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Bundle up on Easter Sunday

At least the Easter Bunny has fur to keep warm.

For everyone else, keep the winter coats, hats and mittens nearby.

Easter will be cold.

“We know with about 95 percent certainty we’ll have temperatures in the 30s and there will be a chance for nuisance snow,” said Bob Hamilton, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

While the cold may not inject a chill into the spirit of the holiday, this year’s cold temperatures are stunting the growing season for some popular Easter plants – especially pussy willows, area florists say.

Daria Parker at the Broadway Market’s Lewandowski Produce stand sold limited bunches of pussy willows she had Tuesday as quickly as they could be stocked.

By week’s end, there might not be many left, she said.

Parker’s stock of pussy willows are grown in Niagara County, but the below-average temperatures have severely delayed their growth.

“It’s just so cold,” Parker said.

After a brief warmup Thursday into the mid-50s, the pattern of cooler weather returns at least into early next week.

“It’s pretty much what we’ve had,” Hamilton said. “We’ll get a storm system going through here Friday and Saturday and it’s the cold air behind it” that will make Easter Sunday chilly.

The forecast calls for some sunshine Sunday, but the forecast high will only be 36 degrees. And, it will be sandwiched between snowshowers and temperatures in the 20s Saturday and Sunday nights.

National Weather Service data shows that less than 20 percent of the Easter Sundays over the last half-century have been below 40 degrees.

The last Easter that turned so cold came in 2008, when the temperature reached just 34 degrees. But that was earlier on the calendar – March 23.

Easter falls on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox, so some Easters come earlier in the calendar than others.

Even so, warmer weather accompanied Easter Sunday even when the holiday fell earlier in the calendar.

Two years ago, the mercury hit 58 degrees on March 31.

On March 30, 1986, the temperature hit 73 degrees.

At the Broadway Market, Parker said she expected to run low not only on pussy willows but on some other weather-dependent plants like hydrangeas and primrose.

As for other popular Easter varieties like mums, lilies and hyacinth plants, they will be well-stocked and available, she said.

Customers seem anxious for color and signs of life after the long, cold winter, so the plants are selling fast.

“They want a sign of spring,” she said.