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Forecast models trying to pin down 'subtle details' of weekend storm

Only Mother Nature truly knows what her Thanksgiving week plans are.

Computer weather models are working around-the-clock to crack her code.

Late Tuesday, they suggested snow and unseasonable cold will grip the Northeast, including the Buffalo Niagara region. More recent runs tweaked the wind direction and downgraded the available moisture content, suggesting a major lake-effect snowstorm may be less likely.

We'll probably still have a wait another day or two to find out for sure what's to become of a storm system out west expected to track through the Great Lakes and into upper Canada by week's end.

Relying on the earlier model data, weather experts from State College, Pa., to New Zealand projected it could be a doozy of a week from Detroit to Boston and as far south as Washington, D.C.

Federal forecasters at the National Weather Service have remained more reserved in their prognostications. But, they've never ruled it out.

Models suggest the weather-maker will rake the Buffalo Niagara region with high winds and rain for the early part of the weekend before a trailing cold front allows frigid Canadian air to flow through the area, setting the stage for lake-effect snow and unseasonably chilly weather.

Lake-effect snow is possible Sunday into Monday, weather service forecasters acknowledged this morning, but added that over the last 24 hours or so, forecast models are evolving into a "less impressive" lake-effect setup. Those being a shift in projected wind direction and less available moisture than originally projected.

"If these model trends continue, the potential for significant lake-effect snow may be off the table," the weather service stated in its forecast discussion. "That said, there is plenty of time for model guidance to trend back in the other direction on these subtle details with this event still four days away."

Weather experts from around the world took to social media Tuesday and aligned their forecasts with models projecting a wintry week leading up to Thanksgiving.

Here was a sampling:

What is pretty lock-down solid is the next three days or so.

Here's what to expect:

Today: Partly sunny with a south wind bringing above-average highs to Buffalo – in the low 50s. There are chances for showers after 9 p.m.

Thursday: Chances for rain showers before 8 a.m., then chances for showers and breezy with gusts as high as 31 mph. It'll be cooler with a daytime high of about 43 degrees.

Friday: Partly sunny, but chilly. A high only near 42 degrees. The average high for the date is 47 degrees.

The main weather-maker arrives later Friday night.

Winds are forecast to pick up with rain at first. It's expected to be warm and wet Saturday – in the low 50s – as the storm system draws in warm southerly air, but the approaching cold front is expected to quickly sweep that away.

Temperatures are expected to dip into the low 30s overnight as rain switches over to snow.

Sunday's high isn't expected to make it out of the upper 30s.

This weekend marks the third anniversary of the start of the multiday double lake-effect snowstorm of November 2014 that crippled parts of the Buffalo metro area, eastern suburbs and the Southtowns.

November 2014's lake-effect snowstorms


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