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Region's first wintry blast expected later this week

Looking at the calendar, you could say we’re past due.

Most Western New Yorkers still have yet to see any accumulated snow this first week into December.

But it appears that’s going to change soon enough.

Weather forecasters say that a blast of lake effect snow could be in the offing for Western New York by the end of next week, as temperatures dip and wind speeds pick up.

National Weather Service meteorologists in Buffalo are tracking “a plume of very cold air” that’s expected to slide down the Rocky Mountains early in the week and move east, eventually crossing the eastern Great Lakes later in the week. Right now, it looks like it'll start to hit Thursday as rain turns to snow over the day, turning to all snow by night time.

“The cold air will bring pretty unstable conditions. We should see bands of lake effect snow form,” said meteorologist David Thomas.

Those bands will be capable of producing seven inches or more of snow. And although it’s too early to know what areas of Western New York will be affected, forecasters figure it will be the first time this season that the most populated parts of the region will see significant accumulations.

The cold air, with temperatures plunging into the upper teens, could arrive as early as Thursday night, combining with a relatively warm Lake Erie to fuel winter’s return.

So if you were lulled into a false sense of eternal snowlessness and haven’t changed the oil and spark plug in the snow blower or dragged the shovels out of the shed, now might be a good time.

A dusting of snow is expected Sunday night in the metropolitan area. Otherwise, daytime high temperatures will remain in the low to mid 40s through at least Wednesday, with a daily chance of rain or wet snow.

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