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Winter storm watch posted for Friday; nearly a foot of snow is possible

There's nothing tricky about the weather forecast over the next 24 hours or so.

After that, things get "highly uncertain," the National Weather Service said.

The weather service issued a winter storm watch for all of Western New York from Thursday evening until Friday evening.

"Heavy snow possible," the watch said. "Total snow accumulations of 6 to 11 are possible."

The weather service said snowfall totals will be highly dependent on the elevation where the precipitation falls. Higher elevations will get more snow, it said.

Buffalo's biggest March snowstorms

The storm will start out as rain but as colder air pushes into the region all that moisture is going to switch over to snow sometime Thursday night into Friday morning, said meteorologist John Rozbicki.

This won't be a lake-effect snowstorm, Rozbicki said, but it does have the potential for heavy snow coming down around the Friday morning commute.

"There's still a lot of uncertainty," Rozbicki said. The amount of snow will depend on when the temperature dips below freezing, he said.

Forecasters said even small deviations in the track of the storm or temperature could result in large impacts on snowfall totals. Forecasters said that exact snowfall amounts remained uncertain; however, signs suggest a "conveyor belt" of cold air could result in "more efficient snow accumulation."

Nevertheless, the weather service said to anticipate "difficult travel conditions" during Friday morning's commute.

"Gusty winds and heavy, wet snow could cause tree branches to fall," the weather service said. "Significant reductions in visibility are possible."

Lake Erie ice shrinking faster than usual after recent warm spell

Winds behind the system are also expect to become northerly, setting the stage for some lake enhanced snowfall, the weather service said.

In the meantime, enjoy the mild temperatures. The National Weather Service said it will remain unseasonably warm today with some rain showers dampening things later this afternoon, and again on Thursday.

Today's high temperature is forecast in the low 50s with chances for "widespread soaking rainfall" increasing by about 5 p.m. and continuing into the evening, forecasts show.

Thursday is expected to be in the mid-40s, with rain becoming likely in the early afternoon, forecasters said.

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