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WINDS BLOW WARMTH TO AREA FOR A 2-DAY STAY

The winds of autumn descended on Western New York Sunday, snapping tree branches and forcing cancellation of the second day of the American Power Boat Association races in Buffalo Harbor.

"It was the most windy day we've had in three months," meteorologist Steve McLaughlin at the National Weather Service office at Buffalo Niagara International Airport said Sunday evening. "It's kind of a fall pattern. It's the first time we've run into it."

The wind came up, McLaughlin said, because the area was caught between a large high pressure system to the south, full of warm air, and a huge cold front to the north. "The gradient between the two was pretty tight," McLaughlin explained, "and the winds lined up perfectly up Lake Erie from the southwest. The winds ran pretty much 30 to 35 miles per hour on a strip from Buffalo to Rochester. Unofficially, there could have been gusts to 50."

Officially, a gust registered 46 mph at the airport in Cheektowaga.

At least the winds were mild. The warm front pushed temperatures up to an official high of 69. Lake Erie also helped. The water temperature is a pleasant 70 degrees.

Winner in the collision of the two weather systems was the warm front, which will give the area balmy conditions today and Tuesday.

"We've got two really beautiful days in store," McLaughlin said.

Today will be sunny and a lot less windy, with a high in the lower 70s. Tuesday is expected to be mostly sunny, breezy and warmer. That weather may continue on into Wednesday before the next cold front arrives, complete with showers.

"What's left of Hurricane Gordon is coming up the East Coast," McLaughlin said, "and it's going to bottle up everything for an extra day or so."

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