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An early start to summer as thermometer hits 90

The earliest 90-degree reading in Buffalo in a quarter-century shattered a daily high temperature record Saturday.

Bolstered by a strong ridge of southerly air, the mercury toe-touched 90 degrees at 2:52 p.m., according to the thermometer at the National Weather Service station at Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

How rare is that?

Weather records show it has only been as warm in Buffalo this early in the season five times since 1870.

Saturday’s 90-degree reading bested the daily record high for May 28 – 86 degrees set in 2012, 1987 and 1955 – and equaled May marks set on May 23, 1991; May 30, 1987; May 21, 1977; May 5, 1950; and May 31, 1919.

“It was just a very warm, moist air mass,” said Jeff Wood, a weather service meteorologist. “We had an anomalous upper-level ridge on top of us that resulted in an anomalously warm day.”

Anomalous, for sure.

Before Saturday, the most recent 90-degree day in May came a decade ago to the day – May 30, 2006, when it hit 91 degrees.

The highest reading ever recorded in Buffalo before the end of May was 94 degrees. That mark was set twice, on April 28, 1990, and May 22, 1911, records show.

Buffalo was hardly the only record warm spot Saturday.

About two-dozen cities across the Northeast set or tied record high temperatures, including Albany, 93 degrees; Boston, 92 degrees; Newark, N.J., 96 degrees; New York City, 92 degrees; Poughkeepsie, 94 degrees; and Syracuse, 91 degrees.

“It was more like late July,” Wood said of Saturday’s weather.

Temperatures are forecast to remain above average through the end of the week.

Partly sunny conditions with scattered thunderstorms are forecast Sunday with a daytime high in the mid- to upper 80s.

Buffalo’s record for the date is 87 degrees, set in 1987.

Sunshine is expected on Memorial Day, with more-comfortable temperatures in the upper 70s, behind a cold front.

After another sunny day in the upper 70s Tuesday, the mid-80s are forecast to return Wednesday and Thursday, according to the weather service.

email: tpignataro@buffnews.com