperatures to the low and mid 70s for one final day.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast thursday july 22 2021
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.

Weekend Weather

Winds will turn around to the south-southeast Friday night as the high pressure takes up residence off the Mid-Atlantic coast and low pressure slides across southern Canada.

The low will remain far enough away on Saturday that we should see another dry day with sunshine mixing with clouds. It is unclear at this time whether any additional wildfire smoke will move into the region.

Temperatures will get a slight boost from the wind shift with highs in the low 80s. Dewpoints will not rise yet though, remaining comfortably in the 50s throughout the day.

The dewpoint will begin to rise Saturday night, however. Around or after midnight, an area of rain and thunderstorms will move in from the northwest. Given the time of day, severe weather will not be an issue, though some locally heavy rain will be possible.

Severe weather could become more of a concern later Sunday as additional thunderstorms develop. There are uncertainties, however, and much of the activity could stay to the south and east. This will be something to watch over the next couple days.

Next week will start off with two warm, dry days Monday and Tuesday. Monday will have more clouds and a stray shower cannot be totally ruled out. Tuesday will be sunny. Highs both days should reach into the mid 80s.

A cold front is expected sometime on Wednesday. Showers and storms will be possible, though any further details would be nothing more than speculation this far in advance.

More Information:

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finger lakes weather 7-day forecast thursday july 22 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.