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Winter wallop on the way for WNY; 6 to 12 inches snow possible by Saturday

Watch out after the warmup.

A foot or more snow is forecast across much of Western New York by Saturday afternoon, according to the North American Global Forecast System weather model. (

After temperatures in the 50s on Thursday, a winter storm will likely hit Western New York late Friday and Saturday with "potentially significant amounts of snowfall," according to the National Weather Service.

The weather service posted a winter storm watch from Friday afternoon through Saturday afternoon for Western New York, warning of snow accumulations of 6 to 12 inches with a few hundredths of an inch of ice possible for Niagara County and northern Erie County.

In southern Erie and other counties in the region, the watch shows that up to 14 inches of snow is possible.

"Heavy snow and mixed precipitation is possible," the weather service stated. "Travel will be very difficult to impossible."

Meteorologists are keeping an eye on a storm system that hasn't yet fully developed but will likely bring snow to the region, the heaviest of which would arrive on Saturday, said Shawn Smith, a meteorologist with the weather service in Cheektowaga.

Western New Yorkers, especially anyone with travel plans, should stay tuned to forecast updates as meteorologists keep piecing together the details.

Weather models still differ on the speed of the storm system, the likelihood and placement of the precipitation and where it will fall mainly as liquid, a wintry mix, freezing rain or snow, forecasters said.

The European weather model shows about half of the snowfall total for Western New York than projections from the North American forecast model. (

While the North American Global Forecast System model projects as much as a foot or more across most of Western New York, the European weather model is less bullish on heavy snow.

It forecasts a widespread snowfall of about 6 inches through 2 p.m. Saturday.

The GFS model shows that total being closer to a foot of snow.

"Expect further adjustments on the details of this event in the coming days," the weather service said.

Before any snow hits, some spots may see a short period of freezing rain or sleet as temperatures drop and rain shifts to snow, Smith said.

There's a flood watch in effect for all of Western New York except Allegany County from 10 a.m. Thursday through 4 a.m. Saturday.

High temperatures are expected to reach the mid-50s on Thursday.

Flood watch posted for Thursday, Friday across most of WNY; heavy snow returns Friday, Saturday

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