Abundant sunshine mixed with a warm southern airstream lead to a new record-high temperature records being set Thursday, and people took the rare opportunity to stroll the baby or dine al fresco in February. A few even got their motorcycles out.
The Albany International Airport, where official records are kept, recorded 69 degrees at 3 p.m., shattering the previous Feb. 23 high of 62-degrees and setting a new all-time February high for Albany. The previous February high was 68 degrees, recorded on Feb. 22, 1997.
The day saw more sunshine than forecasters had expected.
"There was a potential for clouds and fog this morning, but it never formed, so we had sunshine all morning and afternoon, and that lead to record highs," said National Weather Service meteorologist Kevin Lipton.
The normal high temperature for the day, according to the weather service, would be 37 degrees.
Meanwhile, the weather service issued a flood watch for the entire Adirondacks and much of the Mohawk Valley from Friday evening through Sunday evening.
A strong cold front expected to reach the region Saturday will bring up to an inch of rain in some places, while warm temperatures cause snow to melt.
"The combination of rain and snowmelt is expected to produce runoff into area rivers, resulting in possible minor flooding this weekend," the weather service said in an advisory. "Flooding is also possible in poor drainage and low-lying areas, especially where snow blocks storm drains."
For those going to the Adirondack High Peaks this weekend, the state Department of Environmental Conservation said there's been significant melting at lower elevations, but a risk of avalanche remains at higher altitudes. DEC issued a rare avalanche warning last weekend, citing instability caused by cycles of snowstorms followed by warmth.
Warm temperatures are expected to continue through Saturday, with a return to seasonally normal temperatures -- highs in the upper 30s -- on Sunday.