Share this article

print logo

Skip the winter gear for that Thanksgiving trip

The last few years, traipsing over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s Thanksgiving dinner meant doing so in snow boots.

Not this year.

The forecast temperature of 55 degrees for Thursday is only the fifth time since 1984 the thermometer will visit the 50s in Buffalo on Thanksgiving Day.

And, the forecast average temperature for the day – 47.5 degrees – means Buffalo hasn’t seen a warmer Thanksgiving since 1990, according to National Weather Service records. It’s a full 10 degrees above-average for the date.

To make matters better, sunshine will come with the warmth this time around.

Call it luck. El Niño. Whatever.

“The timing is just good for us,” said Jim Mitchell, meteorologist at the National Weather Service. “We’re going to have a nice ridge (of high pressure) overhead.”

So Turkey Trot in your shorts and tees because this kind of Thanksgiving warmth is rare.

“The high will be shifting to the east Wednesday and Thursday,” Mitchell said, bringing a southerly flow into the region. “That will help to boost our temperatures.”

The eastern one-third of the nation will be the place to be Thanksgiving Day, including at the 89th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the Big Apple. Temperatures at Central Park will climb through the 50s toward 60 degrees with light southerly winds under partly sunny skies, the weather service forecasts.

Meanwhile, most other parts of the country west of the Buffalo Niagara region, won’t be as lucky.

In Chicago, where a winter storm dropped nearly a foot of snow on the city over the weekend, up to two inches of rain is possible with a storm system expected on Thanksgiving that portends flooding, according to the weather service.

Heavy rain is forecast to extend west along a line from Detroit to Dallas. Behind the front will be a large mass of cold air and snow covering a large swath of the upper Plains and Rocky Mountain states, weather maps show.

The warmth in Western New York will bleed into Black Friday as well, forecasts show.

Temperatures are expected to get into the upper-50s, but rain will move into the region ahead of the approaching storm system.

The mercury recedes into the upper-30s for Saturday but Mitchell said any significant snow is unlikely because most of the moisture associated with the system will be in the form of rain in the Buffalo Niagara region.