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Afternoon shower could bring end to region's three-week dry spell

For anyone who forgot what rain feels like, a reminder should come later today.

After enjoying a spectacular run of 22 days without precipitation, Western New York is likely to get hit with showers late this afternoon and evening.

"That should put an end to this dry spell," said Mike Pukajlo, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Buffalo.

The rain-free days were a blessing to a region that suffered through a historically cold and wet summer.

With a high temperature of 77 degrees, Sunday's sunshine and bright blue sky drew scores to Delaware Park, the waterfront and other outdoor venues.

"This is perfect. Instead of me sitting at home watching the Bills, I'm out here catching a sweat," said Daren Bailey, an East Side resident who was shooting hoops in the park.

It was the 22nd day in a row without any measurable precipitation, an unusually long span of dry weather but not a record for the area, Pukajlo said.

The all-time standard of 30 dry days was set in 1924.

The current dry spell has been fueled by a high-pressure ridge that has held steady over the area for the past three weeks, Pukajlo said.

September's average daily high temperature has run 1.5 degrees above normal, the Weather Service reported. The average daily low, however, has been 1.5 degrees cooler than normal.

It's better than the chilly and rainy conditions we endured in July, which was the sixth coolest July since the 1870s.

"That was the joke down here: 'Hey, it's nice that summer showed up for Labor Day,' " said Jason Schwinger, proprietor of BFLO Harbor Kayak, based at the Central Wharf.

Schwinger said he had seven days completely or partially wiped out by the rain, but Labor Day weekend was his second-best weekend for business.

"It's a gift," Jennifer Redanz, a teacher who lives in the Town of Tonawanda, said of our September weather. Redanz; her husband, Brian; and daughters Emma, 4 1/2 , and Riley, 1 1/2 , went to the Buffalo Zoo on Sunday.

Emma, clutching a white and green flower made out of twisted balloons, said she was glad the rain went away because it meant she could play outside and ride the train at the zoo.

Adam Donovan, a Parkside resident who was walking his English bulldog, Diesel, around the park, said he and Diesel are enjoying this dose of dry weather.

"You're not afraid to wash your car," said Donovan, who works at Millard Fillmore Hospital.

Everyone's car may get a shower late this afternoon and tonight, when the chance of precipitation is 60 percent. Today's high should reach 74 degrees.

e-mail: swatson@buffnews.com

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