Consider it the rite of a still-distant spring.
On Saturday – mostly sunny, with temperatures in the 50s – many were ready to move on and out to chase and wash away those winter blues, including the caked-on road salt, grit and grim mind-set of the seemingly endless season.
An even more hopeful sign panned out in Cherry Creek, Chautauqua County, where 8-year-old Kadyn Logan – bare-armed, wearing a tank top and channeling an entrepreneurial spirit – peddled lemonade in front of his home on Maple Avenue, snow still covering the rural landscape.
For the record, the temperature topped out at 56 degrees, according to the National Weather Service – well shy of the record of 63 degrees set in 1981. And even that modest level of warmth was tempered by a windchill, with brisk winds from the west and southwest peaking at 36 mph and gusting up to 52 mph.
Still, it’s hard to complain about day in the 50s, or even the 40s, when average temperatures for this time of year typically hover in the mid-30s.
“It’s still well above average,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Mitchell.
In the spirit of, “We’ll take it,” folks on the first day of a Presidents’ Day weekend seized the opportunity to bask in the rare moderation of a February day. A spokeswoman for the Delta Sonic car chain said Saturday that every location in Buffalo was busy, confirming the obvious: “It was very lovely weather.”
Even better news: while highs are supposed to fall into the 40s Sunday and Monday, the forecast shows numbers climbing back to 50 degrees or higher by midweek.
“We may touch 60,” Mitchell said, looking ahead to sunny Wednesday.
Buffalo wasn’t alone in its happy experience with warmer temperatures. Thanks to a jet stream keeping colder temperatures “bottled up” in Canada, Mitchell said, most of the eastern half of the United States enjoyed more warmth than winter usually sends.
One patron of the Delta Sonic on Main Street in Buffalo called Saturday’s blissful weather was “an excellent time” to keep his car clean.
At the Starbucks at West Chippewa Street and Delaware Avenue, Korry Smith said he was overjoyed by the beautiful weather. Meanwhile, his son, Elijah, had one word for the February warmth: “Awesome.”
Jeff Tillman of Rochester, part of a group at near Niagara Square preparing to tour downtown Buffalo, said he was thankful and surprised by the sunshine and mild temperatures.
A look ahead at the next week shows that with the exception of a couple of showers, local residents should have few causes for complaint. Mitchell said he sees no 24-hour period with freezing temperatures in the foreseeable future.
That presents a sharp contrast to Feb. 18 in 1979, when the record low sank to a teeth-chattering minus 18.