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Lake Erie ice could channel some minor lake-effect snow into Buffalo tonight

Lake Erie was nearly 90 percent frozen on Monday.

Of the open water remaining on the lake, it's located in an area roughly between Dunkirk and Long Point, Ont., the National Weather Service said.

Mix in lake-effect snow bands' tendency to hug the Canadian shoreline when there's ice covering eastern Lake Erie, and it's a recipe for some nuisance lake-effect snow to possibly be directed into the Buffalo metro area by Wednesday, according to weather service forecasters.

Other areas to be affected include spots south of Buffalo in the traditional "Snow Belt."

Here's what the weather service says to expect:


A 30 percent chance for snow this morning from a weak Alberta Clipper system passing by the Buffalo Niagara region, then chances for flurries later.

Accumulations will be limited to about a half-inch, forecasters said.

Otherwise, it'll be mostly cloudy with a high in the mid 20s.


Behind the passing clipper system, winds will become southwesterly in the afternoon, setting up the possibility for limited lake-effect snow.

Just a small area of open water remains on Lake Erie between about Dunkirk and Long Point, Ont. (NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory)

"A relatively muted lake-response begins," the weather service said. "Due to the partially frozen Lake Erie, snow accumulations will be lackluster."

Still, forecasters noted that satellite pictures show "a substantial area of open water between Dunkirk and Long Point" with cuts and thin areas in the ice west of there.

"With this in mind, there is still enough open water to provide some limited lake-response," the weather service said.

It added: "Expect the most concentrated area of snow showers to be found from southern Erie and western Wyoming counties into the western Southern Tier."

How iced over is Lake Erie today? About 90 percent

Some minor lake-effect snow is expected overnight, mainly south of Buffalo. However, the Buffalo metro area could also be affected by lake-effect snow showers at times. (NWS Buffalo)

Forecasters expect the Buffalo metro area may also be impacted by a few snow showers because of the configuration of the open water remaining on the lake and its ice.

"A weak band will often form from just east of Long Point and hugs the northern shore into Buffalo when ice is present on the lake," the weather service said. "Accumulations will be limited to 1 to 2 inches Tuesday night."

It will stay cold. Low temperatures will be around 11 degrees.


A few flurries or light snow showers are possible, the weather service said.

There's a 40 percent chance for precipitation.

Daytime highs will be in the low 20s.

Chances for snow showers continue overnight Wednesday with temperatures bottoming out in the upper teens.

It could be breezy with west winds gusting over 35 mph.

That could make it feel like it's in the low single digits.


Progressively warmer temperatures arrive as the week wears on.

Highs Thursday are expected in the upper 20s. Friday, the mercury should get above freezing, into the low 30s.

Then, an even bigger warm-up begins with temperatures of 41 and 46 degrees respectively over the weekend with chances for rain.

More rain is likely on Monday with a high in the mid to upper 40s, forecasters said.

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