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Balmy Christmas weather brings unexpected pleasures

During last year’s bitterly cold winter, Frank Mangor would have thought you were crazy if you told him he would be golfing on Christmas morning of 2015.

But there he was, a little after 9 a.m. on Friday, wheeling his golf cart toward the first tee at the Sheridan Park Golf Course in the Town of Tonawanda.

Mangor, a 59-year-old town resident, had the entire 18-hole course to himself, but he was fine with that.

“This is wonderful,” he said.

His remark pretty much summed up the feelings of quite a few Western New Yorkers who spent part of their Christmas outdoors in temperatures just under 50 degrees, doing things that they would normally be doing on Labor Day or the Fourth of July.

At Delaware Park in North Buffalo, kids scooted around on their new Christmas hoverboards, joggers jogged in short pants, a few people played soccer, two youngsters flew electronic model airplanes, and people like Vic and Lin Hunter just enjoyed taking a walk during one of the mildest local Decembers anyone can remember.

“What do we think of this weather? We’re shocked!” said Vic Hunter. He and his wife live in Milwaukee and are visiting their son, Buffalo resident Jed Hunter, his wife, Meg, and their three energetic kids.

“We expected to be snowed in,” said Lin Hunter.

Meg Hunter said she was delighted that the early-afternoon 47-degree weather allowed her children to try out the new scooters and hovercraft they received hours earlier as Christmas gifts.

“Santa Claus brought them some weather-dependent toys, and we’re glad they are getting a chance to use them,” she said.

Friday’s weather was indeed warm for a Christmas day in Buffalo, said Jim Mitchell, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Cheektowaga.

“Today’s high temperatures will be about 14 degrees above the normal high for Dec. 25 in Buffalo,” Mitchell said.

“But it isn’t our warmest Christmas. It got up to 64 degrees in 1982.”

Buffalo broke winter weather records with a 65-degree high on Wednesday, and 66 degrees on Thursday.

They were the warmest temperatures ever recorded for a Dec. 23 and Dec. 24 in Buffalo. Meteorologists say the region is on pace for its warmest December ever this year.

Temperatures should stay in the 40s for most of Saturday and Sunday, with rain beginning to fall Saturday afternoon.

Rain should continue into Saturday night, overnight and much of Sunday, Mitchell said. Some snow, but not much, is possible on Monday and Tuesday.

It appears unlikely that really cold weather will begin to set in before New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, Mitchell said.

Sheridan Park wasn’t the only local spot where Christmas golf was being played.

Six members of the Walters family of Kenmore – ranging in age from 25 to 60 – enjoyed a day on the links at Delaware Park.

Randy Walters, 56, wore plaid golf shorts and a gray sweat shirt. “I had wind pants on, but they were too warm,” he said.

“This is like winter in Mississippi, where Ted and I were born,” said his brother, Jack, 60.

“We love golfing on Christmas. We’re driven by golf,” said a third Walters brother, Ted, 55. “We played here on Thanksgiving, too.”

email: dherbeck @buffnews.com