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Band heading back south overnight; will disintegrate Thursday with shift in wind

10:00 p.m., Jan. 13, 2016

Tweet from West Herr Auto Group ‏@WestHerr: #carcicle melting at our collision shop in Hamburg...

Tweet tonight from West Herr Auto Group ‏@WestHerr:
#carcicle melting at our collision shop in Hamburg...

The most famous car in Buffalo this week is melting.

Well, sort of.

Justin Yelen's Mitsubishi Lancer was freed from the ice earlier today and taken by tow-truck to West Herr Auto Group's Hamburg collision shop where, in Han Solo-like fashion, was being reinvigorated from the frozen.


9:38 p.m., Jan. 13, 2016

Lake-effect snow is expected to shift back southward overnight, according to the National Weather Service.

It will pass through the city of Buffalo again in the early morning hours, dropping an additional 1 to 3 inches of snow and then affect the Southtowns again by dawn.

Forecast radar image for 7 a.m. Thursday from NWS Buffalo.

Forecast radar image for 7 a.m. Thursday from NWS Buffalo.


9:18 p.m., Jan. 13, 2016

The Northtowns were getting belted with snow about 9 p.m. (NWS radar image)

It was the Northtowns' turn to get belted with snow. This NWS radar image is from about 9 p.m.

The Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District was reportedly mulling over a late-start to classes on Thursday, but no official word came from the school superintendent or others around the region just yet.

The snow was piling up quickly north of the metro area late tonight, however, and expected to pass back through Buffalo around the time decisions could be made about classes.

The weather service reported Buffalo may pick up 1 to 3 more inches of lake-effect snow in the wee hours of the morning.

Forecast radar image for 4 a.m. Thursday from NWS Buffalo.

Forecast radar image for 4 a.m. Thursday from NWS Buffalo.

Meanwhile, according to Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz:

7:20 p.m., Jan. 13, 2016

The City of Buffalo was ready and prepared for the storm, based on a reliable forecast, said Department of Public Works Commissioner Steven Stepniak. A total of 35 pieces of equipment are out on city roads now, he said, and road crews were busy pre-salting during the day. Though the snow band is moving north, it is expected to move back through the city later tonight before finally ending midmorning Thursday.

Stepniak said this evening that crews have been working 12-hour shifts on and off since Monday.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service has reported that 2.6 inches of snow fell at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. today.

Here's how it's looking on the I-290 between Delaware Avenue and Colvin Boulevard:

Del & Colvin

[What to expect in the next 36 hours]

6:50 p.m., Jan. 13, 2016

At the rate snow is falling -- 3 inches per hour -- more snow could fall between today and tomorrow than fell since July. Snow expected to stop by mid-morning tomorrow. How it's looking on Buffalo's Main Street.

Mulville - Main St


6:20 p.m., Jan. 13, 2016

The northward moving snow is good news for Southtowns drivers, but not everyone. Drivers have been stuck at the I-90 East and Route 400. Super-slow traffic. Thanks to County Executive @markpoloncarz for being among the active weather spotters on Twitter:

And from NITTEC:


6:01 p.m., Jan. 13, 2016

Snow driving instincts must be kicking in. So far, no major city accidents to report as the snow band moves northward, dropping 3 inches per hour. Here's a view from Rt. 33 at the Harlem Road exit:

Rt. 33 at Harlem

Southtowns are seeing some relief as snow band moves upward.

5:30 p.m., Jan. 13, 2016

Snow hitting the city. By 7 a.m., city accumulation is expected to reach 8 inches. Snow band will continue to move northward into the evening up through Niagara County. National Weather Service reports visibilities will drop quickly to near zero at times.

Here's a view of commuter traffic leaving the city and heading down South Park Avenue:

Jane - South park


5:14 p.m., Jan 13, 2016

The City is preparing for the onslaught of snow, with flakes falling at a rate of 3 inches per hour. If you're heading south after work, be careful. Here's a look at the I-90 at the Blasdell exit:

I-90 Blasdell

From Mark Mulville, our roving photographer:

This medical truck getting truck was getting a tow on South Park Avenue.



4:40 p.m., Jan. 13, 2016 

The Thruway is now open to all traffic.

The lake effect snow warning for the City of Buffalo and Northern Erie County will remain in effect until 7 p.m. Thursday. Currently, the snow band remains stationary over Southtowns locations, but should hit the city soon.

4:20 p.m., Jan. 13, 2016

Sections of the Thruway have been reopened. The westbound lanes from Hamburg to Dunkirk are now open. But due to the severe weather, Dunkirk Exit 59 to Westfield Exit 60 remains closed. Yesterday evening there was a multiple tractor trailer accident that tied up this same stretch of roadway.

Southtowns snow band has clearly arrived.

Here's a view of the Thruway from the Hamburg exit:

I-90 Hamburg exit


2:52 p.m., Jan. 13, 2016

You may want to think about heading home soon, especially if you live in the Southtowns.

The lake-effect band heading north is picking up steam and is already causing problems. The westbound side of the Thruway has been shut down from Exit 57 (Hamburg) all the way to Exit 60 (Westfield.) Whiteout conditions have been reported in the area.

Troopers have been redirecting westbound traffic off of the Thruway at the Hamburg exit since midday. Here's a NITTEC traffic camera shot at 12:41 p.m. today:


Here's what the same spot looked like at 2:46 p.m.

CCTV_6055 (3)

"Currently, the northern edge of the lake-effect band is just getting into Orchard Park and Hamburg," said meteorologist Steve Welch of the National Weather Service. He added that light snow is already falling from Lackawanna to East Aurora, and that will intensify as the snow keeps moving north.

The heart of the band is expected to hit metro Buffalo by about 5:30 p.m.

The snow is falling at a rate of 1 to 2 inches at this point but could get more intense. Visibility is down to about a quarter mile.

The band is expected to drift a little further north into the Northtowns and into Niagara County before settling over the metro Buffalo area for the night. The band will "get a little narrower and a little bit stronger," as the night progresses, Welch said.


12:46 p.m., Jan. 13, 2016

State troopers are directing all westbound traffic off of the Thruway at exit 57 (Hamburg) due to whiteout conditions further down Interstate 90 around the Silver Creek area. The westbound Thruway is closed from Exit 57 to Exit 60, a 48.8 mile stretch. The snow band that has been over the Southern Tier is working its way up north. There have been multiple accidents, a trooper said. There was a report of a jackknifed tractor trailer between the Dunkirk and Westfield exits earlier this morning.

Here's a NIITEC traffic camera shot of what's going on in Dunkirk. Looks like snow plows are on the move:


And here's a traffic cam shot of what appears to be a trooper vehicle blocking traffic at the Hamburg exit:


Also, some Southtowns school districts have canceled after-school activities for Wednesday. They include: Hamburg Central, Frontier and Orchard Park.


12:37 p.m., Jan. 13, 2016

The westbound side of the Thruway at Exit 57 (Hamburg is closed.)



12:33 p.m., Jan. 13, 2016

The two lake-effect snow bands that had been hovering over Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties this morning have morphed into a single, more intense band dropping snow at a rate of 1 to 3 inches per hour.

By midday, several accidents in those areas were reported late in the morning. The westbound side of the Thruway between Dunkirk and Westfield was closed since about 11:30 a.m. after a tractor-trailer jackknifed.

The intensified band is now making its way north. As of about 12:30 p.m., National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Mitchell, said it's shifting into Silver Creek and extending over Eden, Boston Hills and Collins.

Forecasters are still projecting that the band will hit the Buffalo metro area right around rush hour. The band is expected to drift north into the Northtowns for part of the evening but will basically settle over the metro area and the Northtowns and into Niagara County for the night.

Thursday the band will drift back south and dissipate before a warm front ushers in some regular, un-lake effect snow. "Nothing major," Mitchell assured.

On Friday, there will be a brief warm up as the temperatures rise into the 40s. But that's not going to last long. Another cold front is right behind it and we're looking at another round of lake-effect snow come Sunday through early next week.

"It's a pretty good shot of cold air," Mitchell said.

It's the sort of thing any Buffalonian should expect in January. "Well, we're due," he said. "We've had quite a run this winter. We can't complain."


12:06 p.m., Jan. 13, 2016

The ice car is free!

A crew from Lake Erie Towing and Recovery salted the heck out of the car encased in ice since Monday morning in the parking lot of Hoak's in Hamburg. They managed to excavate it from its frozen berth and towed it away.


But not before a Weather Channel reporter got a chance to pose with the frozen viral sensation.



11:38 a.m., Jan. 13, 2016

A couple of accidents to report in the Southern Tier where the lake-effect band is now set up.

There's an jackknifed tractor trailer on the westbound side of the Thruway between the Dunkirk and Westfield exits. The westbound side is closed between those exits as of 11:38 a.m.

Also, there's an accident that has shut down Route 242 in both directions in Franklinville between Bakerstand Road and Phillips Road.

  • RTE 242 Westbound - Closed from Bakerstand Road to Phillips Road (0.8 miles) because of Accident in the Town of Franklinville. Reported at 11:11 am. (ID# 8869)
  • RTE 242 Eastbound - Closed from Phillips Road to Bakerstand Road(0.8 miles) because of Accident in the Town of Franklinville. Reported at 11:11 am. (ID# 8870)

Cattaraugus County Sheriff's officials also reported a 3.6 mile section of Route 62 in Dayton between 353 to Route 322 is closed right now. They're cleaning up after a tractor trailer accident last night on Route 62.

11:21 a.m., Jan. 13, 2016

Evans police have identified the patient who died Tuesday night when an ambulance and a tractor trailer crashed on Route 20 Tuesday night as Joseph Sangbush, 85, of Perrysburg.


11 a.m., Jan. 13, 2016

Here's a graphic from the National Weather Service that shows the anticipated path of the lake-effect band headed toward Buffalo. It looks like it will hit right around rush hour. Please plan accordingly, especially if you're headed from downtown to the Southtowns.



9:22 a.m., Jan. 13, 2016

Two or three weak lake-effect snow bands are showering the Southern Tier this morning with some light snow.

Here's what it looked like earlier this morning from the Elmwood Village area of Buffalo:


But David Thomas, meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Buffalo bureau, said those bands are expected to consolidate into a more intense single band. That band will start making its way north this afternoon, fueled by southwesterly winds coming over the still-unfrozen Lake Erie, hitting the Southtowns around 5 p.m. and getting to the Buffalo metro area by about 6 p.m.

"If you're heading south, that rush hour will likely be impacted," Thomas said.

The snow will be coming down about then at a rate of one or two inches per hour.

The band will settle this evening and overnight mostly over the Northtowns and the Buffalo area, including the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, and by morning, you can expect five to nine inches of new snow on the ground.

Looking forward: You can expect a warm up on Friday when the temperatures will rise into the 40s. Rain is expected Friday night into Saturday.


6:55 a.m. Jan. 13, 2016

Your morning commute today will be relatively pain-free -- unless you live in northern Niagara County.

There, 3 to 4 inches of snow have fallen, and blowing snow is complicating the drive, though not terribly.

The drive home, in Niagara and in Erie counties, could be a different story.

NWS snowfall forecast for 4pm Jan 13 2016

Projected snowfall rate - 4 p.m.

Projected snowfall rate - 5 p.m.

Projected snowfall rate - 5 p.m.

Projected snowfall rate - 6 p.m.

Projected snowfall rate - 6 p.m.








For now, lake-effect snow bands are situated north and south of the Buffalo metro area and will stay there throughout the day Wednesday. Early reports from commuters heading into Buffalo found smooth sailing on the Thruway, the 190 (both northbound and southbound), the 400 and the 33.

Just before 7 a.m., it was 16 degrees at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, with winds gusting up to 26 mph. Gusts along the waterfront in downtown Buffalo had reached 33 mph with a temperature of 19 degrees.

By the time Thursday morning rolls around, Buffalo and northern Erie County will see between 5 and 10 inches of new snow, most of which will fall when the lake-effect band settles on the area overnight, according to the National Weather Service in Cheektowaga.

"The Southern Tier's going to see the bulk of the snow through mid-day," said meteorologist Tony Ansuini. Much of Niagara County is already seeing lake-effect snow fall Wednesday morning.

There haven't been any significant changes to the forecast since yesterday, Ansuini said.

The strongest lake-effect bands will move into the metro Buffalo area at around 4 or 5 p.m., push up into Niagara Falls for a time and then settle back over Buffalo. The Falls area will see 3 to 6 inches of new snowfall by Thursday morning, he said.

Thursday is when lake-effect snows are expected to wind down, and a brief warm-up is forecast for Friday. High temperatures will reach the low 40s.

Colder air will return Sunday and into early next week. Once that cold air hits, there will be another chance of heavy lake-effect snows, but that will probably stay south of Buffalo, Ansuini said.

Tuesday's weather

Lake-effect snow complicated Tuesday's evening commute, causing a number of major and minor accidents. The worst was in the Town of Evans, where one person died in an accident related to the weather.

The head-on crash involved a tractor-trailer and a Rural Metro ambulance on Route 20 near Versailles Road shortly around 4:30 p.m. The victims were transported to Erie County Medical Center and Lake Shore Hospital. Route 20 was closed most of the evening in both directions between Eden Evans Center Road and Sturgeon Point Road due to the crash. Police did not identify the person killed Tuesday.

Wednesday morning, Town of Evans police said they had no new information to release about the incident.

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