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Prepare for a snowy Super Bowl Sunday night

By the time Super Bowl XLIX kicks off Sunday, the weather across Western New York will be as frightful to area football fans as Tom Brady’s arm.

In other words, build in extra time to get to those Super Bowl parties and expect to battle snow, blustery winds and frigid cold on the return home.

Or punt.

“Pretty much all of Western New York is going to see some pretty good snow,” said Dan Kelly, meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Buffalo.

Expect 7 inches or more from northern Erie County and across the Niagara Frontier, 8 to 14 inches in the Southtowns and a few more on top of that in the Southern Tier, according to weather service projections.

Mixing in northeast winds of 10 to 20 mph will cause blowing and drifting snow around the region that could reduce visibilities below a half-mile, the forecast states.

The weather service upgraded its winter storm watch to a full-fledged warning Saturday afternoon when models shored up the track of a storm system out of the Midwest.

The warning period for heavy snow starts at 7 a.m. Sunday and runs through 4 p.m. Monday.

It’s looking increasingly likely that area football fans could face travel difficulties en route to and returning home from Super Bowl parties.

“Snow will be increasing (Sunday) morning across the Southern Tier and spreading into the Buffalo area with increasing chances about 6 to 7 p.m.,” Kelly said.

Kickoff of the clash between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks from the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., is set for 6:30 p.m. Buffalo time.

Besides the snow, it will be windy and cold.

Sunday’s forecast high is 18 degrees in Buffalo, but the temperature will drop to about 14 degrees by 5 p.m. and then down to an overnight low of 8 degrees heading into Monday morning, according to the weather service.

North winds become northeast Sunday afternoon and will pick up speed with gusts over 30 mph by late Sunday. That will drop wind chill values to minus 10 degrees or below, the weather service projects.

Behind the storm system, the weather service reported that “a cold northerly flow will develop in its wake, which will pull more arctic air back into the region.”

“This will probably lead to yet another round of limited lake-effect snow showers south of Lake Ontario Monday afternoon and night ... along with more bitterly cold temperatures and wind chills.”

Through at least Tuesday, wind chill values could run below zero, according to forecasts. It is part of a continuing pattern of cold weather across the region that will continue from January into February.

Monday’s forecast high is 12 degrees with a low of zero overnight.

January was more than 4 degrees colder than normal. Of the month’s 31 days, the weather service reports show 23 days were at or below average for temperature.