Signs of spring abounded across the Buffalo Niagara region Monday.
Hats, gloves and boots went away.
Car windows got rolled down.
Hot dog carts were out.
Bicycles and motorcycles returned the roads in quantity.
And that was just the beginning.
A quick and much-anticipated warm-up is arriving with a wholesale change in the weather pattern, bringing an early prevalence of spring fever to the region.
Monday’s high temperature at Buffalo Niagara International Airport was 55 degrees, and forecasts show that will it will be near 60 on Tuesday and rise into the mid-60s on Wednesday.
“Winter is slowly and surely coming to an end,” said Aaron Reynolds, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service.
It might seem fitting now that the calendar reads March, but this week’s warmth is actually well above the norm for this time of year.
“It’s way warmer than normal,” Reynolds said.
The average high for the second week in March is about 39, and overnight lows are normally in the mid-20s.
Also consider that on this date last year, there was still 20 inches of snow on the ground. And the temperature didn’t hit 60 until April 2.
At this time two years ago, a second winter blizzard was days from bearing down on Buffalo Niagara. That year, the first 60-degree day arrived April 1.
So far this year, temperatures have already made it into the 60s twice – both times in February.
This week’s weather will add to the year’s early total of 60-degree days but, unlike last month, there doesn’t look like much of a return to any sort of wintry pattern – or more snow – any time soon.
“Zero,” Reynolds said. “Not even in the long range.”
Forecasts show the mercury receding slightly into the lower 50s on Thursday and Friday but back to the mid- to upper 50s for the weekend.
Some rain is expected overnight Wednesday and also Thursday, and then there are chances for more showers over the weekend.
The overall weather pattern has shifted to become what meteorologists call “more zonal,” meaning that the weather flow basically stays consistent along west-to-east latitude. With that pattern in place, the cold air gets locked away much farther north.
“We just don’t have a trough that’s going to be over us with a lot of cold air,” Reynolds said.
Stir in longer days and a higher sun angle in the sky and winter, which officially ends March 19, is losing its grip.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t another shot or two at some snowshowers hiding between now and next fall, though.
On average, Buffalo records 2.7 inches of snowfall in April, and Reynolds noted, “We still have some time.”