First Defense: Dangerous Cold Accompanies Midweek Lake Effect

JAMESTOWN – As we’ve been talking about for sometime now, polar air will invade the region leading to the coldest stretch of weather we’ve seen since February 2014.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for Lake Effect Snow for Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties, going into effect 1 PM Wednesday and running through 7 PM Thursday.

There is also a Wind Chill Watch in effect for Erie and Crawford Counties in PA, effective 4 AM Wednesday until 1 PM Thursday.

The Next 24 Hours: The remainder of today will be rather quiet. More clouds than sun with temps rebounding into the 20s for most areas. A system near Chicago will pass to our west and give us some widespread snowfall tonight and Tuesday.

We’re not expecting anything major out of this; likely 2 to 4 inches at most. The highs on Tuesday will occur early in the morning, with temps sliding through the 20s and the teens by the afternoon.

The Storm Setup: We have been hinting at this for the past seven or eight days that a big-time trough with polar air will come in and bring much of the CONUS extremely cold weather. While HIGH temps on Wednesday will likely range near 20 or 30 below zero in the upper Midwest, the cold across Western New York will not be to that level of extreme but still very dangerous with a very bitting wind chill.

With this amount of polar air to work with, the relatively warmer and unfrozen waters Lake Erie will take all that polar air and run with it, generating a lake snow band late Tuesday. The winds also come up as well, possibly creating near blizzard-like conditions with a lot of blowing and drifting snow.

This will also factor in very dangerous wind chill temperatures. Some spots may flirt with a “Feels Like” temp near 40 below zero Thursday morning. Just for reference, wind chill values in those same spots in the upper Midwest may drop to as low as 70 below zero. Not sure if that will make you feel any better but it’s there for you to use.

In terms of snowfall, there are still some disagreements on the exact totals and how much but preliminary estimates range from 8 to 13 inches on the higher hills to 3 to 5 across lower elevations. These totals could very will change as we continue to examine the newest data today and tomorrow.

The bottom line is, this will be a very rough stretch of extremely harsh winter winter. Use your common sense and don’t stay outside for a lengthy period of time. Dress in layer and cover all exposed skin if you do need to travel.

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