Lake Effect Snow Becomes Heavy Late, Turns Sharply Colder By Weeks End

JAMESTOWN – As we’ve advertised, lake effect snow has set up shop across the Southern Tier this afternoon.

The National Weather Service maintains the Winter Storm Warning much much of the Southern Tier until 6 PM Thursday evening for potentially heavy lake effect snow.

Given that much of the Great Lakes are hooked up in tandem with a northwest wind from the source, that will prolong the overall length of this event as Lake Erie will benefit from added moisture from the Upper Lakes.

First Defense Doppler showing the Great Lakes working together ot produce bands of lake effect snow

With a northwest wind aloft, we often get multiple bands of lake effect generated instead of the typical single band. We are expecting these bands to become better organized as we progress throughout the afternoon and evening, dropping some heavy snow totals along the hills and in Ski Country.

Lake effect will be with us early on Thursday but the winds will still be a factor, creating some blowing and drifting snow. Caution will be needed for the morning comminute.

Lake effect will begin to wind down throughout the day on Thursday before dissipating Thursday afternoon into just a few leftover flurries.

I have, once again, revised the snowfall projection through Thursday afternoon based on the newest data. I’m thinking a good 8 to 11 inches are likely across lower elevations, with the bulk of that coming tonight as the bands intensify.

As often is the case with lake effect, the Lake Erie shoreline communities won’t see as much; possibly up to 5 inches there.

Once you rise up into the hills of the Southern Tier, especially on and near the Chautauqua Ridge and in Ski Country, totals upwards of 13 to 15 inches there, possibly even a little bit more depending on how organized the bands get.

Temperatures just fall down a cliff for Friday as we will struggle to hit 20 throughout the day. Some moderate improvement will occur over the weekend as we’ll see some partial sun in between a few snow showers but that’s not going to help in the temperature department.

We remain in a wintertime pattern through early next week.

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