JAMESTOWN – As we have been discussing throughout much of this week, a major winter storm will move through the region over the weekend with the potential for heavy snow and sleet with much colder air arriving early next week.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for all of Western New York, effective 6 a.m. Saturday until 1 a.m. Sunday.
There is also a Winter Storm Watch For Lake Effect Snow for Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties, effective 1 a.m. Sunday until 7 a.m. Monday.
While the rest of the day today will be mainly dry with some peaks of sunshine, it will remain quite chilly with highs only in the upper teens to lower 20’s.
The bigger story will be this weekend with a deep Low pressure area tracking to our north and west. This track will equate out to a rather messy Saturday and a windy and snowy Sunday with bands of heavy lake effect setting up off the eastern end of Lake Erie.
Precipitation will start as an area-wide snow on Saturday, mixing with sleet and maybe some pockets of freezing rain early in the day. We do believe we will mix in more sleet than freezing rain so that will tend to keep the glazing to a minimum. Still, some slick spots are possible.
There may even be some areas of plain rain showers, especially near the Lake Erie Shoreline where the temperatures will be warmer. This could also aid in creating icy patches as any standing water will likely freeze later in the day.
Snowfall from Saturday will likely range between 4 to 5 inches on the hills of the Southern Tier and 2 to 4 inches across the lower elevations.
As the winds shift to the west and race across the ice-free waters of Lake Erie, that will generate bands of lake effect snow that could be moderate to heavy in intensity throughout the day on Sunday.
Travel will be come tough as the winds will pick up 20 to 40 MPH with gusts possibly near 50 MPH at times, producing blowing and drifting snow with whiteouts possible.
By the time the lake snow settles on Monday, the hillier terrain could receive as much as 13 inches of fresh lake effect with localized totals maybe upwards of 15 inches, 8 to 10 inches along the lower elevations with localized amounts up to 13 inches possible.
It will then become much colder into early next week with highs only in the teens and morning lows in the single digits. We’ll return to a more calmer and average pattern by the middle of next week.
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