Niagara Gazette

Columns

January 9, 2013

GLYNN: Buffalo always gets bum rap for its weather

Niagara Gazette — It's not the “Miami of the North” as the Chamber of Commerce might boast. “The Snow Capital” of the Empire State also is inaccurate, despite what the ski resort operators claim.

We're talking Buffalo here where, incidentally, the summers have not been the hottest in the U.S., as the National Weather Service confirmed Wednesday.

Let's look at the record. The weather service has reported that 2012 was the hottest year ever in the contiguous United States. Last year's 55.3-degree average topped by one degree the previous record set in 1998. 

According to the New York Times, 34,008 daily high records were set at weather stations across the country, compared with only 6,664 record lows. Those readings were tabulated by Weather Channel meterologist Guy Walton. The Times' article also stated that 2012 could be a foretaste of things to come, as the continuing warming pattern makes heat extremes even more likely.

So where were those hot spots in 2012, the infamous list that didn't include the Queen City for a change?

The cities that set temperature records included Lamar, Colo., which hit 112 degrees on June 27; Nashville, Tenn., Athens, Ga.; and Cairo, Ill., 109 degrees on June 29;  and Greenville, S.C., 107 degrees on June 27. Although Western New York as well as other upstate communities experienced some unusually warm weather during the summer, Buffalo's high was 99 degrees, according to Jim Mitchell, meteorolgist based at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, Cheektowaga. 

On a number of other days in July and August, Mitchell noted, the city's temperatures ranged from the low- to the mid-90s. He cited the frequent "good breeze" off Lake Erie that tends to cool off the air along the Niagara Frontier.

Mitchell said that an area weather pattern generally forming from breezes off Lakes Erie and Ontario often converge to bring lower temperatures to the Buffalo-Niagara Region that other places might experience.

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