Unseasonably Warm Weather in Buffalo Causing Problems?

January 6, 2012 Updated Jan 6, 2012 at 6:50 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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January 6, 2012 Updated Jan 6, 2012 at 6:50 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW-TV) - It has been an unusual winter so far across western New York. We've had above average temperatures, relatively little snowfall and Lake Erie is no where close to freezing. The question that many of us are wondering though is why?

"We've really gotten into a persistent pattern," said Kirk Apffel, Meteorologist from the National Weather Service in Buffalo, "where we've had a ridge across the eastern part of the United States and outside of an October storm the northeast and we missed out on we really haven't had many events in this region."

While many of us are enjoying this mild weather, the lack of a normal winter is causing some problems, especially if you enjoy true maple syrup.

"This has a potential to impact our maple producers in that they may have a short season, a compressed season," said Sharon Bachman from the Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Bachman says the warm weather causes the sap to rise up the tree, which is good to a point.

"What you don't want to have is a condition where the sap gets all the way up to the buds on the branches because then you'll get an off flavor in the maple syrup."

The influx of temperatures is also creating a problem for farmers. Bachman says there have been some reports of cattle having respiratory issues. And if the warm weather remains for a prolonged period of time it could cause some concerns for fruit trees.

"Those buds get going in March or April if it continues to be warm and then we get a deep freeze in may that kills and that is when we'll know if we have economic damage," said Bachman.

So what's in store for the rest of winter? There is no ice covering Lake Erie to prevent lake effect snow and many are wondering if we will pay for this warm start in the future.

Apffel says, "there's no strong evidence that because we've gotten off to a slow start that something is in store we very well may have some real hard winter ahead of us or we may continue to be mild."