Niagara Gazette — Now that the warm weather has finally arrived and the lawn care business is booming, it’s probably inappropriate to talk about the harsh winter.
There’s an exception, however, for Steve McLaughlin, a veteran weather forecaster who recently retired from the Buffalo Office of the National Weather Service. He has earned his reputation of possessing an encyclopedic knowledge of local weather. During a recent meeting at the agency’s office, he presented an informative summary for the benefit of area weather observers.
Some highlights of his in-depth research:
• This past winter — from November to December — it was the coldest five-month period, recorded by the weather station at the Buffalo-Niagara Airport, in 71 years.
• It was the coldest March since 1960 (in 54 years), 20.7 degrees colder than in 2012.
• Overall, it was a dramatic change from the last two winters, especially 2011-12 which recorded the warmest winter ever at the airport office.
• It was the latest date when the Lake Erie ice moved out since 1996. Also, it was the most extensive ice cover in the Great Lakes since 1979. At one point, that ice cover was more than 90 percent on all of the five lakes.
• For the first time in 20 years, in early January the Weather Service reported an official “blizzard.”
• When the Lake Erie-Niagara River ice boom removal began in late April, it was just four days short of the latest date ever for taking the boom out.
• While April and early May were fairly wet, temperatures were normal. The spring growing season was delayed nearly two weeks, which left a lot of farmers griping. (Would you expect any different reaction?)
SPRUCED UP: The O’Connor Family Greenhouse, Lake Road, Town of Porter, has undergone a major facelifting since last season. Customers note the more inviting entrance, better use of space, and the expanded parking lot. The greenhouse and adjacent farmland has been in the family for generations.