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Active weather week brings high wind today; rain and snow by Friday

Winds gusting near 60 mph are possible today across Western New York following a strong cold front, the National Weather Service reported.

The weather service issued a high wind warning for Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Genesee, Wyoming and Orleans counties today from noon until 11 p.m.

Steady southwest winds up to 30 mph with gusts to 55 or 60 mph are expected.

The strongest winds will be found across the region this afternoon, forecasts show. (National Weather Service)

"Winds of this magnitude will result in downed trees and power lines," the weather service said. "Shallow rooted trees will be especially prone to being uprooted due to the saturated ground from recent rainfall."

Forecasters also cautioned against traveling in high-profile vehicles along the Lake Erie shoreline between Buffalo and Dunkirk and the Thruway between Buffalo and Rochester because of the threat of being blown over by the wind.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo ordered the Buffalo Skyway between downtown and Milestrip Road be closed to commercial traffic until 11 p.m. due to the threat of high winds, the governor's office stated.

The winds will also create another round of high waves on Lake Erie.

The "bathtub effect' is seen here as Lake Erie's water sloshes back and forth between Buffalo and Toledo from today's high winds. (Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory)

A surge of nearly two feet is expected on the eastern end of the lake tonight, according to forecast models.

After a calmer day on Wednesday, the weather pattern turns active again for the rest of the week with heavy rain expected – and even some snow possible – by the weekend.

Forecast models show that 2 inches of rain are possible between late Wednesday and late Friday.

That also means a possible washout for Thursday's scheduled home opener for the Buffalo Bisons.

At 2 p.m. Thursday, the scheduled time of the opening pitch, forecasts show it'll be about 55 degrees, but there is a 100 percent chance for rain in Buffalo between 6 a.m. Thursday and 7 a.m. Friday.

The National Weather Service has posted a flood watch from 8 a.m. Thursday to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Up to 3 inches of rain may fall by Friday evening in parts of the region, according to forecast models. The weather service has a flood watch posted from 8 a.m. Thursday to 2 p.m. Saturday. (

The flood watch includes Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties.

Forecasters said up to an inch of rainfall over the last day will combine with more than two more inches of rain late Wednesday into Friday.

That will "produce significant rises on area tributaries," according to the weather service's statement.

"Some tributaries may exceed their banks, especially if actual rainfall is at the higher end of the forecast range," the flood statement reported.

It's possible the amount of precipitation this week alone could exceed the average for an average April in Buffalo, which is 3.01 inches.

Snow is in the forecast for portions of Western New York on Friday. (National Weather Service)

Early Friday morning, temperatures across the region may become cold enough for the rain to change over to snow, especially around daybreak, forecasts show.

Forecasters said the bulk of the precipitation Friday will be light rain but some wet snow across areas of higher terrain and snow showers expected by later in the day.

"It is not out of the question that some areas pick up a few inches of wet snow," forecasters said.

Friday's high temperatures are forecast to barely make it above 40 degrees and only into the mid-40s Saturday.

In the Southern Tier, temperatures might not escape the 30s.

Spring makes a strong return early next week though.

Spring returns to the region early next week, forecasts show. (National Weather Service)

Forecasters at the Buffalo office of the National Weather Service said in today's discussion that they are highly confident temperatures will reach "at least" 70 degrees by Monday.

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