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WNY to be spared brunt of "crippling and potentially historic blizzard" on East Coast

Read it and sleep Buffalo.

When the region wakes up Monday to a brand-new work week, millions of residents along the East Coast corridor will be girding for feet of snow and hurricane force winds.

Here, there will be snow, cold and some wind gusts about 20 mph but nothing close to what's happening to our east, said David Thomas, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Buffalo.

"A glancing blow," Thomas called it for Western New York. "It'll largely be a coastal system. We're just far enough inland."

"It looks like it will be a light, general snowfall across Western New York," he added. "Nothing as to what we'll be seeing to the east along the New York City and Boston corridor."

Forecasts call for 1 to 2 inches of general snowfall across Western New York Monday, and possibly three inches or so in Wyoming County.

"It will be breezy, but nothing severe like the wind gusts of 40 to 60 mph (to the East) -- we're not going to see that," Thomas said.

The National Weather Service Sunday issued blizzard warnings from the Jersey Shore straight up through Down East Maine as a "major nor'easter" was expected to slam the coast between Monday and Wednesday.

The strongest impacts to likely be felt in Buffalo Niagara will likely be in the form of delays or cancellations in air or other travel to the East Coast. As of Sunday night, however, there were no reports of cancellations at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport because of the impending weather.

"The East Coast is kind of a combination of two systems," Thomas said.

The storm system passing through the Ohio Valley (the one that will affect Western New York Monday) will connect up with a strengthening low pressure system that will intensify as it moves northeastward up from the Carolina coast, Thomas said. Atlantic moisture will be drawn inland, resulting in the feet of snow that is forecast.

Between 1 p.m. Monday and midnight Tuesday, upwards of 30 inches of snow is forecast to fall in New York City. Light snow is expected Monday before it intensifies later in the day that could include some squalls at rates of "2 to 4 inches per hour," the weather service forecast reported. North winds gusting to 65 mph were also forecast, creating blizzard conditions.

The weather service in the Big Apple warned of "life-threatening conditions and extremely dangerous travel due to heavy snowfall and strong winds...with whiteout conditions."

"Secondary and tertiary roads may become impassable. Strong winds may down power lines and tree limbs," the warning continued.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and municipal officials downstate reported they were already mobilizing state and local equipment Sunday and warning residents to make preparations for the storm.

Winter storm warnings were also posted for the Catskills, Hudson Valley and into the Capital District, but the most severe weather wasn't expected to encroach much further west than that, Thomas said.

The entire state of Connecticut was also under a blizzard warning Sunday, and the weather service in Boston was issuing similar warnings in New England.

Heavy snow with strong winds and blizzard conditions were also forecast in east and southeast Massachusetts and all of Rhode Island from 7 p.m. Monday through 1 a.m. Wednesday, the weather service reported.

Gusts up to 75 mph were forecast across the coastal areas in New England, the forecast stated.

"Heavy snow and strong winds will result in white-out / blizzard conditions with near zero visibility," according to the forecast. "Travel will be impossible and life-threatening across the entire region."

"Also, snow may be wet enough to result in downed tree limbs and power outages in addition to the winds," the forecast from Boston also stated.


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