Latest Air Quality, Wildfire Smoke, and Rainfall Projects for Thursday and Beyond

finger lakes weather forecast thursday june 8 2023 showers air quality wildfire smoke
Overall, air quality should improve over the next day or so as wind shifts keep most of the smoke out of the FLX and rain showers help clean the air. [Photo by Joan Lockwood]

Late Week Weather Forecast

Conditions will continue to gradually improve across the Finger Lakes as some needed rain showers dot the area over the next two days.

Winds have shifted slightly, but enough to keep the main plumes of smoke from moving directly over the Finger Lakes. There is still some smoke in the area this morning, and air quality levels continue to be unhealthy, but there should not be a situation like yesterday where it becomes hazardous to all again.

The Air Quality Index on the maps and dials at are primarily reported at only 3 sites in the Finger Lakes Region: Syracuse, Rochester, and the Pinnacle State Park in southern Steuben County. There are other sources of information that are available, but not considered reliable enough to be included in producing the colored maps and dials many of us were using heavily yesterday.

The Pinnacle and Syracuse sensors are starting the day with an AQI around 160, which is in the red “unhealthy” range. Other sensors across Central New York and the Southern Tier corroborate this. Rochester, however, has a much more typical AQI of 52, which is just into the Moderate range, which has little overall impact.

As the current batch of smoke continues to push south of the region, there is at least some hope that the unhealthy AQI values of the southern and eastern Finger Lakes will improve. Continue to monitor the conditions as needed today.

Another factor that may help the air quality today is the development of rain showers during the late morning and especially afternoon hours. As the rain falls, individual drops will pick up particulate matter and wash it out of the atmosphere.

The showers will generally be light and hit-or-miss, so some areas may not see rain today. There also may be some lightning with the showers, and I will be interested to see if the lightning activity is increased due to the smoke, as there has been some evidence that smoke can increase lightning.

Given that there are only three primary reporting sensors in the region, the impact these small showers have on the AQI may be hard to measure, so keep in mind that air quality conditions will likely vary by location today and that it may be difficult to get an accurate feel for the air quality at your exact location.

» The link to the map I have grown accustomed to using, which shows the other sensor data in addition the primary three, can be found at

Smoke levels should become very low to nearly non-existent tonight and into Friday, leading to further, significant improvements in the air quality. I do not expect to need to discuss it much in tomorrow’s blog post.

More rain showers are also expected tomorrow in a similar set up to today. Between the two days, most areas will probably see under a quarter inch of rain, but some isolated pockets could see upwards of a half inch. We will certainly need a lot more to reverse the trend from weeks of little to no rain.

As for temperatures, today will be cool with highs mainly in the low 60s. Friday will only be a touch warmer in the mid and upper 60s. Overnight temperatures both days will mainly be in the upper half of the 40s.

finger lakes weather 7-day forecast thu jun 8 | thur, scattered showers low 60 | fri, scattered showers mid 60 | sat, p cloudy a shower? mid 70 | sun, mostly cloudy near 80 | mon, rain late upper 70 | tues, sun and clouds mid 70 | wed, scattered showers low 70
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected. Click to enlarge.

Weekend Weather and Beyond

Winds should remain unfavorable for smoke through the weekend, though some patchy light smoke may be possible from time to time. I am not anticipating any major air quality issues at this time.

Saturday will have a mix of sun and clouds. A stray shower cannot be ruled out, especially in the morning. Most areas will stay dry.

Temperatures will push into the low and mid 70s for the afternoon, which is right on the seasonal averages for this time of the year.

Clouds will increase Saturday night and a southwest wind will take over, keeping nighttime temperatures in the 50s. Sunday will be cloudy, but should remain dry with highs around 80 degrees.

A weather system moving out of the Ohio Valley should keep winds with a southerly component into early next week. Rain showers will gradually increase on Monday, with a decent chance for some widespread, steady rain Monday night.

The rainfall amounts from this rain are still uncertain, but the models are currently averaging around an inch. The range is large, however, and some models output much more, while others keep the rainfall lighter.

Most of the rain looks to be out of the picture by Tuesday morning, though that timing is uncertain this far in advance. Regardless, Tuesday generally looks dry with highs in the mid 70s.

Another system will bring another chance for rain on Wednesday, though this rain looks less impressive than Monday night’s rain does.

At least some of this rain should also extend northward into Quebec, and will hopefully help reduce the fire activity across that area.

More Information:

» Finger Lakes Weather Radar

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finger lakes weather 7-day forecast thu jun 8 | thur, scattered showers low 60 | fri, scattered showers mid 60 | sat, p cloudy a shower? mid 70 | sun, mostly cloudy near 80 | mon, rain late upper 70 | tues, sun and clouds mid 70 | wed, scattered showers low 70
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. Susan Sarabasha

    Inconclusive definitely. Certainly doesn’t seem to have a direct bearing. I thought it might since rain brings the particulates down so thought maybe very damp air might too. Thanks for looking into this.

  2. Susan Sarabasha

    Thank you for your wonderful comprehensive reporting. I am curious as to how humidity affects the amount of particulate matter in the air. Yesterday the humidity was relatively low (30’s) and today it is in the 80’s.

    • Meteorologist Drew Montreuil

      Hi Susan! I did some quick research and was not able to find anything conclusive about humidity directly impacting particulate matter.

      So I took at look at some local data. Consider the following:

      I took the AQI values for a sensor near the intersection of Ellis Hollow Creek Rd and Hickory Rd just east of Cornell. Cornell also has a weather station just a mile or two away on Game Farm Rd with hourly data in a similar geographic setting. Here is how the humidity and AQI looked since5 PM last night:

      Time – AQI, RH%
      5 PM – 188, 36%
      6 PM – 174, 40%
      7 PM – 167, 40%
      8 PM – 160, 44%
      9 PM – 153, 58%
      10 PM – 145, 63%
      11 PM – 153, 72%
      12 AM – 156, 77%
      1 AM – n/a
      2 AM – 157, 87%
      3 AM – 157, 87%
      4 AM – 157, 89%
      5 AM – 156, 91%
      6 AM – 156, 92%
      7 AM – 155, 93%
      8 AM – 155, 91%

      A quick statistical analysis indicates there is a weak relationship between the two, but I think it is overstated because or a coincidental AQI drop in the early evening when the RH started to come up. There was basically no change in AQI with humidity values between 58%-93%, so I think the analysis suffers from the exceptionally small sample size. On the flip side, I just checked current RH% values where the AQI is highest between DC and Philadelphia and was surprised to see locally lower values than surrounding areas with lower AQI.

      More data is obviously needed to make any definitive conclusions.

  3. Carol LaBorie

    I did some research on monitoring stations for air pollution using the website that reports particulate levels. We have a local station on the map near Connecticut Hill but it only monitors ozone, as well as collect weather data. It seems that that is a logical place to install monitors for particulate matter as well, especially since this is likely to happen again, and again given the situation with climate change. If it is the location that I am thinking of, it would be a Cornell University weather station on Griffin Road in Enfield. It would be a good idea for citizens to lobby for a particulate matter monitor there.