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What to expect the next 36 hours: After a record rainfall comes snow

Heavy snow in April. It's coming to the Buffalo Niagara region on Friday.

Here's what's forecast to happen and when:


Today's national weather map. (National Weather Service)

An intensifying storm system will work its way up through the Buffalo Niagara region tonight, according to the National Weather Service.

That system, and the heavy rain it brought, helped Buffalo break a 131-year-old daily rainfall record.

As of 8:50 p.m., the National Weather Service reported, 1.23 inches of rain had fallen at the Buffalo airport. That was enough to beat the 1.22 inches that fell in 1886.

Rain is still falling, so the final tally for the day will be higher.

A flood watch remains in effect until 2 p.m. Saturday across Western New York.

Where and when will heavy rainfall threaten flooding?


As for the rest of the night, temperature will plummet toward the low 30s thanks to a northwesterly flow, leading the precipitation to transition from rain to snow, forecasts show.

The National Weather Service calls for rain to switch to a rain/snow mix by 2 a.m. and then turn over to all snow after 5 a.m. Friday.

How early that transition takes place will play a large factor in exactly how much snow is on the ground by morning, forecasters said.

The National Weather Service has posted a winter weather advisory for Northern Erie and Genesee counties from 11 p.m. until 2 p.m. Friday.

Wet snow is forecast with the largest amounts expected from the eastern metro Buffalo suburbs to about Batavia, weather service forecasters said.

Up to 2 inches is forecast overnight with 1 to 3 inches more on Friday.

Other parts of Western New York could see much more, especially in higher elevations south and east of the metro Buffalo area, according to forecast models.

Three to six inches is forecast in some places of southern Erie, Wyoming and Cattaraugus counties, the weather service's advisory states.

An additional inch or two is possible in Chautauqua County, forecasters said.


Daytime high temperatures aren't expected to escape the upper 30s.

That's well below the date's normal high of 51 degrees.

The chilly air will help to keep precipitation trending toward snow, according to forecasts.

Forecasters are bullish widespread snow could coat the region.

"A late-season storm will bring several inches of wet snow mainly across the higher terrain," the weather service reported. "Snowfall will accumulate best on grassy surfaces with a slushy accumulation possible on roadways, which could make for slick travel."

Northwest winds gusting near 40 mph could reduce visibility to a half mile at times, the weather service reported.

In an average April, 2.7 inches of snow falls in Buffalo, but weather data shows significant snow events are rare.

The Top 10 April snowfalls at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. (xmACIS2)

The angle of the sun at this time of year usually inhibits snowfall during the longer daylight hours in April.

The daily snowfall record in Buffalo for April 7 is 2.9 inches, set in 1958.

Breezy northwest winds could gust over 30 mph, making it feel like it's only in the 20s.

The wintry weather will be short-lived though.

Weekend and beyond

The skies finally clear out.

Mostly sunny conditions are forecast with daytime highs Saturday only in the mid to upper 40s.

That's still slightly below normal for the date, but temperatures should make up for it on Sunday.

Sunday is expected to be mostly sunny with highs in the low 60s, the weather service stated.

Then, the real warm-up comes on Monday.

Highs are forecast to climb into the low to mid-70s.

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