Complex Weekend Weather
High pressure has been overhead most of the week and is now situated along the coast of Maine.
Meanwhile, a strengthening low pressure system off the coast of the Carolinas is drifting northward and gradually acquiring tropical characteristics.
The differences between a non-tropical low, a sub-tropical storm, and a tropical storm or hurricane are highly technical and beyond the scope of the daily forecast.
Technicalities aside, this system will bring rain, wind and storm surge to the coastal regions of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic and may be named Ophelia as soon as this morning. I shall refer to it as Ophelia from here on out in this blog post for simplicity.
High pressure will hold on to control of our weather today, while simultaneously steering Ophelia towards the North Carolina coast. Sunshine will be plentiful again today until the first thin clouds on the edge of Ophelia arrive during the latter parts of the afternoon from south to north.
Today will be the warmest day of the week thanks to the sunshine and a steady southeasterly breeze. Look for highs to get above 70 degrees in all but the higher elevations, with the areas from Dansville to Rochester to Syracuse the warmest in the mid 70s.
Clouds will increase and thicken overnight, holding temperatures up slightly compared to recent nights. The coldest pockets of the Southern Tier and Central New York may make it down to around 45 degrees, but most areas will be in the upper 40s to low 50s.
Saturday will be cloudy as Ophelia continues to slowly push northward, making landfall in the southern Outer Banks of North Carolina.
There will be some complicated atmospheric gymnastics going on that will cause an area of rain to surge northward far ahead of the storm, then turn northeastward. Along with dry air supplied by the high pressure system lingering over the FLX, most if not all of this rain on Saturday should just miss our region to the southeast.
The best chance for rain on Saturday would be late in the afternoon for Chemung and Tioga counties. A few stray showers further north will be possible, but less likely.
Saturday will be locked into the clouds, even if it does not rain at all. Temperatures will range from the low 60s in a few higher elevations, to the mid 60s across the southern half of the region, to around 70 degrees along and north of the Thruway and through the Genesee Valley.
Rain Makes it into the FLX… Probably
Saturday evening will be quiet, but rain chances will start to increase between midnight and dawn as another slug of precipitation moves northward.
Rain is likely Sunday morning and into the afternoon, though there are still uncertainties at play regarding how much rain falls and how steadily.
By Sunday afternoon, Ophelia will be much weaker and losing its tropical characteristics from a position near Washington, D.C. The system will nearly stall out as it dissipates into Monday. How this process unfolds and how a new area of high pressure over eastern Canada influences the situation will determine how our rainfall on Sunday unfolds.
There is still a small pathway to a mainly or completely dry day Sunday, but this possibility is fading. On the flip side, there is a chance for heavy rain with rain totals over two inches, possibly raising some flooding concerns.
The truth likely lies in the middle, but continue to monitor the forecast, as it is still far from certain.
The uncertainties will persist into next week as well as the remains of Ophelia linger over the Mid-Atlantic. Showers will be possible on Monday and maybe Tuesday, especially across the southern half of the region.
Again, the position of the drifting remains of Ophelia and the high pressure over Canada will ultimately determine how the rain potential unfolds on these days.
Our best next chance for sunshine will come on Wednesday next week, though the entire week is uncertain due to the lingering remains of Ophelia.
Temperatures will stay on the cool side throughout this period. From Sunday through next Thursday, most areas should see daily highs in the mid and upper 60s. It will be more likely for some areas to stay in the low 60s than it will be for anywhere to break 70 degrees.
Overnight lows will remain in the 50s Saturday and Sunday night, but then should return to the 40s as the unsettled weather breaks up some towards the middle of next week.
I will have another update at some point Saturday with the latest expectations on the rain this weekend. Stay tuned.
This graphic represents an average over the entire Finger Lakes region. Localized variations should be expected.
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