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Top 10 warmest starts to December on tap for Buffalo... and Lake Erie; White Christmas may be in peril

Lake Erie's 46-degree water temperature Tuesday was six degrees warmer than the same date last year and just two degrees off the all-time warmest mark set in 1991.

But, just when you think that's a recipe for big time trouble - lake-effect snow - the corresponding air temperature is running just as warm.

So, no worries.

After a brief storm system moves through early Thursday that is expected to bring some cold rain or snow showers, there are a pair of 50-degree days on tap for December 2015's first weekend, according to the National Weather Service forecast.

That unseasonable warmth - with daytime highs more than 10 degrees above average - will help to push the average temperature for the first week of December into the Top Ten warmest in Buffalo since records started being kept at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport in the late 1930s.

Warmest starts to December at BNIA:

Rank Year Avg. Temp.
1 1982 54.3°
2 1998 50.5°
3 1951 48.9°
4 2001 47.6°
5 2012 43.6°
6 1994 43.3°
7 1953 43.2°
8 1941 42.4°
9* 2015 42.0°
10 1999 41.9°

* includes forecast temperatures, Dec. 2 to 7, 2015.


In fact, the first 10 days are likely to be snow-free with above-average temperatures and NOAA's Climate Prediction Center projects the Buffalo Niagara region falls into an area where there's the greatest chance for the entire month to run on the warm side.

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center is calling for a warmer than average December for much of the county's northern tier. (NOAA CPC image)

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center is calling for a warmer than average December for much of the country's northern tier. (NOAA CPC image)


Although the Christmas Day holiday remains more than three weeks away, prognosticators from suggest residents brace themselves for a second-straight snow-less visit from Santa:

AccuWeather's month-long outlook.

AccuWeather's month-long outlook.


You might remember that despite the wintry, feet-deep head-start to last year's snow season, back-to-back days in the 50s led up to Dec. 25 - including a 57-degree Christmas Eve - and made sure Christmas 2014 stayed green.

If you're desperate for that White Christmas, take heart. Nothing's certain yet, and often it doesn't take much this time of year.

So, cross your fingers, click your boots three times and pray Jack Frost blows unexpectedly across those warm, open lake waters.

You never know.


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