Farmers and boaters. Golfers and roofers. Dogs and the people walking them.
Absolutely everyone is enjoying the perfect weather here – except, perhaps, those who love to complain about the weather. For them, we offer this headline from Friday’s Buffalo News: “Minnesota, Wisconsin buried in deep snow.”
And by Friday, we mean yesterday.
In Buffalo, on the other hand, our forecast as far as the eye can see is the same as the week just passed: nothing but warm golden circles, with maybe a puff of cloud tossed in for accent.
“Warm and dry,” is what Jim Mitchell from the National Weather Service has to say. “The first changes won’t come in until late in the weekend of next week, when we could be a little cooler and a little wetter.”
In meteorological terms, we are “under an Omega block,” Mitchell says, “and we’re in the sweet spot.”
Sweet indeed. About 500 miles away, Midwesterners can look forward to continued wet and cold, although the snow is expected to give way to freezing rain and sleet.
Here, we can boast of being above average, as far as temperatures are concerned, with the highest marks going to the coming weekend with daytime temperatures in the high 70s.
“For this time of year, we should be in the low 60s,” Mitchell said. “We’re measuring at 15 degrees or so above normal.”
This is not record-breaking weather; highs would have to flirt with 90 degrees for that. Instead, this is destination weather – and for anyone in the vicinity of local waterways, that is the destination.
And they can’t wait.
The Small Boat Harbor, south of downtown on Fuhrmann Boulevard, will be opening a week early, Wednesday instead of May 15. Even so, some sailors can’t wait.
“They have actually been launching their boats down there in the past few days,” said Douglas Hartmayer, spokesman for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, which manages the harbor. “They don’t mind.”
Boaters arriving at the harbor for the first time will notice improvements this season – new decking, a new launch ramp, more picnic tables and restroom facilities, for starters.
“Mother Nature is doing her part, and we’re doing our part,” Hartmayer said.
Along the Buffalo River, diners were basking in the sunshine Friday outside Liberty Hound at Canalside. They have been out there all week, and seats will be filled this weekend, too.
“We had been worried about the weekend early this week because we heard it might rain, then we saw that it was going to be sunny and in the 70s,” said manager Jessamyn Springer. “We’re very excited about that.”
Near where the river flows into Lake Erie, you can smell the fresh blue paint that is shining on the decks of the Miss Buffalo II, newly arrived from her winter port at Rich Marine and being readied for her first charter cruises, scheduled to start May 14.
Landward, planting season no longer feels like a distant dream. A worker on a compact Kubota excavator was turning the soil in the flower beds at Erie Basin Marina, while another raked by hand. You could hear the hoe scraping and clinking against small stones, much different from the thunk and thwack gardeners heard trying to move dirt in their yards a few wet weeks ago.
Shoppers and strollers were out along Elmwood Avenue, still transitioning from spring to summer. Linda Matt, owner of Positively Main Street on Elmwood, said she had seen lots of people carrying coffees, but no ice cream cones yet.
“This weather makes you love Buffalo,” Matt said, echoing the sentiments of practically everyone who could get outside Friday. “The trees are fabulous; the magnolias are out.”
“Everyone is in a great mood, happy, smiling, shopping,” she said. “I personally would be at the park or the beach, but as I am pinned down here, I am enjoying it with the door open and seeing all the happy people.”
Among her customers were women who were in town to visit the Junior League’s 2013 Decorators’ Show House at the Knox Summer Estate in East Aurora. Luckily for them, the house is open weekdays, Tuesdays through Friday mornings from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and evenings from 6 to 9 p.m., along with all day Saturday and Sunday, since this weekend’s “sunny and pleasant” forecast could mean long lines. But, standing in line with nice people on a sunny day in May is not necessarily a bad thing.
Area golf courses, dried out from the wet April, also are doing banner business. At Grover Cleveland Golf Course in Buffalo, golfers are playing dawn till dusk.
Asked if some players are also playing hooky, a spokesman for the course, who wished to remain anonymous himself, chuckled and said, “We don’t get into that. We assume it’s a day off when we see a familiar face.”
The sun also is shining on people shopping for a new place to live, or wanting to sell the one they have.
“Houses look so much nicer in the spring, when you’re looking at them through a buyer’s eyes,” said Tom Fox, who works in Hunt Real Estate’s Williamsville office.
He said it is an encouraging change after the unseasonably dreary weather of the last couple of months.
“The market was kind of quiet in March. Houses don’t look very nice with dirty snow and when it’s gloomy out,” Fox said. “When the flowers are blooming, the houses look better outside, and with the nice natural light, they look better inside.”
And the longer those flowers bloom, the better for local fruit growers, who now have a good chance of recovering from a dismal 2012.
Trees last year bloomed early, only to be bitten by bitter frosts that caused catastrophic damage to apple and cherry crops, and other fruit. This year, the blossoms took their sweet time, a blessing for growers and everyone with a nice ornamental cherry or crab apple tree in their yard.
Also, unlike the typical local spring, the flowers were not followed by heavy rain and gusting winds. They are still there, framed by blue skies and green lawns that are already shaggy even though we just mowed them Tuesday.
And really, have the forsythias ever looked this good?