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66 degrees sets a record high for Christmas Eve in Buffalo area

Think back to the Fourth of July, when you slept with the windows open and the overnight low temperature dipped to a cool 56 degrees.

Now, think about Thursday, when you slept with the windows open and the coolest overnight temperature was 59 degrees.

That’s right: The overnight low was warmer on Dec. 24 than it was July 4.

In fact, according to the National Weather Service in Buffalo, the overnight temperature on Thursday was warmer than 37 nights between June and August.

And you want a white Christmas?

Don’t plan on it.

Buffalo broke another winter weather record Thursday when the temperature reached a high of 66 degrees shortly after midnight, eclipsing the old mark of 59 degrees set Dec. 24, 1964.

That followed a record set the previous day, when the high reached 65 on Wednesday.

Temperatures dropped throughout the day on Thursday, as a cold front moved in, but that’s not expected to change the fact that Buffalo is closing in on the warmest December on record.

“If we continue to stay above average – which continues to be the case – we are going to have the warmest December on record by a significant amount,” said meteorologist Aaron Reynolds.

The warmest December on record was set in 1923, when the average temperature for the month was 37.6 degrees, Reynolds said.

This December, the average temperature is 43.3 degrees – nearly 6 degrees above the record.

In addition, Buffalo could break the all-time record for the least-snowiest December. That record was set in both 1891 and 1889, when 1.1 inches of snow fell in December of those years, Reynolds said.

This December, only one-tenth of an inch of snow was recorded at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, he said.

Considering the extended forecast, Reynolds said, chances are good that Buffalo will shatter both those records.

“But we’ll have to watch,” he said.

You have to go back a few years to find a Christmas one would expect for Buffalo.

Last Christmas, there was no snow on the ground – at least at the airport. The area saw severe thunderstorm warnings and temperatures that rose to a high of 43 degrees.

Only 2 inches of snow were on the ground for the Christmas of 2013, and just 1 inch had fallen on Dec. 25, 2012. In 2011, there was no snow on the ground Christmas morning and only a trace fell throughout the day, said meteorologist Steve Welch.

A record for Dec. 25 came in 2001 with 19 inches of snow on the ground, Welch said.

And remember Christmas 2002? That’s when 8.4 inches of snow fell, the highest snowfall total recorded on Christmas Day in Buffalo.

This Christmas, it’s rain in the forecast, with a high in the upper 40s. There’s a chance of showers in the morning, but it’s expected to brighten as the day goes on.

As much as a half-inch of rain is forecast for the area from midday Saturday through Sunday.

“Monday is going to be a cool day with a high right around freezing,” Welch said. “There’s a chance of snow-showers Monday night, but it’s not looking like anything major.”

If this December isn’t odd enough, here’s another unusual occurrence: This Christmas will feature a full moon, which will be at its fullest at 6:11 a.m.

email: jrey@buffnews.com