Mothball your shorts, tank tops and sandals; drag out those sweaters, wool socks and parkas – the skies, they are a-changin’.
October – one of Western New York’s most changeable weather months – is about to make a hard turn for the chilly after above-average warmth graced its first-half, according to forecasters.
With the passage of a cold front late Wednesday afternoon, those once sunny skies with daytime highs in the 60s and 70s gave way to cool and wet conditions that will become the pattern across Buffalo Niagara for the next week or two. Temperatures are expected to drop as low as the upper 30s over the next few days with daytime highs not escaping the 50s. The mercury could drop even further later next week.
“This cold front signals the initial change where we’re looking at a significant period of upper-level troughing in the Northeast staying in place through next week,” said Kirk Apffel, National Weather Service meteorologist.
That “upper-level troughing” essentially means more cooler air will be pulled down from Canada as a northwesterly weather flow sets up, Apffel explained. It marks a demonstrated change in the weather pattern, which up to now, had been marked by ridges of a southwesterly flow of air that resulted in the warmer than average conditions from the start of the month through Tuesday.
Temperatures were at or above 70 degrees for nine of the first 15 days this month, including a daytime high of 83 degrees on Oct. 6. The daily average temperature was at or above normal every one of those first 15 days – nearly 8 degrees above average overall – with the mercury at least 10 degrees warmer than average on four of those days, according to weather service reports.
Stark changes like Wednesday’s, however, aren’t surprising.
“It’s a transition month,” said Apffel about October weather. “The average high temperature starts out in the mid 60s and ends the month in the 50s. That means a lot.”
The average date for the region’s first freeze of the season at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport is Oct. 24.
It is Nov. 9 for the airport’s first “hard freeze” at 28 degrees or below.
“It’s not that unusual we haven’t frozen yet, but we’re certainly getting there,” said Apffel.
Buffalo Niagara isn’t the only region affected by this changing weather pattern.
AccuWeather’s Global Weather Center in State College, Pa., forecasts the eastern two-thirds of the nation to be under cooler than average conditions with a “core of cold” air stretching from the Dakotas to about Albany and as far south as the Kentucky-Tennessee border.
Forecasters are keeping an eye on weather events halfway across the globe to project the weather here.
Typhoons in the western Pacific region curving east of mainland Asia “typically help change steering winds in the eastern United States 6-10 days in the future,” according to AccuWeather forecasters.
Already, areas of the country including Green Bay, Wis., and areas of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and the panhandle of Texas were under National Weather Service frost advisories or freeze warnings Wednesday.
Snowfall was projected for areas of Montana and Wyoming.
By next Tuesday evening, temperatures in Buffalo Niagara are forecast to drop even further than they will over the next few days.
They could bottom out far enough, in some places outside the metro area, that there could be some snow in parts of the region.
“With this pattern,” said Apffel, “it’s not out of the realm of possibility the interior areas and higher terrain might see the first snowfall of the year.”