Here we go again.
The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for northern Erie, Niagara, Genesee and Orleans counties from 10 p.m. today to 10 p.m. Wednesday.
Forecasters are calling for potential accumulations of 4 to 8 inches of snow, with visibility less than half a mile at times and sustained winds of 15 to 20 mph.
At the same time, a more serious winter storm warning has been posted from 10 p.m. today to 4 p.m. Wednesday for southern Erie, Wyoming and the Southern Tier counties. Essentially, that means more snow – possibly 6 to 10 inches, maybe as much as a foot. Winter storm “warnings” are issued when severe weather is expected. “Watches” are posted when heavy snow accumulations are possible.
The culprit this time isn’t the Polar Vortex. It’s a deep low pressure system carrying a lot of moisture that’s supposed to pass through western and central Pennsylvania.
Despite the snow, the good news is that it won’t be as severe as the storms that crippled travel and closed schools throughout the region last month.
Temperatures are expected to be more moderate, with anticipated highs of about 26 degrees today as the sun fades behind increasing clouds and in the mid-20s again Wednesday. Overnight lows are expected to remain almost steady tonight before dropping to the lower teens Wednesday night.
At least those are all well above zero.
This time we can’t blame the usual villain, lake-effect snow.
“Unlike what we’re used to here in Western New York, this is a synoptic system,” National Weather Service meteorologist Dan Kelly said, referring to a more large-scale system.
The storm still was developing out in the Southwest on Monday, creating uncertainty about how much snow will fall and where it will hit hardest. If it tracks northward, we’ll see more snow. If it wanders a bit south, there will be less.
“It’s too early to tell at this point,” Kelly said.