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No snow in sight, and record looks to shatter

No measurable snow fell in Buffalo on Thursday, tying Dec. 3, 1899, as the all-time record for latest snowfall ever.

That record will be broken Friday.

And, next week it will be shattered.

Some areas of the Southern Tier did get an inch or two of snow Thursday. But as for metro Buffalo, there’s no snow in sight through at least mid-December, according to National Weather Service forecasters, and even that might be a stretch.

“That’s the way it looks,” said Jim Mitchell, meteorologist at the National Weather Service. “We’re just going have more above-average temperatures.”

“We’re going to dry out pretty good,” he added. ”If you don’t have any moisture, it doesn’t matter how cold it is.”

But, even then, temperatures will seem a lot more like October than December.

The weekend forecast shows a pair of days with high temperatures forecast in the low 50s. That’s 10 degrees or more above-average.

The weather service’s official forecast discussion even reports “high confidence” that a “mild pattern will continue for the next 10-12 days” thanks to Pacific air flooding across the United States.

The milder than usual autumn was forecast months ago as atmospheric scientists sounded calls that a strong El Niño pattern would tend to keep Arctic air locked far to the north this winter.

That certainly played out in November. The month’s average temperature of 46.2 degrees finished as the seventh-warmest November in Buffalo’s recorded weather history. The warmest was an average of 47.9 degrees in 1931.

It was also among the most dry months of November in Buffalo with 1.40 inches of rainfall. That’s 2.61 inches less precipitation than during an average November.

The warm pattern continues into this first week of December.

By contrast, as of Dec. 3, 2014, more than 20 inches of snow was already recorded at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, making it the second-snowiest autumn of this century. The average amount of snowfall by this time of the season is about 10 inches.

Incidentally, back in early December 1899, that first snow of the season on Dec. 3 set off a chain of events that saw 15 inches of snow fall over the next three days.

Storm totals in areas of the Southern Tier were still being tabulated early Thursday. However, Mitchell reported that in Cattaraugus County there was 2.5 inches of snow reported in Randolph. Others included Little Valley, 1.8 inches, and Olean and Allegany, 1.3 inches.

In Chautauqua County, Kennedy received 2 inches and Jamestown and Frewsburg each picked up 0.8 inches, according to the weather service.