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September or ‘South July’? Could be Buffalo’s second-warmest ever

The calendar clearly reads September.

But something like “South July” seems a little more appropriate.

Halfway through September, the month is on pace to be the second-warmest September on record in Buffalo, with an average temperature of more than 70 degrees.

“It’s like God is happy,” said a short-sleeved Wendy Pilkey, walking from Canalside on a sun-drenched Tuesday afternoon toward the (716) Food and Sport restaurant with her husband, Chuck, and longtime friend Candace Catalano, of Amherst.

The Pilkeys, East Amherst residents by summer and Naples, Fla., “snowbirds” for nine months of the year, head back to the Sunshine State on Wednesday.

But, with rain in Naples’ forecast through early next week, they’ll leave the sunshine in Buffalo.

Sunny skies are forecast to predominate at least the next three days in Western New York, with temperatures near 80 degrees.

“It’s going to feel nice,” said Jim Mitchell, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Buffalo.

That’s perfect news for Clinton and Audrey Riegle, of Town of Tonawanda, who relaxed in some Adirondack chairs near the Canalside docks Tuesday after a long bicycle ride from their home near Niagara Falls Boulevard and Sheridan Drive.

The Riegles’ plans in coming days include a sail on the schooner Spirit of Buffalo and a trip to Niagara Falls.

“After last January, it’s beautiful,” Clinton Riegle said.

Actually, February broke the all-time record for Buffalo’s coldest month ever. But that’s just a technicality for residents enjoying a month that’s 5.5 degrees above average for temperatures and challenging the 1881 record for warmest September in Buffalo history.

That year, every September day but one reached at least 70 degrees.

This September, the daily average temperature was 70.7 degrees through Monday, and forecasts show three straight 80 degree days on deck, according to the National Weather Service.

“The way the pattern is shaping up, we might have a shot at the Top Ten unless we have a radical shift in the pattern by the end of September,” Mitchell said.

After reviewing the 14-day forecast, Mitchell said, “We probably have a shot at being one of the warmest Septembers.”

A warm September was just what forecasters called for last month as weather patterns suggested an enduring ridge of high pressure would prevail.

This is the second one of the month.

After the passage of a quick moving cold front late Saturday that will drop daytime highs into the lower 70s from Sunday through Tuesday, another ridge of high pressure with a southerly flow returns for a few days mid-next week, Mitchell said.

Only twice since 1961 have warm Buffalo Septembers cracked the Top 10 list – in 2002 and 2007 – according to National Weather Service data.

Buffalo feels good for those looking for a warm September.

“There’s nowhere else to be – except here,” said Gayle Balko, of East Aurora.