Hang in there. The worst is almost over.
The scariest scenarios from Western New York’s most recent rendezvous with winter weather – the lake-effect snow warnings and advisories – are due to expire Tuesday.
Two separate lake-effect snow bands, one off Lake Erie and the other Lake Ontario, struck north and south of Buffalo Monday. The metro area remained unscathed and even saw periods of blue sky.
For the traditional Snow Belt south of Buffalo – the extreme southern parts of Erie and Wyoming counties and northern Cattaraugus and Chautauqua counties, which got another 3 to 6 inches overnight – the National Weather Service planned to lift the warning at 7 a.m. Tuesday, 24 hours earlier than previously predicted.
“Conditions are not going to be conducive to lake-effect as a high pressure system is building across the Ohio Valley,” meteorologist Bill Hibbert said Monday evening.
The heavy snow prompted three Cattaraugus County school districts announced they’d be closed Tuesday: Cattaraugus Little Valley, Randolph and Salamanca City.
As for that other lake-effect zone, the area south of Lake Ontario in Niagara and Orleans counties, a lake snow advisory is posted until 7 p.m. Tuesday, but only about 2 more inches are expected.
The Buffalo metro area, and points to the east through Genesee County, will once again escape with only a few snow showers Tuesday.
While the snow diminishes Tuesday, forecasters say that strong, gusty winds up to 35 mph will still be with us, whipping up whiteouts from what has fallen since an arctic front crossed the region Sunday afternoon.
Deepest snow was in northern Cattaraugus County, where a National Weather Service spotter in Perrysburg measured 18 inches Monday morning. In Chautauqua County, Mayville had 12 inches Monday evening with more coming down.
The official total at the NWS office at Buffalo Niagara International Airport in Cheektowaga remained at 5.8 inches, with only a trace appearing on Monday.
The Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office issued a travel advisory Monday, warning motorists to avoid unnecessary travel through 9 a.m. Tuesday in the northern and western parts of the county, where there had been numerous accidents.
Although temperatures will creep into the 20s Tuesday, wind chills, which dipped as far down as 10 below in Jamestown Monday evening, are likely to remain in the single digits.
Wednesday will be a little warmer, forecasters say, and it will feel a lot better. That bitter wind will die back, thanks to the high pressure system. Temperatures are expected to moderate further into the upper 20s later in week.