A pair of storms engaging in a daylong “courtship dance” before marrying early Friday over northern New York and New England promises to be a mesmerizing sight captured by weather satellites thousands of miles above Earth.
The Buffalo Niagara region, caught between the two, should be spared the worst of the wintry weather.
The stronger of the two systems, a robust nor'easter, on Wednesday blitzed metropolitan areas from Philadelphia to New York City with up to 3 inches per hour snowfall, high winds and thunder before taking aim at Boston and the rest of New England overnight. The New York Thruway was closed to trucks between Syracuse and New York City.
The Buffalo Niagara region collected some snow showers Wednesday from the weaker of the two storms – which was centered over Lake Huron – but it was too far west to be affected by the fury of the nor’easter.
That's not to say the nor'easter will ignore Buffalo altogether.
The nor’easter is forecast to spin to the north inland over Maine and into southern Quebec as the weaker cyclone to our west spins out of the Great Lakes southeastward toward the mid-Atlantic states.
After a roughly 24-hour courtship, forecasters said they’ll merge and form a joined low together late Thursday or early Friday over northern New York and New England.
Forecasters call the phenomenon a “Fujiwara interaction,” named after the Japanese meteorologist who discovered that nearby cyclones are drawn to one another and eventually marry.
The union of the two systems will draw moisture from the Atlantic Ocean and is expected to shower most of the state – including the Buffalo Niagara region – with several rounds of on-again, off-again snow.
“It’s what keeps the snow chances around for us through the end of the week,” said Dan Kelly, meteorologist at the National Weather Service.
When all's said and done, weather service forecast maps show as much as a half-foot of new snow is possible through Saturday morning in the Buffalo metro area. Other spots, including the Southern Tier, could see up to a foot of new snow by early Saturday.
The best chances for snow will come early Friday and persist through the day, weather service forecasts show.
There’s a chance it could push Buffalo over the 100-inch mark for seasonal snowfall.
Heading into Wednesday, the weather station at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport had logged 95.3 inches this winter season.