Lake Erie is 34 degrees today and 99.7 percent free of ice.
That's fueling today's lake-effect snows that are forecast to bring up to six inches of snow to areas of Southern Erie, Wyoming, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. The National Weather Service posted a lake-effect snow advisory for those areas.
Less than an inch is likely in the Buffalo metro area, according to an updated forecast this afternoon.
The lake-effect snow was falling at a rate of 1-2 inches per hour in the Southern Tier early this afternoon, but was expected to trek northward as the day wears on. Any accumulation in the metro area will fall before 10 p.m., forecasts show.
The advisory runs through 1 a.m. Winds could gust as high as 35 mph, which could reduce visibility on the roads considerably in the areas affected by the snow bands.
The blast is part of a bitterly cold northwest flow of Canadian air being pulled into the region behind the passing storm system early today that brought freezing rain, sleet and a coating of ice across the area overnight.
It's just the second time in a dozen years the lake temperatures has been above freezing on March 2.
The last time, 2012, it was 35 degrees.
That's an amazing change from the last two years, when the lake found itself more than 95 percent encrusted in ice that was more than a yard thick in some areas.
The average amount of Lake Erie ice-cover for this date is about 56 percent, according to NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.