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Lake-effect snow, brisk winds envelop region in wintry swirl Near-whiteout includes 20-car Thruway crash

A lake-effect snowstorm whipped through Western New York late Monday and into today, resulting in gusting winds, a biting wind chill and several inches of snow in many areas.

Wind-whipped snow created near-whiteout conditions in several areas near the Lake Erie shoreline and across open areas during the rush hour Monday, resulting in a 20-car pileup on the Thruway between Ridge Road and the Aurora Expressway in West Seneca. State troopers said there were no serious injuries.

The outbound Skyway was closed to traffic for about an hour, from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m., because of severely limited visibility.

Meanwhile, the effect of Sunday's winter storm that battered the East Coast delayed some flights arriving or departing from Buffalo Niagara International Airport.

By about 9 p.m., the airport reported 2.1 inches of snow Monday, but blowing and drifting snow with winds gusting above 30 mph made travel on the ground treacherous in many spots.

Visibility was reduced in the squall areas to a quarter of a mile or less at times, with snow falling at rates of about an inch an hour.

Meanwhile, police in Niagara County reported some minor fender benders as roads became slicker in the evening. Downed power lines closed Porter Road at Tuscarora Road for a while.

By midevening Monday, the lake-effect snow band, fueled by cold air and southwest winds passing over unfrozen Lake Erie, shifted into the Buffalo metro area and north.

The city's northern and northeastern suburbs and areas of Niagara, Orleans and Genesee counties were reporting moderate to heavy snow.

The band was expected to move southward after midnight and settle south of the metro area through about 6 a.m. Up to 6 inches of snow was expected in the metro area and in areas affected by the squalls, the National Weather Service said.

The snows were expected to weaken today as warmer air begins to work its way into the area. Rain is forecast by midweek.

In the meantime, snow showers, with new accumulation totals of less than an inch, were likely before 10 a.m., with mostly cloudy conditions and a high temperature of about 35 degrees. A slight chance of rain and snow, with a low temperature of about 30, was expected tonight, with rain forecast Wednesday and Thursday. A high temperature of about 40 is expected for both days.


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