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 airnow.gov 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 https://fire.airnow.gov/
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.
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.
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected.