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Hot, hot, hot, but not a record

The question of the day: Will it reach 90 degrees?

The answer, at least for downtown Buffalo, is no.

“We’re going to be close again, at least,” Steve Welch, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Buffalo, said Wednesday morning. “Downtown may not get quite there because of the lake influence.”

The forecast high for downtown is 84 degrees; 89 is predicted for outside the weather services offices at Buffalo Niagara International Airport in Cheektowaga, where official readings are recorded.

The record high for July 29 – 94 degrees, set in 1955 – is safe.

But 90 degrees, and maybe even higher, is possible in places like Lockport and Batavia, according to Welch.

“It just depends on how everything sets up,” Welch said.

One of the factors in play is the mixing of the atmosphere, he said. Early Wednesday morning, there was a temperature inversion in place.

While the surface temperature at 7:15 a.m. was 68 degrees at the airport, a weather balloon approximately 2,000 feet up recorded 76 degrees.

“As the day goes on, the sun mixes the atmosphere, causing the warmer air to mix down,” Welch explained. “As the air sinks, it will warm.”

Even without 90 degrees, dewpoints in the mid-60s means you’re probably not going to want to spend much time outdoors.

“Once you get above 60, it’s pretty uncomfortable,” Welch said.

The cold front that will pass through the area Wednesday night will leave behind high temperatures in the lower 80s, and possibly upper 70s, through early next week. There’s a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms as the front moves through.