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Heather’s Weather Whys: the Decade Challenge

Heather puts Buffalo's weather to the Decade Challenge and looks at some of the most noteworthy stats in this week's episode.
Credit: WGRZ

It’s a new year and a new decade. The start of anything new brings about a chance to look back and measure progress or to start over with new goals. When it comes to weather, we can certainly look back and see trends, but unlike a bad diet, we can’t just mentally wipe the slate clean and start over the next time.

The past 10 years produced a couple of pretty bold trends in Buffalo’s weather data, especially concerning temperatures. Between 2010 and 2019, 24 different months made the list of the 10 warmest for each respective month. The only two months that didn’t reach a new top 10: January and June. 

With that many warm months, it not surprising that 2 of the past 10 years reached the top 10 “warmest years” list. Buffalo's warmest year on record is now 2012 and 2016 is the second warmest year on record. Records for these lists go back to the late 1800s.

This same pattern of warming holds up when looking at daily records too. Over the past 10 years, 39 new record warm values (record afternoon highs and record warm morning lows) dramatically outpaced the 13 record cold values (record morning cold and record cold afternoons). To do the math, that’s 75% of the daily records going to the warm side. That almost exactly matches the pace for the rest of the U.S. Since the 1950s, the gap between record warmth and record cold has been expanding with each passing decade. 

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There are signs that average annual precipitation may be increasing too. At the Buffalo Airport, the 30-year average for rain is 40.37”. Over the past 10 years, the average rainfall was 40.92”. 2011 and 2017 were 2 of the 10 wettest years in Buffalo’s weather history with close to 50” of rain. This year boosted the average too with 47.82" making 2019 the 8th wettest year in Buffalo's recorded history.

New episodes of Heather’s Weather Whys are posted to the WGRZ YouTube channel every Wednesday evening. You can also watch it on Thursdays at 5:30 on Channel 2 News.

If you have a weather question for Heather to answer, send it to her at heather.waldman@wgrz.com or connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

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