Record-breaking weather precedes possible relief for WNY drought

Aug 15, 2016

Weekend weather broke local records, but not the kind most Western New Yorkers might think. The sultry temperatures and conditions are expected to be followed by more of the same, but with some added relief for current drought conditions.

National Weather Service Meteorologist William Hibbert said the weekend’s weather broke two records – one which stood for nearly 30 years, and another for almost 100. Overnight lows were the warmest they’ve ever been for both Saturday and Sunday.

“They were both 76 degrees for both mornings. One was set in 1918, and the other in 1988. People can remember 1988 as also being a very hot summer period as well, where we do have a lot of records from 1988. We didn’t break any of those ’88 record for high temperatures, just those low temperatures,” Hibbert explained.

Saturday saw varied rainfall around the area, but Hibbert said less than a tenth of an inch was recorded at the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport weather station. Reports from around Erie County indicated that some areas received in excess of a half an inch. It’s not much towards alleviating the area’s ongoing drought, but Hibberts said there’s hope in the week to come.

Brown lawns with spots of green at Delaware Park are suffering from the drought that has been gripping Western New York.
Credit Avery Schneider / WBFO News

The weather systems that are causing devastating flooding in the southern U.S. could have a silver lining.

“Unfortunately for the folks in Louisiana, tropical moisture is pooling across the Gulf of Mexico and working its way northward through the Mississippi Valley and into the Ohio Valley, and eventually into the Great Lakes region,” said Hibbert.

The wet weather is expected to hit Western New York in the first half of the week, but not with nearly as much volume as the southern U.S. has been seeing.

“We don’t need as much rain as they got,” said Hibbert. “A lot of places in Louisiana saw more than a foot. Some locations have seen more than two feet of rain. We don’t need that. We’ll be happy if we just get a couple of inches of rain through this next coming work week.”

Looking beyond the week, Hibbert said Western New Yorkers may have to think about getting their lawnmowers out again.

“Within a couple of weeks after seeing the return of rainfall, we’ll see the rain rejuvenating the grasses. We’ll have to trim up the yard again before too long.”

Forecasts are calling for heavy rain and a chance of showers and thunderstorms through Thursday, with highs in the low 80s.