A large area of high pressure is building into the Great Lakes via the Midwest and south-central Canada.
This high will pass overhead this weekend, then set up shop over the Mid-Atlantic and Carolinas before hugging the east coast while over the Atlantic Ocean. The high will keep our region dry for days to come, but its position and movement will have a large impact on our temperatures.
With the high to our west-northwest today, cooler air will spill into the region on northwest winds. Low pressure from earlier in the week still lurks over eastern Canada, so as these two opposite pressure systems butt up against one another, those northwest winds will pick up today.
Wind speeds will be 10-15 mph with gusts between 25 mph in the west and southwest, building to 35 mph in the northeast. Most of the region should see gusts around 30 mph.
The gusty winds will combine with dry air to bump up the brushfire risk today, and a Fire Weather Watch has been issued for Onondaga, southern Cayuga, Tompkins, Tioga, and Cortland counties. Update: Shortly after publication, the Fire Weather Watch was changed to a Special Weather Statement saying the exact same things. Nothing has changed… only government technicalities sowing confusion.
Even though the recent rain has made the soil moist, the concern is the dead vegetation, which will quickly dry out with the wind and low dewpoints. Any fires that spark will have the potential to spread in the gusty winds.
Cool temperatures in the mid 40s today, fair weather clouds developing and even blocking out the sun at times, and relative humidity values expected at 35-40 percent, are all factors pointing away from a greater brush fire risk, but caution is still prudent today.
The winds will die down tonight and many of the clouds will dissipate. Temperatures will quickly fall through the 30s and overnight lows will mostly be in the mid 20s.
Saturday will be similar to today, only with lighter winds and fewer clouds. Top wind gusts around 15 mph will reduce the brushfire risk, even though the air will be a little drier and the skies a little sunnier tomorrow. Highs will again top out in the mid 40s.
Clear skies and calm winds Saturday night will send temperatures into the mid and upper 20s once again by the dawn of Easter Sunday. Temperatures will quickly rise with clear skies. Winds will be nearly calm.
Afternoon highs Sunday will be close to the seasonal averages in the low 50s. Relative humidity values will be lower still, bottoming out around 30 percent. But, without any wind, the brushfire risk will be kept in check.
Dry and Warm Next Week
As the high pivots to our south and southeast next week, warmer air will flow into the region on its backside.
Monday should have plenty of sunshine still with highs bumping up to the mid 60s. South and west winds will help the temperatures make this jump, even though speeds will only be around 5 mph.
With the warmer temperatures, relative humidity values will drop below 30 percent during the afternoon. The warmer air will also be more conducive to drying out fuels further. Again, though, the light winds should help reduce the brushfire risk somewhat.
Monday night, temperatures will stick to the upper 30s and low 40s. Some clouds will build in, and Tuesday could end up cloudier than not. Nonetheless, highs should reach the upper 60s as warm air continues to seep in.
The atmosphere on Tuesday will not be quite as dry, with relative humidity values above 30 percent. Winds will be light from the southwest.
The wind will pick up by Wednesday, but atmospheric moisture should increase as well. Temperatures will push into the low 70s after a morning low near 50 degrees. Skies should be sunny with a few clouds.
Thursday will see further increases in temperature and sunshine with highs at least in the mid 70s. A few of the typically warmer urban valley locations may start to flirt with 80 degrees Thursday afternoon.
Little change is expected Friday and Saturday next week, with dry, sunny weather and highs well into the 70s.
Some small chances for rain may start to show up towards the end of next weekend, with a greater chance early in the following week. Temperatures will moderate back towards average, with highs in the 50s.
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected.
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