After two days in the traditional snow belt, lake-effect squalls marched north to Buffalo on Wednesday evening, turning much of the city white just in time for Christmas.
The squalls, dropping as much as an inch of snow per hour, began moving during the late afternoon. They hit Hamburg with eight inches, Orchard Park with six inches and Boston with five inches, bringing the total there to a foot.
Snow already was a foot deep in northern Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties and in parts of Wyoming County. Slippery roads caused numerous minor accidents throughout the snow areas.
The intensity diminished as the snow reached the city. City plows kept their blades up in most sections, except for South Buffalo and along Fuhrmann Boulevard, and kept streets clear with salt, Streets Sanitation supervisor Nick Pordan reported at midevening.
At that time, the squall covered most of Erie County north and west of a line from Angola to Alden. It also extended into nearby Niagara, Genesee and Orleans counties, where an inch of snow was expected south of Albion and Lockport. Pordan noted that the boundary between snow and bare ground stretched through the middle of Buffalo.
"It's snowing up to Ferry Street," Pordan said. "There's only a light dusting north of there."
The National Weather Service office at Buffalo Niagara International Airport in Cheektowaga had received only four-tenths of an inch by 10 p.m. The high temperature Wednesday was 25, but wind chills made it feel like single digits most of the day.
The forecast called for the lake snows to move south again into ski country by this afternoon. Accumulations of six to 10 inches were possible in squall areas, while only flurries were expected elsewhere.
High today and Friday will be in the low 20s, guaranteeing that any snow on the ground will stick around until Santa Claus arrives. Christmas Day is expected to be a bit warmer, with patches of sunshine and scattered snow showers.