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Who got rain? Not much in Buffalo, but inches were measured to the south

The elements were there Monday for much-needed rainfall across Western New York: a soupy air mass and convective lift ahead of an approaching cold front.

There was plenty of weather — lightning, winds and heavy rain — in places like Springville, Jamestown and Olean.

Estimates are some spots north of Jamestown may have logged as much as 3 inches.

From Buffalo north, the precipitation was paltry, or non-existent.

A measly 0.01 inch of rain fell at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport overnight, the weather service reported. Other spots in Niagara and Orleans counties went dry, according to federal precipitation data.

There's a meteorological explanation for that.

"It's kind of the opposite of lake-effect," said Jon Hitchcock, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service.

Southwest winds flowing over a cooler Lake Erie helped to stabilize the atmosphere from Buffalo north, suppressing thunderstorm development.

"Whenever we have a southwest wind off the lake, the Niagara Frontier tends to miss out on these chances," Hitchcock said.

A dark shelf cloud passed over Evans near Route 5 and Lake Road just before 8 p.m. Monday. A brief downpour dropped a quick one-quarter inch of rain or so. (Image captured from a video by T.J. Pignataro/Buffalo News)

So far, the airport — Buffalo's official measuring station — has recorded only 0.33 inches in July.

That's more than 1.25 inches below normal coming on the heels of significantly drier than normal months of May and June.

And, there's little chance for more rain until the end of the week, Hitchcock said.

Small chances for rain are in the forecast on Saturday with better opportunities Sunday and Monday, he said.

After a precipitation-laden winter and spring, the recent extended dry spell has pushed most of Western New York out of the Southern Tier into what the Federal Drought Monitor classifies as "abnormally dry" conditions.

(U.S. Drought Monitor)

"Right now, it's just a surface soil issue. Gardens and stuff," Hitchcock said. "It hasn't gone on long enough to influence ground water."

Hitchcock added: "But, if it continues to go on later into the summer, it could become an issue."

Don Paul: We're not in a drought. At least not yet.



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