You remember this date last year, right?
It was the last in a trio of consecutive 80-degree or above days. Golfers got an early start on the links, Sabres fans poured into First Niagara Center for a game against Montreal wearing shorts with their hockey jerseys, and crocuses were already out in force. Buffalo Niagara seemed to be at the precipice of a sunny, warm summer.
For the record, today’s below-average temperatures and snowy weather are a lot closer to normal.
“It’s not unusual at all,” Jim Mitchell, National Weather Service meteorologist, said of the snowfall and subfreezing mercury on the second full day of spring. “We are below average, but it’s not at all extreme, and we’re not close to breaking any records.”
But he added: “To be stuck in this cold pattern this long may be a little unusual.”
The current cold snap was expected to charge up the lake-effect snow machine. Up to a foot or more of snow was forecasted in the higher terrain south of Buffalo.
A lake-effect snow warning remains through noon today for southern Erie, Wyoming, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. Reduced visibilities were expected on the Thruway in areas between Lackawanna and Westfield, with snowfall rates expected to be between one-quarter and one-half inch per hour.
As of late Thursday morning, Weather Service spotters across the region reported 10.5 inches of snow in Delevan, 7 inches in Forestville and 5.5 inches in Springville. Those numbers were expected to increase dramatically through the evening.
The current pattern of cold weather isn’t going end anytime soon. Snow showers remain in the forecast Saturday with daytime high temperatures staying in the 30s and lows in the upper 20s through at least late next week, forecasters say.
“There’s really not any break until at least the end of the month,” Mitchell said. “Overall, we’re going to be below average.”
Despite the sustained cold weather this month, Buffalo has again enjoyed a considerably less snowy winter than normal. As of about 6 p.m. Thursday, 55.8 inches of snow had been reported at the airport for the season.
The average snowfall for this point in the season is 87.8 inches en route to a total average season of 94.4 inches.
Last year’s winter – which had the third-lowest snow total on record – saw just 36.7 inches of snow with nary an inch falling after Feb. 22.