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Unseasonably warm weather breaks record set in 1901

If you were lucky, you got a chance to go outside for lunch today to enjoy the warm, springlike air on this unusually mild winter day.

The calendar might say Dec. 14, but Mother Nature’s continued dose of unseasonably warm weather for Western New York has broken a record for the date.

At around 11 a.m., the official temperature soared to 70 degrees, eclipsing the old record high of 64 degrees, set in 1901.

“With the loss of cloud cover, we could see that go up another one or two degrees,” said Jim Mitchell, a National Weather Service meteorologist at the Greater Buffalo Niagara Airport in Cheektowaga.

Temperatures had approached 60 degrees by 8 a.m. in some parts of Western New York, with the region’s warmest spot being Orchard Park with 62 degrees shortly before 8:30 a.m. Typically, temperatures in areas closer to the lake would tend to be lower, said Mitchell, who added that the temperature of Lake Erie was at about 46 degrees early Monday afternoon.

"I'm sure down there it's not 70," he said. "I'd say it's lower to mid 60s down there."

Mitchell described the current weather pattern as akin to "a spring setup."

"It's like you'd have in April, where, here at the airport, we could be at 70, and if the lake was at 40 degrees, you could be down in the 50s or even lower downtown if you had a southwest wind. But right now we have a south wind, so I would say along the immediate lake shore it's a little bit cooler," said Mitchell.

With the unseasonable warmth, there also has been no precipitation. The rain is expected to hold off until at least 3 or 4 p.m., Mitchell added.

Gusty winds of 45 to 50 mph will arrive around 4 p.m. when a cold front begins to pass through the region. A wind advisory is in effect for Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Orleans, Wyoming and Genesee counties from 4 p.m. until 1 p.m. Tuesday. Forecasters predict sustained winds of 20 to 30 mph during that time.

Any outdoor holiday decorations should be secured as the strong winds pose the risk for damage, Mitchell said.

"Operationally, we only go out seven days, but within seven days it does look like we're going to see the cold air. We're going to have our first significant cold shot come in at the end of this week or early next week, within five or six days from now. It looks like there will be some snow with that, lake effect snow. Just how much and exactly where is too far to tell right now, but the overall pattern does look conducive, as well as the temperatures, to support lake effect snow. Right now it does look like it would mainly be in the typical snowbelt areas south of Buffalo, off Lake Erie," Mitchell said.

The Weather Channel, meanwhile, seems to be more willing to forecast some snow will fall in the region, enough to be seen at Christmas:

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