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Gusty winds and rain to buffet WNY, Lake Ontario shoreline today

Fetch your parkas, umbrellas and a set of gloves before heading out this morning.

Today will be damp and raw.

Expect lake-effect rain early in the day and gusty winds this afternoon, forecasters at the National Weather Service said.

Daytime high temperatures will linger in the low 40s but with westerly winds gusting over 30 mph, it'll feel like it's in the 20s.

Those winds, which will shift and become northwesterly by early afternoon, are also expected to push Lake Ontario's waters into shoreline areas.

A lakeshore flood warning is in place for Niagara and Orleans counties all the way east to Watertown until 7 a.m. Friday. (National Weather Service)

The National Weather Service posted a lakeshore flood warning from 1 p.m. to 7 a.m. Friday along the southern shoreline of Lake Ontario between Youngstown and Watertown.

"The strong winds and building waves will combine with above-normal lake levels to increase shoreline erosion," the weather service warning stated.

Lake-effect rain across the metro area will shift southward with the change in wind direction during the afternoon. As temperatures drop, forecasters said the rain will switch over to wet snow.

"A slushy inch or so will be possible on the hilltops of southwestern New York," forecasters stated.

Higher elevations in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties are expected to see up to an inch of wet snow by evening tonight. (National Weather Service)

Places like Ellicottville, Franklinville, Olean and Sinclairville can expect to see the snow.

Otherwise, in the Buffalo metro area, a slight chance for rain and snow is forecast before 8 p.m. with a chance for all snow between 8 and 10 p.m. Overnight lows tonight will be in the high 20s but breezy conditions will make it feel even colder.

High pressure should bring sunny skies to Buffalo for Friday. But, it'll stay chilly.

Daytime highs might not make it out of the 30s, forecasts show.

The next significant storm system is forecast to arrive late Friday into Saturday.

A strong area of low pressure will track just to the north of the Buffalo Niagara region along a line from roughly Detroit to Toronto to Ottawa, forecasters said.

Although Saturday looks to be windy, warm and wet, with temperatures in the low 50s, a trailing cold front has the potential to make the end of the weekend white.

Earlier in the week, forecast models projected a significant lake-effect snowstorm may impact the region behind the cold front, however, the latest data shows the wind direction will likely set up from a west-northwesterly direction, which is less conducive for lake-effect snow.

Forecasters cautioned that is subject to change.

Some lake-effect snow is expected in unorganized lake-bands affecting the traditional snow belt in the southern portion of the region with connections to water bodies farther away like Lake Huron and the Georgian Bay.

This weekend will mark the third anniversary of the double lake-effect snowstorm of November 2014, which buried portions of Western New York under 7 feet of snow in just days.

November 2014's lake-effect snowstorms

Looking further ahead, the next round of lake-effect snow (or the next tease of it) behind another strong cold front could arrive next Tuesday, weather models show.

"Behind the front, the airmass is plenty cold enough to generate another round of lake-effect snows," the weather service said. "This time period will need to be monitored closely especially considering the impact it could have on holiday travel."



 

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