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Forecasters issue watch for rare April snow
Monday's commute could be a tricky one

A winter storm watch has been issued for Western New York beginning late this evening through Monday.

Yes, you read that right -- a winter storm watch.

The National Weather Service in Buffalo issued the watch on Saturday to prepare locals for a rare April storm shaping up for late today through the overnight hours Monday, when heavy, wet snow is possible.

The timing of the snowfall could make the Monday morning drive to work a bit tricky. Such commutes were relative rarities during much of the snow season.

"We're going to get some [snow], but the amount is a very, very tough call," said meteorologist Jim Mitchell.

"Right now, preliminarily, we're going with 4 to 8 inches for the Buffalo metro area," Mitchell said Saturday. "The Southern Tier is going to take the brunt of this, with probably a foot -- maybe a little more."

It looks like east of Allegany County will get just rain, Mitchell said.

Forecasters, however, are moderately confident that all the ingredients are in place for a late April snowstorm in Western New York and northern Pennsylvania, as a low-pressure system moves north, up the Atlantic coast and temperatures around the region drop into the mid- to low 30s by early Monday.

"It's a pretty rare event, but we do see it," Mitchell said.

Even if the region gets 3 to 4 inches, the snow will be wet and heavy, Mitchell said, increasing the likelihood of downed power lines and damage to tree limbs and branches.

The snow isn't expected to start accumulating until early Monday, so much of today is actually supposed to be pretty nice, with high temperatures nearing 50 degrees, Mitchell said.

"You'd never know something is coming down the pike," he said.

email: jrey@buffnews.com