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Lake-effect snow could slow commute Band expected to shift into metro area today

A lake-effect band that dumped up to a foot of snow Monday in parts of Wyoming, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and southern Erie counties was expected to shift north into the Buffalo metro area overnight and complicate travel during this morning's commute.

"Quite a few areas have been hit pretty hard," Buffalo-based National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Pace said Monday evening.

"Arkwright in Chautauqua County, over the last 24 hours, got 11 inches [of snow]," Pace said.

"The storm total over the last 48 hours was about 23 inches."

The storm canceled evening activities across the Southern Tier and made highway travel treacherous, though no major crashes were reported as of late Monday.

How many people would be impacted overnight and into today remained at the whim of the wind.

Pace said wind direction would dictate which areas would be hit hardest, but the lake band was anticipated to lift a bit farther north.

"It's a question of how far north it's going to get," Pace said. "It will at least get up into the northern part of the Southtowns and should get pretty close to Buffalo toward morning."

Winds were expected to veer to a more northwesterly direction this afternoon, which could produce additional snow southeast of Lake Erie.

The National Weather Service forecast 2 to 4 inches of new snow accumulation for the Buffalo metro area today. The high temperature is expected to reach about 26 degrees, with calm winds becoming westerly at 4 mph to 7 mph.

Pace said the wintry weather pattern is expected to continue through to next week, if not longer.

Still unfrozen Lake Erie increases the chance for lake-effect snow, he said.

"The warmer [than usual] late fall and early winter [period] extended the potential for heavy lake-effect snow because lake is wide open," Pace said. "There's no ice on it."


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