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Lake-effect snow to exit Southtowns, weaken and head north

Areas hard-hit by lake-effect snow should finally get a break overnight, according to the National Weather Service. But there could be misery ahead for Friday morning commuters in the metro Buffalo area.

The band of snow, which radar showed reaching from the Lake Erie shore in Chautauqua County through the Southtowns into western Wyoming County, is expected to move northward and diminish, forecasters said Thursday night on Twitter. Before it leaves, however, it could drop another 4 to 7 inches on top of the 12 to 18 inches already on the ground.

It won't get that deep in and around Buffalo, which has only an inch or two so far. Another inch or two is predicted in the morning hours, with southwest winds gusting up to 34 mph.

The snow band is forecast to break up by midday and turn into snow showers over the northern suburbs and Niagara County. Meanwhile, the Southern Tier finally should get something that it hasn't seen much of all week  – sunshine.

Most heavily-affected areas on Thursday included Dunkirk, Fredonia, Hamburg, East Aurora, Evans, Boston, Eden, Springville, Bennington and Colden. This includes the mainline Thruway between Exit 57 in Hamburg and the Pennsylvania state line, where there were heavy snow and ice conditions, along with blowing and drifting snow, according to the Thruway Authority.

Shortly before 10 p.m., the Thruway Authority reported stop-and-go traffic due to a traffic incident in the westbound lanes between Exit 60 in Westfield and the state line. Westbound motorists were advised to leave the highway at Exit 59 in Dunkirk for about an hour until the incident was cleared.

The eastbound mainline Thruway between the Hamburg and Eden/Angola exits was closed for a couple hours after an accident that occurred at about 1 p.m., according to the Thruway Authority.

A lake-effect snow warning remains in effect for southern Erie, Wyoming, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties through 7 a.m. Friday.

Check out the latest snowfall totals here.

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