Lake Erie’s temperature at Buffalo Tuesday remained at 76 degrees, an all-time record high for the date.
Spurred by above-average warmth start to the month, the water temperature has yet to begin its annual retreat, which is typical for September.
The 76-degree reading is a full four degrees warmer than the next warmest water temperature recorded on Sept. 13 over the last half-century. Those readings were recorded in 2012, 2005, 2002, 1996, 1983 and 1971, National Weather Service data shows.
The next warmest temperature on record was 75 degrees on Sept. 13, 1959.
Does that mean there’s a greater chance for a large, and early shot, at lake-effect snow?
Forecasters at the Weather Service, and a survey of past performance, suggests “no.”
“Absolutely not,” said Jon Hitchcock, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service. “A lot can happen to lake temperatures between now and the lake-effect snow season.”
Hitchcock added: “There’s so many other things that go into lake-effect snow. (Temperature) is just one of the factors that go into it.”
Data shows the first snowfall of at least four inches in Buffalo on those above-listed warmest years occurred on Dec. 26, 2012; Nov. 25, 2005; Dec. 1, 2002; Nov. 10, 1996; Nov. 30, 1983; Nov. 20, 1971 and Nov. 28, 1959.