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More than a foot of snow could accompany bitter cold in coming days

You’re going to want to snuggle up with your valentine.

We’ve got lake-effect snow – quite a bit of it. And serious cold – of the polar vortex variety – stopping by for a weekend rendezvous.

On Friday morning, a southwest wind blowing right up Lake Erie is going help set up a lake-effect band across southern Erie and Wyoming counties, said David Thomas, meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s station in Buffalo. He said that band is expected to slowly work its way north during the early-morning hours.

It should reach into the metro Buffalo area out to the airport and stretching toward Akron sometime between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m.

Yup, that would be the morning rush hour.

Snow could be falling at a rate of up to two inches per hour during this time. “It’ll likely be coming down pretty heavy,” Thomas said.

It will still be cold – with highs only in the lower 20s.

Winds will pick up as well, with gusts around 35 mph, which will make for difficult driving conditions, with whiteouts expected, especially in open areas.

The band is expected to park itself over the metro Buffalo area all day. By nighttime, anywhere from seven to 14 inches of snow is expected to have fallen.

The snow should be stopping Friday night. The reason?

An Arctic front, which some people like to call the polar vortex, is dipping down into the region. It will push the lake-effect band south, which will drop a couple of inches of snow in Southern Erie County before fizzling out.

That Arctic front is bringing, as Thomas put it,“the coldest air of the season.”

Not exactly a dozen long-stem roses.

Late Friday night, the mercury will stand at around 10 degrees. Then it will drop and keep dropping.

During the day Saturday the highs will be in the lower single digits. By Sunday morning – Valentine’s Day – it could get down to minus-10. The wind chill could be as low as minus-25 to even minus-30.

It hasn’t been this cold since last February. Who could forget that month.

Thomas recalled that in February 2015 “it snowed virtually every day.” It was the third snowiest February on record.

But the good news is, unlike last year, this cold front is just a weekend guest and temperatures will moderate, getting up to the 30s by Monday, the Presidents’ Day holiday.

But don’t let your guard down just yet. Forecasters are keeping an eye on a front that could bring rain or snow later next week.

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