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First snow of the season coming to Buffalo area this weekend

Buffalo's upcoming weekend will start like Memorial Day and finish like Christmas.

Today may be the last chance to wear short sleeves outdoors -- and get your yard ready for what's ahead. Near-record warmth is forecast with daytime highs in the 70s.

It all changes on Saturday when a sharp cold front cuts through the Buffalo Niagara region. Temperatures will plummet from a high in the mid-50s in the early afternoon into the 30s by evening. Then, early Sunday morning wintry conditions are forecast to return across Western New York.

The first accumulating snow of the season is expected in many spots. Forecasts suggest there might be enough to shovel in many areas.

Close to three inches of snow is possible at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport, according to the weather service's projections.

Temperatures won't get out of the 30s during the day. Gusty northwest winds will make it feel like it's in the 20s.

The snowflakes will start flying around midnight Saturday and continue throughout the day Sunday, forecasts show. (NWS Buffalo)

The snowflakes could start flying late Saturday and continue through Monday, forecasts show. (NWS Buffalo)

Although some snowfall will be at least enhanced by Lake Erie, it's unlikely that dramatic accumulations will occur in Western New York because the winds will be from the northwest, limiting the "fetch" off of the lake.

What that means is that when cold air passes over a relatively warm Lake Erie from the southwest, it has 241 miles to pick up moisture and dump it over Western New York.

When the flow comes from the northwest, however, the ability to "fetch" it is limited to only 30 miles or so, which limits snowfall totals.

That doesn't mean it'll be a easy road - or roads - though.

"This will be a northwest flow event, so instead of a singular band, there will be multiple bands," forecasters at the National Weather Service stated in their morning discussion today.

On Thursday night, the National Weather Service issued a lake effect snow watch for Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Southern Erie counties from Saturday evening until Monday morning:

Here's a look at the roller coaster of weather that's expected in Buffalo over the next several days...

(National Weather Service)

(National Weather Service)

 

Today: 'stupendous conditions'

A southerly flow of air will push temperatures to late spring like temperatures on Friday in what weather service forecasters are projecting will be "stupendous conditions." (NWS)

A southerly flow of air will push temperatures to late spring like temperatures today in what weather service forecasters are projecting will be "stupendous conditions." (NWS)

Saturday is the second anniversary of the great November Storm in Western New York.

However, this Nov. 18 could feel unlike any other on the other end of the thermometer.

Daytime high temperatures are forecast to make it into the 70s under sunny skies.

The temperature at Buffalo is forecast to flirt with the all-time record for warmth of 74 degrees. That mark was set in 1958.

 

Saturday - changes

The weather? It is a'changing on Saturday across the eastern half of the United States, including in the Buffalo Niagara region. (TropicalTidbits.com)

The weather? It is a'changing on Saturday across the eastern half of the United States, including in the Buffalo Niagara region. Then, snow is forecast across the region Sunday and Monday. (TropicalTidbits.com)

It will likely be one of those rare days when the daily high temperature comes at midnight.

Saturday will start near 60 degrees but the temperature will plunge the rest of the day.

Rain is expected to develop ahead of a strong cold front that will cut through the region.

Chances for rain start in the mid-morning and increase throughout the day.

Winds will begin shifting from the south to the southwest about 9 a.m. and pick up with gusts around 30 mph for the rest of the day as temperatures continue their decline into the 40s by afternoon and 30s by about 9 p.m.

About one-third inch of rain is expected Saturday.

The precipitation could change to snow later Saturday in the higher elevations of the Southern Tier and Wyoming County with cooler temperatures.

 

Sunday - first snow

The first accumulating snow of the 2016-17 season is expected across Western New York on Sunday.

The highest accumulations are expected in the higher elevations of the region where the air will be cold enough to support snow.

Areas of Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and southern Erie counties could see a foot of snow, the weather service said. Other parts of the region will range from a few inches to more than a half-foot.

The highest snowfall totals through Monday are expected to occur in the higher elevations of the Southern Tier and across northwest Pennsylvania.. (NWS Buffalo graphic)

The highest snowfall totals through Monday are expected to occur in the higher elevations of the Southern Tier and across northwest Pennsylvania.. (NWS Buffalo graphic)

Besides the nearly three inches at the Buffalo airport, early projections by the weather service also show Lockport could accumulate 2 to 3 inches; Orchard Park, 3 to 4 inches; and 8 to 12 inches in places like Ellicottville, Jamestown and Mayville.

The daytime high on Sunday isn't expected to get out of the 30s for the region and is forecast to drop into the upper 20s early Monday morning.

As temperatures drop into the 30s early Sunday morning, rain is forecast to turn into mixed precipitation at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Snow is forecast throughout the day. About three inches is possible Sunday between 1 a.m. and 7 p.m. Blustery northwest winds will make it feel like it's in the 20s, forecasts show. Additional snowfall is possible Monday as well. (NWS)

Temperatures remain in the 30s all day on Sunday. Snow is forecast throughout the day. About three inches is possible at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport by dinnertime on Monday. Blustery northwest winds will make it feel like it's in the teens late Sunday night, forecasts show. (NWS)

 

You might remember, the first accumulating snow last year at Buffalo Niagara International Airport set a record for lateness.

One-tenth of an inch fell on Dec. 18, breaking the previous record set on Dec. 3, 1899.

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