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'Summerlike airmass' could bring first pair of 80s to Buffalo this year

Buffalo already struck 80 degrees once this year – on an unseasonably warm April 27.

Forecasters project the first back-to-back days in the 80s are in the offing today and Thursday. It would be the first 80-degree tandem since last Sept. 21 and 22.

Spurred by "a subtropical airmass," temperatures away from Lake Erie are expected to surge into the mid- to upper 80s – and possibly even 90 degrees in warmer valleys, National Weather Service forecasters said.

A warm front extending from the low pressure north of the Great Lakes helped to usher in unseasonably warm temperatures into the Buffalo Niagara region Wednesday. (National Weather Service)

"This is warm air generated in the Gulf region," said Kirk Apffel, meteorologist at the National Weather Service. "It isn't unusual this time of year with the sun angle what it is, you can generate warmer air."

Apffel added: "It will be a little more noticeable because we've been below normal so much of the first part of the month."

Heading into Wednesday, Buffalo was running 4.6 degrees below normal for temperature in May. Tuesday's 73 degree high was only the second above-average day of the month for warmth.

The average temperatures for May 17 and 18 in Buffalo are 67 for a high and 48 degrees for the daily low.

The strange thing about averages is that this warm snap – it's expected to be near 70 degrees again Saturday and 80 degrees on Sunday – is that it will tend to balance the scale for May's monthly temperature despite the fact many of the days have been on the extreme warm or cool sides.

Much of the Buffalo Niagara region woke up to readings already well into the 70s today.

The temperature isn't expected to dip below about 67 degrees overnight and then crest up toward or above the 80-degree mark Thursday.

Apffel offered a caveat: It will be noticeably cooler in downtown Buffalo and for areas downwind of brisk southwest winds passing over the still 51-degree Lake Erie.

"As the lake breeze comes, it will be quite a bit cooler than this airmass," he said. "Anywhere not downwind of the lake will get into the mid- to upper 80s."

Those gusty winds are forecast to pick up throughout Thursday morning. Gusts near 40 mph are possible by noon, forecasts show.

Temperatures drop closer to average Friday after an approaching cold front crosses the region.

Some showers and scattered thunderstorms associated with the front are possible later Thursday.

Forecasters said there is a slight risk some could become severe, depending upon the timing of their arrival.

Early forecast models show the line of storms passing through the region from west to east starting about 8 p.m.





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