Atmosphere turns interesting…and hot

finger lakes weather forecast thursday may 12 2022 sun clouds wildfire smoke hot
Temperatures will rise well into the 80s today, but that is not why the sky is looking a bit hazy. [Photo by Meteorologist Drew Montreuil]

Look to the Sky

The overall weather pattern across much of the eastern half of North America is stuck thanks to a strong high pressure east of New England and a persistent low to its south over the Atlantic Ocean.

However, there are some changes in our weather today that are interesting, though they will have little impact on our experience for today.

First, you may have noticed a hazy appearance in the sky this morning. This is also showing up on satellite imagery this morning, which clued me into investigating it as wildfire smoke.

It is, indeed, smoke from wildfires that originated two days ago in New Mexico. Because of the stalled-out weather pattern, the smoke traveled north through the Plains, into Canada north of the Great Lakes, and has now turned south overhead our region.

The smoke will gradually dissipate this afternoon, though a thin ribbon of higher smoke content is expected over the eastern and southern portions of the area into the late afternoon. No additional smoke is expected overnight or tomorrow.

The satellite this morning also reveals another interesting tidbit. Last night, a large and well-organized cluster of severe thunderstorms developed over Minnesota. This morning, the much weaker cluster is moving through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and southern Canada.

While no rain or thunderstorms are expected to reach our area, thin clouds out ahead of this complex will build into the area, teaming up with the smoke to filter some of the sunshine today.

Despite these two factors, today will be the hottest day of the week, and for most places, of the year so far.

Widespread 80s are likely in all but the higher elevations with many areas rising into the mid 80s.

Dewpoints will increase late in the day, but most of the time will have relative humidity values below 35 percent. Areas that have not seen a full green-up will be at an elevated risk for brushfires thanks to the consistent sunny, very dry weather.

The increase in moisture tonight will both keep temperatures in the 50s overnight and will lead to some fog in the typical summertime fog valleys of the Southern Tier and Central New York.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast thursday may 12 2022
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.

Weekend Weather

Friday will be another sunny, warm, and generally quiet day.

Morning fog will burn off, leaving a mix of sun and a few clouds. A stray shower cannot be totally ruled out in the Southern Tier, but these should be light, brief, and hard to come by.

Temperatures will probably be just a touch cooler than today, with highs in the low 80s across the northern half of the region, with upper 70s to the south. Within this generality, there will be further variations, with some areas in the north pushing back into the mid 80s, and some areas in the south reaching 80 degrees.

It will be a warm night Friday night with overnight temperatures only dropping to around 60 degrees. Areas of fog will again be possible.

By the late morning and midday hours Saturday, a few pop-up showers will begin to develop. A few of these will grow into thunderstorms for the afternoon. Not all areas will get rain, and severe weather is generally not expected.

The increase in clouds and showers will keep most areas near or below 80 degrees. Still, even the higher elevations should get to or above 75 degrees.

Sunday will be much the same, with daytime heating showers and a few thunderstorms. Neither day has a strong trigger to force thunderstorm development, so the coverage of the showers and storms will probably be somewhat limited. This is a source of uncertainty that should begin to clear up tomorrow.

Another uncertainty is on Monday with the passage of a cold front. Showers and possibly thunderstorms will be possible with the frontal passage, but the timing of the front is uncertain. A morning or midday passage looks more favorable, which would reduce the chances for thunderstorms and heavier rain.

A secondary front and low pressure will move through on Tuesday, possibly in the morning. Some showers and storms will accompany this feature. Highs on Tuesday may not reach 60 degrees.

A quick turn around in temperature is expected late next week with equally hot, if not hotter, weather possible by next weekend.

More Information:

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finger lakes weather 7-day forecast thursday may 12 2022
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.

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