At 4:19 p.m. on Friday, the Capital Region crushed an all-time record high temperature for winter when the thermometer in Albany spiked to 74 degrees, as people walked outside in shorts and t-shirts instead of jackets and gloves.
"We totally obliterated several records today," said Kevin Lipton, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service. The previous record high for the day — 65 degrees, set in 1985 — was smashed. Ditto the record high for any day in February, which had never topped 70 in records for Albany region dating back to 1874, he said.
And the big one also fell: 74 is a new record high for any day in what meteorologists called "climatological winter," meaning the months of December, January and February. The old record was 72 degrees, set Christmas Eve in 2015. Eight of the 10 warmest winter days on record in Albany have now been set since 1998.
Recent warmth this week had devastated local snowbanks, and now has the sap running in maple trees for local maple sugar producers. The conditions likely have even triggered the annual amphibian breeding migration, where salamanders and frogs leave underground winter shelters to find open water in which to breed.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation warned drivers to be on the lookout for motivated amphibians starting Saturday night, when temperatures and rainy weather could trigger a nighttime march by the slow-moving creatures.
"When these conditions align just so, there can be explosive ("big night") migrations, with hundreds of amphibians on the move," according to a DEC notice issued Friday. Drivers are encouraged to proceed with caution or avoid travel on the first warm, rainy evenings of the season.
In Albany, Saturday's daily record high of 67 degrees is likely not in jeopardy, but "we can't rule it out, especially if we get more sun and less clouds than we expect," Lipton said. Rain and thunderstorms are also expected, with totals between a 10th and a quarter of an inch.
That rain, combined with melting from remaining snow, could cause some streams and rivers to rise over the weekend, but not to flood stage, according a Weather Service forecast for the Capital Region and Hudson Valley.
Here's the full forecast:
Saturday: A chance of showers before 1 p.m., then rain likely between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., then rain and possibly a thunderstorm after 4 p.m. High near 61. South wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 32 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80 percent. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.
Saturday night: Rain showers before 1 a.m., then a slight chance of rain and snow showers between 1 and 4 a.m., then a slight chance of snow showers afterward. Some thunder is also possible. Low around 31. Blustery, with a northwest wind 16 to 22 mph, with gusts as high as 34 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70 percent. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.
Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 41. West wind 14 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 38 mph.
Sunday night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 25.
Monday: Partly sunny, with a high near 48.
Monday night: /Mostly cloudy, with a low around 32.
Tuesday: A chance of snow showers before 7 a.m., then a chance of rain showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 47. Chance of precipitation is 60 percent.
Tuesday night: A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 37. Chance of precipitation is 40 percent.
Wednesday: Showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 50. Chance of precipitation is 60 percent.
Wednesday night: A chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 34. Chance of precipitation is 50 percent.
Thursday: A chance of snow showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 41. Chance of precipitation is 30 percent.
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