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Roll back the calendar, wintry weather returns for April's first week

It sounds like an April Fools' joke.

Back-to-back snowstorms. In April.

Snowfall estimates for the first round - late Saturday into Sunday morning - show that most areas of Western New York will pick up 2 to 4 inches, according to the National Weather Service. Up to 6 inches are possible in "lake-enhanced" areas southeast of Lake Erie.

The weather service posted a winter weather advisory from 5 p.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. Sunday for all of Western New York. Wind gusts up to 40 mph are forecast to combine with the snow falling late Saturday resulting in visibility of less than a half-mile, at times, the weather service reported.

About 3.5 inches of snow is forecast to fall between 8 p.m. Saturday and 8 p.m. Sunday. That's more than three times the snowfall for the entire month of March. (NWS)

About 3.5 inches of snow is forecast to fall between 8 p.m. Saturday and 8 p.m. Sunday. That's more than three times the snowfall for the entire month of March. (NWS)

Then, forecasters said a second round of "noteworthy synoptic snow" is anticipated Sunday night into Monday with a passing Canadian Clipper system. Snowfall estimates for that event should become clearer by Saturday.

Early forecasts show there's a 30 to 50 percent chance that more than four more inches could fall in the metro Buffalo area.

Need to plan your weekend around the weather? Here's what to expect:

Saturday (daybreak through dinnertime): Chance for cold rain showers

There's a 20 percent chance for rain showers, but they'll be chilly. Temperatures will rise slowly out of the mid-30s to about 40 degrees by 11 a.m. and top out at about 42 degrees about 2 p.m. before dropping back into the 30s by 6 p.m., weather service forecasts show.

Saturday (8 p.m.) to Sunday (8 a.m.): Snow, heavy at times

Winds abruptly shift with a passing cold front and become northerly. An evening rain-snow mix turns over to all snow by about 9 p.m. Temperatures drop into the 20s after midnight and bottom out at about 24 degrees by 6 a.m., the weather service forecast reports. About three inches of general snowfall are expected in areas of Western New York along the New York State Thruway and south of it. Up to 5 inches of snow are expected in areas southeast of Lake Erie from lake-enhanced or lake-effect snowfall.

Sunday (8 a.m.) to Sunday (8 p.m.): Brisk, February-esque

Temperatures only rebound to about the freezing point for a high during the day Sunday, which is nearly 20 degrees below average for the date. Additional snowfall accumulations of less than an inch are possible, mainly before 2 p.m., according to weather service forecasters. Northwest winds become more westerly into Sunday afternoon. Wind chills will make it feel closer to 20 degrees.

The National weather Service map for Saturday shows heavy snow is possible in Western New York.

The National weather Service map for Saturday shows heavy snow is possible in Western New York.

Bernie Rayno, a chief meteorologist at AccuWeather, said the weekend forecast isn't to be taken lightly.

"I don't think people are ready for what's coming Saturday night into Sunday," Rayno said on a seven-minute AccuWeather video Friday.

"I think a lot of people are thinking it's spring," Rayno added. "Well, it's not going to feel like spring."

Extended forecast (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday)

And, early next week won't be any more spring-like.

Frigid Arctic air invades the Buffalo Niagara region behind the passing storm systems.

The late Sunday Clipper system will start ushering more snow into the region after 9 p.m. An overnight low of 26 degrees is expected.

Snow continues into Monday before tapering off by early afternoon. Daytime highs are forecast in the mid 30s.

The Arctic air gets an even stronger hold over the region late Monday.

Temperatures overnight Monday are forecast to drop into the teens and the mercury won't get out of the 20s during the day Tuesday.

After dropping back to about 20 degrees overnight Tuesday, the thermometer will finally start to regulate itself by Wednesday.

Wednesday's high is forecast to be 45 degrees, which is still about six degrees below normal for the date.

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All-in-all, what's likely to result over the first four days of April is at least a half-foot or more of snow across portions of Western New York.

On average, only about 3 inches of snow falls in Buffalo during April, and no April since 2005 has logged more than 2.3 inches of snow for the entire month.

The wintry blast, which is being generated by the passage of successive cold fronts that is pulling even deeper polar air down into the region, comes on the heels of one of the 10 warmest months of March on record in Buffalo.

It was the eighth-straight month of above-average temperatures in Buffalo, featuring three full weeks of above-normal warmth that brought less than an inch of snow over its 31 days, and a 70-degree Easter Sunday.

 

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