It took a while, but the warmest day of 2017 officially came on Sunday — two full days into autumn.
The mercury struck 90 degrees for the first time this year, breaking the daily temperature record and matching the warmest day for a Bills home game in the team's 58-year history. Before Sunday, the highest temperature this year was recorded on June 17, an 89-degree day.
"There's been a ridge across the eastern United States," said Dave Thomas, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service. "Even the hurricanes we've had — Jose and Irma — have brought heat northward from the equator that has only enhanced the ridge."
Monday's forecast calls for another run up to 90 degrees, with 80s forecast on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"It's the same air mass," Thomas said.
Monday could take Sunday's place as the third-latest 90-degree reading on the calendar in Buffalo's recorded weather history. (The others were a 90-degree day on Sept. 28, 1946 and an even more anomalous 92-degree day on Oct. 2, 1927.)
The extended summer weather is part of a long stretch of well above-normal temperatures for Buffalo this deep into September.
For the ninth day in a row Sunday — and the 11th of the last 13 days — the mercury has soared to at least 80 degrees.
This is the second-longest run of days of 80 degrees or more in September on record in Buffalo.
The longest stretch of September days with at least 80 degrees is 13 days. That happened from Sept. 3-15, 1947.
The average daily high temperature for this time of year is in the high 60s.
Thomas said besides the ridge and equatorial heat being drawn up by the hurricanes, Buffalo has gone more than two weeks without measurable rainfall. A dry ground can add a few degrees on hot days, he said.
Sunday was the first September day to reach the 90 degree mark since Sept. 3, 2012. It broke the 2010 88-degree record for Sept. 24's daily high and tied Sept. 9. 2001 for the warmest Buffalo Bills home game.
Unlike that day, when the heat-hardy New Orleans Saints handed the Bills a 24-6 defeat, Buffalo won Sunday against the visiting Denver Broncos 26-16.
Sunday's high temperature in Denver? 48 degrees.