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LES on northward trek this afternoon, will affect Southern Erie County for evening commute

Lake Erie is 34 degrees today and 99.7 percent free of ice.

That's fueling today's lake-effect snows that are forecast to bring up to six inches of snow to areas of Southern Erie, Wyoming, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties. The National Weather Service posted a lake-effect snow advisory for those areas.

Less than an inch is likely in the Buffalo metro area, according to an updated forecast this afternoon.

The lake-effect snow was falling at a rate of 1-2 inches per hour in the Southern Tier early this afternoon, but was expected to trek northward as the day wears on. Any accumulation in the metro area will fall before 10 p.m., forecasts show.

Lake-effect snow bands were starting to make a northward trek just after 3:30 p.m. today. (NWS radar)

Lake-effect snow bands were starting to make a northward trek just after 3:30 p.m. today. (NWS radar)

The advisory runs through 1 a.m. Winds could gust as high as 35 mph, which could reduce visibility on the roads considerably in the areas affected by the snow bands.

The blast is part of a bitterly cold northwest flow of Canadian air being pulled into the region behind the passing storm system early today that brought freezing rain, sleet and a coating of ice across the area overnight.

It's just the second time in a dozen years the lake temperatures has been above freezing on March 2.

The last time, 2012, it was 35 degrees.

This image taken from space on a 62° Sunday afternoon shows the wide-open expanse of Lake Erie's waters. (NASA)

This image taken from space on a 62° Sunday afternoon shows the wide-open expanse of Lake Erie's waters. (NASA)

That's an amazing change from the last two years, when the lake found itself more than 95 percent encrusted in ice that was more than a yard thick in some areas.

The average amount of Lake Erie ice-cover for this date is about 56 percent, according to NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

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Only the eastern most tip of Lake Erie has any ice as of Tuesday. Last year, almost all of Lake Erie was covered in ice on this date. And, two years ago, there was no lake-effect snow because the lake was covered in ice. However, the second of two seasonal blizzards struck on March 12. (NOAA GLERL)

 

 

 

 

 

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