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Long-overdue snow is on the way, along with strong wind, forecasters say

Dreams of a white Christmas are toast, but a white New Year is possible.

That's because up to 5 inches of snow was expected to fall over the Buffalo metro area today, and there's the potential for possible snow over the weekend.

The snow, which was expected to turn over from rain just after midnight, was forecast to run through dinnertime tonight due to a passing low-pressure system ushering in colder air behind it, according to meteorologists from the National Weather Service.

The Weather Service had issued a Winter Weather Advisory for the Buffalo area to run through 6 p.m. calling for snow and blowing snow with up to two inches by dawn and an additional 1 to 3 inches today.

"Besides the snow amounts -- which are somewhat marginal for an advisory -- as this low moves by, winds will be picking up out of the west," said Jeff Wood, Weather Service meteorologist.

Northwesterly winds from 20 to 35 mph today could drop visibilities to a quarter-mile or less in some areas and push wind-chill values into the single digits. Because of the snow, rapidly falling temperatures -- expected to be in the lower 20s today -- and winds, motorists were cautioned to beware of icy road conditions following more than a quarter-inch of rain Tuesday.

Still, today will be a relatively quick flash of winter in an otherwise very unwinterlike November and December. Temperatures are expected to head above freezing again by Thursday and stay there through the weekend.

Early projections for New Year's Eve call for mostly cloudy conditions with lows about 34 and then rain and snow showers with highs near 40 on New Year's Day.

As of Wednesday night, there had only been 3 inches of measurable snow recorded this season at the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport.

The normal for this time of year? 32 inches.

"It's just the way the atmosphere is set up. We're in this pattern," Wood said.