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Weather is in a holiday mood Unseasonable mildness makes for enjoyable weekend

Monday's clear skies and balmy temperatures capped the end of a perfect holiday weekend for many Western New Yorkers.

The pleasant surprise for many was that it all occurred in the middle of October, when many are bracing for, at least, a mild chill.

"This is the best weather we've had all summer," said Al Litto, a local tennis coach.

Litto took advantage of the nice weather Monday by instructing students Chantal Cokin and Hinako Bird on the Delaware Park tennis courts.

"Normally, I can continue on outdoors until usually sometime in October, but it's up and down and the temperatures can be pretty cool. So to be literally in the middle of October and have it be T-shirt weather -- comfortable T-shirt weather -- is really very good," Litto observed.

Monday's high temperature of 73 degrees, recorded at 3 p.m., was not a record for the date, National Weather Service meteorologist David Thomas said. The record, set in 1983, was 82 degrees.

Still, it was unseasonably mild.

"We had a broad area of surface high pressure located along the East Coast and that brought very pleasant temperatures throughout much of the Northeast," Thomas said.

Jasmine Shaw and Fasil Jon, both of Buffalo, chatted under a weeping willow near Hoyt Lake as they stared off into a gorgeous sunset that ended the three-day weekend.

"I've been actually sick lately, so I haven't been doing much outdoors," Shaw said. "But today I've been enjoying it outside, in the park and walking around and having fun."

Buffalo State College students Jody Guzik and Jeffrey Hers circled the park on the bicycles just before dusk.

"It's the first time we've been through Delaware Park like this," said Guzik. "It's the first time I've ridden on a bike in, like, five years."

A few miles away at the Erie Basin Marina, Bill Schaffstall of Elma was cleaning out his boat and his boat box in preparation for storage over the winter.

"Actually, this is very late in the season to even be down here. They close down in two days. All the boats have to be out by the 15th and usually people are out by the first," Schaffstall said. "It wasn't the greatest summer, so they dragged it out a little bit and carried summer on as long as possible. "I was out on the boat [Sunday], actually, and it was a nice day."

Thomas said temperatures will head back into the 70s today, just ahead of a cold front that is expected to arrive tonight, bringing with it a 30 percent chance of rain.

The forecast for the rest of the week calls for temperatures to remain a bit cooler Wednesday, with highs in the upper 60s, which is still nearly 10 degrees above normal for this time of year. Thomas said it will be mostly sunny Wednesday, though a 60 percent chance of showers is forecast for Thursday.

The skies will be clearer Friday, but with cooler temperatures, and more seasonal highs in the mid- to upper-50s.

Mary Therese of Buffalo will take it. Therese, a retired Erie County Medical Center worker, was out strolling through the marina Monday with some friends and former co-workers -- Ann Zorn, Michael Abrams and Rick Hassler -- who were helping her celebrate her birthday..

"Two years ago, we were celebrating her birthday and guess what was happening?" Zorn asked. "We were caught in the storm at a townhouse."

However, on Monday they all were pleasantly caught by surprise at the mild October evening.

"Two years later, we're sunning and frolicking," said Therese. "It's quite a difference."

e-mail: hmcneil@buffnews.com

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