Above-average temperatures in December, January and the first half of February has kept most of Lake Erie wide open.
That leaves the Buffalo Niagara region vulnerable to lake-effect snow when it grows cold and the conditions ripen.
The next round of lake-effect snow could come Wednesday and Thursday south of Buffalo, according to the National Weather Service.
Up to a foot in the most persistent lake snows are possible in southern Erie, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties.
Possible. But, not certain.
Weather service forecasters rate the confidence of a snow storm at "low to medium" as of this morning's issuance of a lake-effect snow watch for those affected areas.
It could be the last punch from winter for a while.
Extended forecasts show a sustained warmup starting Saturday throughout the eastern half of the United States, including the Buffalo Niagara region.
That seems more certain.
"For those of you that enjoy winter and all it has to offer," National Weather Service forecasters said this morning, "you may want to savor these next few days as a fairly big pattern change is on the horizon."
Temperatures should reach the mid to upper 40s Saturday and continue through the holiday weekend and beyond.
Tuesday could reach into the upper 40s to near 50 degrees, according to forecast maps.
Average high temperatures for this point in February are in the low to mid 30s.