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Spring is just around the, um . . . Old Man Winter does an abrupt about-face as snow, cold return

Think spring. But brace for more winter.

Mother Nature's recent spring tease that saw temperatures in the low 60s as late as 9 p.m. Monday was swept out of Western New York in the late evening by gusty thunderstorms ahead of a strong cold front. It was part of the same system responsible for spawning tornadoes across the Midwest a day earlier that killed at least 10 people.

Western New Yorkers, meanwhile, woke up today to a wintry return that is expected to remain for the balance of the week, according to the National Weather Service. The weather service reported a 36-degree reading at 8 a.m.

"We'll have below-normal temperatures with snow showers from time to time over the next few days," National Weather Service meteorologist Joseph Pace said late Monday. "The low has moved up to northern lower Michigan, and the cold front is coming through now."

Officially, spring doesn't begin until Monday, but the region got a preview a week early.

"The warmup was a tease," National Weather Service meteorologist Tom Niziol said today. "We tend to see this in March, which is a very changeable weather month."

Monday's high temperature of 62 degrees was reported several times at Buffalo Niagara International Airport in Cheektowaga, as late as 9:41 p.m. That fell short of the 69-degree record high for the date. The normal high for the date is 41.

A total of 0.95 inches of rain fell Monday at the airport. The record for the date is 1.39 inches.

The rainfall and rapid melting of the snowpack resulted in localized flooding. The Weather Service posted a flood warning for Cazenovia Creek at Ebenezer in West Seneca through 4 a.m. today.

The creek crested just below its 10-foot flood stage overnight, Niziol said.

Minor flooding was predicted for areas east of Orchard Park Road and south of Ridge Road in West Seneca and Cazenovia Park in South Buffalo.

Snow showers were forecast for today and Wednesday. Accumulation today was expected to be about 1 to 3 inches. Temperatures were expected to fall into the upper 20s by this afternoon under windy conditions, meteorologists said. A wind advisory is in effect from 2 a.m. until 7 p.m. today. Gusts could be nearly 50 mph, capable of downing tree limbs or knocking out power.

Snow showers also were forecast for tonight, with breezy conditions and a low temperature of about 25.


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