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Friday brings warmest winter day on record

Friday brings warmest winter day on record

At 74 degrees, Friday was the warmest day ever recorded in Albany during meteorological winter
Friday brings warmest winter day on record
Alex Laing, 12, left, and Ryan Smith, 11, of Niskayuna play a game of Jackpot on the front lawn of Ryan’s home on Friday.
Photographer: Peter Barber

The all-time February record temperature record set Thursday lasted a day, and was beaten by a full 5 degrees -- the weather record equivalent of winning a hundred-meter dash with 10 meters to spare.

At 74 degrees, Friday was the warmest day ever recorded in Albany during meteorological winter -- the winter season as measured by weather specialists, which runs between Dec. 1 and Feb. 28 each year. The previous high for meteorological winter was on Christmas Eve 2015, when the temperature hit 72 degrees.

The National Weather Service reported that Albany International Airport hit a temperature of 71 degrees at 1:30 p.m. Friday, marking the second day in a row a February temperature record was broken. The afternoon's thermostat peaked at 74 at about 4 p.m., though it dropped to 72 by 5 p.m.

"It's the same warm air mass in place and we again had the same amount of sun," said Kevin Lipton, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Albany. "Glens Falls and Saratoga had more clouds and only got into the mid-60s, but from I-90 south there were records.

Thursday's February record was 69 degrees, which broke a 68-degree temperature record for February that had stood since Feb. 22, 1997.

"We just keep breaking records, and they're big ones," Lipton said.

As of Friday, the National Weather Service in Albany said the average temperature for February has been 30.6 degrees, making this the eighth-warmest February on record. The average February temperature should be 25.9 degrees. By historic average, the weather service said the first 70-degree day in Albany has been May 16.

The early taste of spring ends Saturday afternoon, when a cold front comes in with potentially heavy rains, gusty winds and even the risk of a spring-like thunderstorm or two.

The Mohawk Valley and Adirondacks are under a flood watch through the weekend thanks to the melting snow and coming rain. On Friday, weather service flood warnings were issued for the Black and Moose rivers in the western Adirondacks, though any flooding was expected to be minor to moderate.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation on Friday cautioned drivers in the Hudson Valley that warm temperatures and ground thaw mean that annual amphibian migrations -- which occur on rainy nights -- could happen as early as Saturday night. On such nights, frogs, salamanders and other amphibious creatures are crossing roads, running a high risk of being run over.

By Sunday, the top temperature is expected to be a much-more-normal 40 degrees. By early next week, though, they're expected to bounce back up into the high 40s.

"Compared to our summer warmth it will feel much less bearable," Lipton said. "Normally at this point we'd look forward to upper 40s."

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.


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