If it seems like the last summer or two haven’t been as hot and sultry as some years past, there are reasons for that.
Thursday marks two full years since the thermometer struck the 90-degree mark in Buffalo. It was 92 degrees on July 16, 2013 – the last of three consecutive days the temperature reached or exceeded 90 degrees.
It hasn’t made it back there since.
Although the current streak is the seventh-longest stretch of days below 90 degrees on record in Buffalo, meteorologists say it’s not really all that unusual.
“We have to get a southerly flow to get a really, really warm day,” said Aaron Reynolds, a National Weather Service meteorologist. “Most of the wind flows from the southwest and that moderates the temperature.”
That’s because the typical air flow into Buffalo passes over a much cooler Lake Erie before it gets here.
“The lake is like an air conditioner,” Reynolds said.
The mercury made it to 89 degrees – the highest so far this year and last – on May 9 and June 28, 2014.
Reynolds said the frigid winters of 2014 and 2015 in Buffalo have little, if anything, to do with the seemingly cooler-than-normal summer months last year and so far this summer. Rather, it’s more about the influence of the weather pattern that’s bringing repeated fluctuations in the weather with several warm days interrupted by passing troughs of cooler air that often bring rain and thunderstorms before dropping temperatures for a day or two behind them.
That happened again this week.
After an 86-degree day on Monday, a cold front brought a series of heavy storms to Western New York Tuesday, which resulted in flooding in some areas of the region. Wednesday’s high was only forecast in the upper 60s.
Another brief warm-up into the low to mid-80s is forecast Friday before a slight dip possible again over the weekend with thunderstorms.
Then, Reynolds said, there could be a real surge of heat early next week.
“We have a fairly substantial ridge that’s going to build on top of us,” Reynolds said. “Next week, there’s a shot we could get close to 90.”
“This is the time of year it would happen.”