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This week's warmup could bring ice jam flooding, stormy skies

The January thaw is coming.

Temperatures are forecast to rapidly increase starting Wednesday morning. They'll be into the 40s by afternoon, into the 50s on Thursday and remain above freezing until later Friday afternoon, the National Weather Service projects.

Today's high is 31 and it's forecast to be partly sunny and breezy.

Showers are likely Wednesday and could continue for periods through early Friday.

With the rising mercury and rain, could come a lot of melting snow and ice jams causing flooding on the Buffalo Niagara region's creeks and streams, the National Weather Service said.

"The combination of rain and snowmelt may bring an increased risk of flooding, particularly Thursday night and Friday," the weather service said in a hazardous weather outlook for the region. "Ice jams are also possible as the warming temperatures and rising flows break up the extensive ice on area creeks."

Upper 50s are forecast in Buffalo for Thursday. The daily record is 59 degrees set in 2006. (NWS Buffalo)

Dewpoints are expected to be in the 40s with gusty southerly winds above 30 mph Thursday afternoon, adding two significant elements to the mix which will hasten snow melt.

As of yet, no watches or warnings were issued.

The National Weather Service's regional snow analysis shows the snowpack in many spots of the region, especially south of Buffalo, to be between 2 and 6 inches.

The deepest snow pack is located south of Buffalo. (National Weather Service's Office of Water Prediction)

That could pose flooding threats with significant melting.

Edward M. Cotter fireboat breaks ice in Buffalo River to prevent flooding

Forecasters are also keeping close eyes on an expected cold front that's expected to cross the region Friday with a trailing storm system. Depending on the track of the system, the Buffalo Niagara region could be subjected to warmer temperatures and more rain with continued flooding risk, or "significant snow" if it tracks in a different direction, the weather service said.

That should become clearer in the next few days.

Tonight's temperature should bottom out around 18 degrees by 1 a.m. before it begins to rise through the night into the mid 20s by 7 a.m. and above freezing an hour or two later with a southerly flow of air, forecasts show.

Temperatures will increase overnight into the 40s by Wednesday and 50s on Thursday, forecasts show. (National Weather Service)

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