Western New York’s traditional snow belts are about to get belted again. Some areas could get more than a foot Thursday and Friday.
A lake-effect snow warning from 4 p.m. Thursday to 10 p.m. Friday has been issued by the National Weather Service for the southern half of Erie County, along with Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Wyoming counties.
Forecasters say that the snow will accumulate continually, beginning with an inch or so late Thursday, another 4 to 7 inches Thursday night, 3 to 6 inches Friday and another inch as the storm diminishes Friday night. The deepest snowfall is expected in the Boston Hills and along the Chautauqua Ridge.
Strong west winds, blowing at 15 to 25 mph and gusting to 40 mph, are likely to produce heavy drifting and whiteout conditions in bands of lake-effect squalls, causing dangerous driving conditions. Winds are expected to be strongest Thursday night.
Lake-effect snow advisories also are posted for Allegany County, primarily the western portions, where 4 to 7 inches are possible from 4 p.m. Thursday to 10 p.m. Friday, and for Orleans County, where 3 to 6 inches could fall in areas close to Lake Ontario from 1 a.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Saturday.
Snow also will fall outside the warning and advisory areas, but it should be light – an inch overnight and less than an inch each day Thursday and Friday, meteorologists say.
Temperatures should reach the mid to upper 30s Thursday, then drop back to about 30 Thursday night and Friday as a cold front passes through.
The outlook for Saturday is a bit warmer and still windy, with rain and snow showers tapering off for New Year’s Eve festivities Saturday evening.