Tuesday a washout with soaking, heavy rain

finger lakes weather forecast tuesday october 26 2021 heavy rain
Rain will fall throughout the day with the heaviest coming this afternoon. Some areas could see two inches or more.

Coastal Low

A strong storm system is developing just off the coasts of Long Island and New Jersey and will move little today.

Heavy rain has already spread inland through the eastern half of New York State while lighter rain is falling across much of the Finger Lakes region. Our rain is expanding in coverage early this morning as a second low crosses Pennsylvania.

For the first half of the morning, the rain should remain mostly light in our region and some areas will see breaks in the precipitation. Later this morning, the two lows will merge and the heavy rain will start to spread northwestward.

Heavy rain will move in from the east and southeast during the midday hours and continue for much of the afternoon. Areas along and west of I-390 should stay out of the heaviest rain, but much of the region will get a soaking.

For areas in and around Cortland and Tioga counties, some flash flooding will be possible thanks to a lower tolerance for rainfall in these areas. Three-hour totals could approach or exceed an inch, which is close to the rainfall limit before flooding begins. Tioga County is currently under a flash flood watch from the National Weather Service. Cortland County is not.

Widespread rain totals over an inch are likely and several areas will see close to or over two inches. The location of two-inch rain amounts will depend on how localized downpours develop but are especially likely near and east of Seneca Lake and south of I-90. Locally higher amounts are not out of the question.

Be sure to check your drains for clogging from fallen leaves.

The rain will drop in intensity by the evening and break up into scattered showers overnight. By dawn Wednesday, the area should be clear of anything but a stray lingering shower.

Temperatures will mostly hold steady today in the low and mid 50s. The afternoon will likely lose a degree or two compared to the morning. Areas along and west of I-390 will hold in the upper 40s.

Overnight, temperatures will gradually become uniform across the region with almost all areas in the mid 40s.

Winds today will be strongest west of Seneca Lake, where a northwest wind will blow at 10-15 mph. Further east, the wind will be more northerly with speeds near or under 10 mph. Top gusts region-wide should stay under 30 mph.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast tuesday october 26 2021
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.

A Short Break

The cloud cover behind this system on Wednesday is a bit uncertain, and some areas will probably end up cloudier than others tomorrow.

Early on, most areas should see clouds with some areas of fog and perhaps a little drizzle. Dry air will move in and should erode the low clouds away, but some thin clouds high in the atmosphere may hold on over the eastern half of the region.

These clouds will probably not totally block out the sun, but clear blue skies will be more likely further west.

North winds will blow at 10-15 mph with top gusts again remaining under 30 mph. Temperatures will be in the mid 50s all throughout the region.

Clear skies Wednesday night will allow temperatures to drop to their low point for the week. Widespread 30s are likely, with immediate lakeshore areas staying near 40. A few pockets will drop to or below 35 degrees, leading to the possibility of some patchy frost.

Thursday looks sunny and warmer with just a few thin clouds from time to time. Highs will top out near or slightly above 60 degrees.

The next weather system will arrive on Friday. The timing of the rain is somewhat uncertain at this point, but will most likely be during the latter half of the day. Temperatures may vary quite a bit with mid 50s along and north of I-90 ranging to mid 40s in the western Southern Tier.

Rain will fall through Friday night with showers on and off Saturday. The rain will become more scattered and end on Sunday. Temperatures should remain in the 50s both days.

Monday looks dry but a cold front will move through on Tuesday. This front should push temperatures down further for early November with highs in the 40s becoming commonplace.

More Information:

» Finger Lakes Weather Radar

» Finger Lakes Weather Radar

» Zip Code Forecasts

» Your Forecast
finger lakes weather 7-day forecast tuesday october 26 2021
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected.

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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.

3 Responses

  1. Zeb

    So what happened to this weather system? All the weather forecasters seemed so non-chalant in this area about the forecast that there MIGHT be some flash flooding. NOW it’s an emergency in Ithaca. I would have been more prepare to help with trail closures if more of a warning was put out. I know weather can change at a moments notice but with all the current models there should have been more WARNING earlier.

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Hi Zeb. I can understand where you are coming from. Hopefully I can help you understand a bit more. Weather models are simply computer projections of what might happen. They have never been perfect. There are a variety of models, each with strengths and weaknesses that need to be weighed making a forecast. The more intense and unique the weather is, the less reliable they become. Meteorology is a *science*. That means making a hypothesis (forecast) and testing it (comparing to what happens). No science in any field makes perfect hypotheses every time. This storm managed to put out more rain than expected. That took things from “maybe some localized flooding” to breaking the threshold of what our region could handle. Furthermore, flash flood forecasting is highly reliant on flash flood guidance…which is yet another model that is again imperfect, especially in areas of steep terrain and urban areas. And there is no way the models can accout for clogged storm drain from leaves, which is something I specifically mentioned this morning. If the flash flood guidance overestimated how much rain we could take based on those factors, and the storm over performed all estimates, it’s a terrible convergence that leads to a worst case scenario that no one is ready for. This is a fact of science, be it floods, tornadoes, pandemics, or economics. Science is by its nature imperfect. Most meteorologists care deeply about how the weather impacts people and try their utmost to balance forecasting, alerting the public, and not over warning when it does not appear to be necessary. 98 times out of 100 it works fine and everyone goes about their life without a second thought to the work and dedication that goes into the science. For the other 2 times, we learn. We adapt our expectations. And hopefully next time it all works out better.

      • Zeb

        Thanks Drew for the informative response and appreciate all that you do. I find your forecasting to be top notch.
        I would also add that maybe soils being super saturated along with less transpiration going on this time of year could have added to the increase in water available. Yes municipalities/cities need to also recognize and prepare for more extreme events due to climate change by reducing the concrete jungle and installing more “green” infrastructure particularly in new developments. All the best