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Lake-effect snow sends shovelers to Ralph Wilson Stadium

There’s less than two months to go until March 1, but don’t expect to escape wintry weather this year.

Its arrival – in the form of lake-effect snowfall – corresponded almost exactly with the change in the calendar.

Nearly two inches fell New Year’s Day at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport – doubling the entire season’s output to date – with even higher amounts in the Buffalo Southtowns and Southern Tier.

At Ralph Wilson Stadium, where about eight inches of snow fell, more than 100 shovelers were helping clear snow from the seats Saturday morning in advance of the Buffalo Bills’ season finale against the division-rival New York Jets.

On Saturday afternoon, the National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory from 6 p.m. Saturday until midnight for scattered snow showers, patches of freezing drizzle for Northern Erie, Niagara, Orleans and Genesee counties.

The thermometer will be the next thing to drastically change on the Buffalo landscape late Sunday when the coldest air of the season rushes into the region.

Temperatures will drop from a daily high in the mid-30s Sunday to a forecast 12 degrees overnight and only rebound into the teens for a high on Monday, forecasts show. With a north wind of 10 mph or more, it will feel closer to zero degrees.

That’s a sharp turn from the warmest December on record in Buffalo.

The 42.1 degree average monthly temperature obliterated the former record for December warmth set in 1923 of 37.6 degrees.

A narrow band of lake-effect snow, fueled by the 41-degree waters of Lake Erie, was falling in the Buffalo Northtowns across a line stretching covering the border of Erie and Niagara counties about 11 a.m. Saturday.

Elma led the National Weather Service’s list of storm totals. The town picked up a foot of snow, as of about 8 a.m. Saturday. Others included Hamburg, 9.8 inches; Wyoming, 9.1 inches; South Wales, 8 inches; Blasdell, 6.8 inches; Warsaw, 6 inches; and Dunkirk, 5.2 inches.

More snow is forecast today and Sunday. Forecasts show winds are also expected to pick up this afternoon, with peak gusts of nearly 40 mph just after midnight before finally subsiding Sunday afternoon.