First Defense: Winter Storm Watch For Potentially Heavy Lake Snow Later This Week

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JAMESTOWN – The milder temperatures will soon come to an end as a colder pattern will set the stage for some potentially significant lake effect snow during the later half of the week into the weekend.

The National Weather Service in Buffalo has issued a Winter Storm Watch for Lake Effect Snow for Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties, going into effect at 7 a.m. Thursday and running through 6 p.m. Saturday.

The long duration of lake snow combined with the potential for the bands to become heavy at times could yield significant totals across portions of the Southern Tier.

Through the remainder of today, rain showers will redevelop from south to north as the central low associated with a storm system tracks south of the region through central Pennsylvania. Highs 36 on the hills, 42 near the Lake Erie shoreline.

Rain will mix with snow showers overnight as we’re trapped between the warmer and colder air with the departing low as it moves off the Atlantic coast. Any snow accumulation will be quite minor with maybe upwards of an inch along the hills of the Southern Tier and northwestern Pennsylvania. Lows 33 valleys, 37 shoreline.

The next storm system will follow right behind as moisture out ahead of the storm will change any morning rain and snow showers over to plain rain for the afternoon hours on Wednesday. Highs 37 to 45.

Based on the newest guidance, the low associated with this secondary storm will track out to our east through central New York Wednesday night. With the colder air on the west side of a storm as low pressure always spins counterclockwise, that will open the window for a better chance for more accumulating snow.

However, totals will not be noteworthy with a range between 1 and 3 inches by Thursday morning.

The colder west-southwest air will stay in place which will set the stage for the lake effect snow machine to kick on through the day on Thursday. Bands of localized lake snow will develop off the eastern end of Lake Erie which could be moderate to heavy in intensity at times.

The wind will pick up with gusts possibly 40 to 45 MPH, creating the possibility for blowing and drifting snow, making for hazardous travel.

The lake snow will continue through Friday and Saturday with gusty winds and moderate to heavy snowfall rates that may exceed 1 or 2 inches per hour. Highs will only be in the lower 20’s.

While we cannot give an estimated snowfall range with pinpoint locations at this time, the potential exists for at least 6 inches with even greater amounts along the higher terrain.

The colder air will continue into Sunday with a few leftover lake snow flakes from time to time. Highs in the mid 20’s.

The weather calms down into early next week as seasonable air an partial sunshine returns to the area.

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